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PSYB32H3 (614)

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Konstantine Zakzanis

Chapter 1 Introduction: Definitional and Historical Considerations, and Canadas Mental Health System psychopathology the field concerned with the nature and development of abnormal behavior, thoughts, and feelings, or mental disorders - when studying abnormal psychology you need to remain objective What is Abnormal Behavior abnormal behavior patterns of emotion, thought, and action deemed pathological for one or more of the following reasons: infrequent occurrence, violation of norms, personal distress, disability or dysfunction, and unexpectedness - our best definition of abnormal behavior includes such characteristics as statistical infrequency, violation of norms, personal distress, disability or dysfunction, and unexpectedness Statistical Infrequency - one aspect of abnormal behavior is that it is infrequent normal curve as applied in psychology, the bell-shaped distribution of a measurable trait depicting most people in the middle and few at the extremes - an assertion that a person is normal implies that heshe does not deviate much from the average in a particular trait or behavior pattern - statistical infrequency is used explicitly in diagnosing mental retardation - only certain infrequent behaviors, such as experiencing hallucinations or deep depressions, fall into the domain of abnormal psychology Violation of Norms - we must consider whether the behavior violates social norms or threatens or makes anxious those observing it - the anti-social behavior of the psychopath fits the definition, as do the obsessive-compulsive persons complex rituals and the psychotic patients conversation with imaginary voices - violation of norms explicitly makes abnormality a relative concept; various forms of unusual behavior can be tolerated, depending on the prevailing cultural norms - criminals and prostitutes, for example, violate social norms but are not usually studied within the domain of abnormal psychology, and the highly anxious person, who is generally regarded as a central character in the field of abnormal psychology, typically does not violate social norms and would not be bothersome to many lay observes - also, cultural diversity can affect how people view social norms; what is the norm in one culture may be abnormal in another Personal Distress - another characteristic is personal suffering, that is, behavior is abnormal if it creates great distress and torment in the person experiencing it people experiencing anxiety disorders and depression truly suffer greatly, but some disorders do not necessarily involve distress - the psychopath, for example, treats others cold-heartedly and many continually violate the law without experiencing any guilt, remorse, or anxiety whatsoever - and not al forms of distress hunger or the pain of childbirth belong to the field Disability or Dysfunction - disability that is, impairment in some important area of life (eg: work or personal relationships) because of an abnormality can also be a component of abnormal behavior - substance-use disorders are also defined in part by the social or occupational disability (eg: poor work performance, serious arguments with ones spouse) created by substance abuse - a phobia can produce both distress and disability; for example, a severe fear of flying may prevent someone from taking a job promotion - disability applies to some, but not all disorders; transvestism (cross-dressing for sexual pleasure), for example, which is currently diagnosed as a mental disorder if it distresses the person, is not necessarily a disability Unexpectedness - distress and disability are considered abnormal when they are unexpected responses to environmental stressors - for example, an anxiety disorder is diagnosed when the anxiety is unexpected and out of proportion to the situation, as when a person who is well off worries constantly about hisher financial situation - hunger, on the other hand, is an expected response to not eating and thus would be excluded as a state of distress that is relevant to abnormal behavior Focus on Discovery 1.1 The Mental Health Professions - about 3,600 practicing psychiatrists, about 13,000 psychologists and psychological associates, and about 11,000 nurses specialize in the mental health area in Canada clinicians a health professional authorized to provide services to people suffering from one or more pathologies clinical psychologist an individual who has earned a Ph.D degree in psychology or an Psy.D and whose training has included an internship in a mental hospital or clinic diagnosis the determination that a patients set of symptoms or problems indicate a particular disorder psychotherapy a primarily verbal means of helping troubled individuals change their thoughts, feelings, and behavior to reduce distress and to achieve greater life satisfaction psychiatrist a physician (M.D.) who has taken specialized postdoctoral training, called a residency, in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders - most often, the primary aspect of medical practice in which psychiatrists engage is prescribing psychoactive drugs psychoactive drugs chemical compounds having a psychological effect that alters mood or thought process; eg: valium
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