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Lecture 16

PSYC 1010 Lecture 16: Lecture notes February 4th - Psychological Disorders

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York University
PSYC 1010
Rebecca Jubis

1010B - Lecture Notes - Feb. 4th, 2015. Psychological Disorders (Mod 49-53) * note - following material will be on last test of the year (test 4), not test 3. Mental illness was once thought be be due to demonic possession. Trephining - a procedure used a during middle ages when people thought the mentally ill had been possessed by demons. Involves using a stone to chip away a hole in the skull so that the demon can escape. Hippocrates - thought mental illness was due to stress and recommended rest and good diet. Also thought that bodily fluids (which he called “humours”) were out of balance among the mentally ill and sometimes treated mental illness by inducing bleeding or vomiting to balance the humours. Galen - thought there were physical and psychological causes to mental illness (e.g., stress, loss of loved one) and that treatment should involve comforting the person and allowing them to talk about their problems. - In middle ages - treatment of mental illness was handled by the clergy. Exorcisms were common treatments - so demons would leave body. Exorcisms involved torturing the body so demons would leave. Around end of middle ages Asylums were built - places in which the mentally ill would be able to take refuge, but it also segregated the mentally ill. Asylums were meant to be a positive thing but patients started becoming abused (not fed, chained) and tortured (to get demons out) by staff and there was no success with the treatments. - Around enlightenment age, Pinel argued that the mentally ill need to be treated better in order for them to get better. Stopped chaining and abusing them, added windows in Asylums, and staff would have to treat them with kindness instead of abusing them. This new method worked better and the mentally ill were improving and getting better. So Pinel is given credit for the following point of view: Medical Model - abnormal behavior should be viewed as a disease and treated as one. Should be viewed same as a physical disorder. Once this model caught on, this gave rose to psychiatry in a similar way to what we have today. - In general, how do you define abnormal behavior (not diagnosed disorder)? 4 criteria for defining abnormal behavior: 1. Statistical frequency - any behavior that occurs infrequently is abnormal. Jubis draws a bell curve - if behavior falls in the middle of the bell curve, and so is frequent, that is not abnormal. If behavior fall on the ends of the curve (and so not frequent) the behavior is abnormal. However, there is problem with this definition: just because a behavior is statistically rare, doesn’t mean we should necessarily view the behavior as abnormal. For example: professional athlete’s behavior is technically abnormal (because their skill is infrequent). Same as a genius, whose behavior is also statistically rare. Also works the other way: consider washing hands, which is normal (a frequent behavior), but washing hands 50 times a day is not normal and so definition would miss this. 2. Deviation from Social Norms. A behavior is abnormal if it deviates from social norms. The problem with this definition is that different cultures have different norms, and so where do you draw the “normal line?”. Also, norms change with time. For example: In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders (DSM-V), before 1993, homosexuality was included in the DSM but was later dropped. Homosexuality has not changed, rather, what has changed is the social norms around homosexuality. Also cigarette smoking wasn’t in the DSM before but now it is. Also, sometimes you might do things that deviate from social norms (e.e., pick nose), but it doesn’t always necessarily mean you are abnormal. 3. Maladaptive Behavior is abnormal. Maladaptive behaviors are behaviors that do not promote personal growth. But the criteria for what is maladaptive can be very subjective. For example, if you have a drink after a long day of work - is that maladaptive? The answer is not clear. Some people might say its a good thing (helps relax someone), but some people might say its unhealthy behavior (they are running the risk of forming a dependance on alcohol). So whether the behavior is “promoting personal growth” is really subjective. 4. Psychological Distress definition of abnormal is based on a person’s subjective feelings of distress. This definition works because, a lot of the time, abnormal behavior does lead people to feel dis
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