Psychology 2310A/B Lecture Notes - Mania, Dementia, Geel

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Introduction and Historical Perspectives
Common Misconceptions about Abnormal Psychology
Belief that psychological disorders are always bizarre
oReality: most people in psychiatric hospitals are not visibly different from us
oMost patients experience episodes but are completely normal and aware of
everything going on around them
oAlmost half of us will experience some type of mental illness in their lives
View that “abnormal” and “normal” are radically different
oReality: there is no clear line between abnormal and normal
oMost people are in the middle somewhere dealing with small psychological issues at
times (we all move around on this continuum)
View of former psychiatric patients as dangerous
oReality: people with psychiatric disorders statistically are no more likely to commit
violent crimes than people without mental disorders
oThe media plays up news stories involving people with mental illnesses to portray the
idea that these people are dangerous
oMost people with mental illnesses are more of a danger to themselves than to other
Belief that mental disorder is something to be ashamed of  STIGMA
oThe word stigma comes from the middle ages where people who committed some
type of societal crime (adultery) would be branded with a scar so that the rest of
society would be able to tell that something was wrong with them
oWe now use the word stigma to describe something that is different about a person in
a negative way
oPeople with mental illnesses are traditionally not treated as well as people with other
health issues in Canada
Exaggerated fear of ones own susceptibility
Historical Views of Abnormal Psychology
Supernatural Beliefs – spiritual
Biological / Medical model – somatogenesis (bodily origin)
Sociocultural – environmental
Psychological – psychogenesis (origin in the mind)
Integrative approaches – biopsychosocial (combination of body, mind and environment)
Supernatural View
Demon possession, evil spirits
oThis belief comes from a general world view that we are surrounded by supernatural
Treatment: exorcism, prayer, trephination (procedure where a hole was cut in a persons head
while they were alive to release evil spirits)
Treatment by priests, religious leaders
May be benign or cruel
oSome treatments were very peaceful while others involved treating the persons body
so terribly that the “spirit would want to leave”
Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Hebrews, etc.
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