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Lecture 18

PSYC 1010 Lecture 18: Lecture Notes Feb. 11 Psychological Disorders

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York University
PSYC 1010
Rebecca Jubis

Psychological Disorders (Cont.) Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID; commonly known as multiple personality disorder): Someone has a main personality in addition to 1 or even 10-15+ secondary personalities expressed through different traits/attitudes/behaviours distinct from the main personality.  Not to be confused with schizophrenia (has been confused in the popular media).  The main personality may be unaware of secondary personalities. An individual may therefore forget long slots of time during which they were in a different personality.  The secondary personalities may be aware of one another. Example: In 1978 Billy acquitted of raping four women. The defense was that it was not him committing the crime, but “Adelena” one of his 10 personalities. Another secondary personality had turned in “Adelena” (physically, all the same person – Billy). Historical prevalence: Up until 1980 when DID was first included in the DSM (recall: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) only 200 cases were known. However, thereafter there were 35 times as many cases. Examples: Teenage boy lost sight after an emotionally intense situation. At first all of his 10 or so secondary personalities lost their sight. Through therapy one of the secondary personalities regained their sight. Thereafter all but two of the remaining secondary personalities regained their sight. -Cortical blindness (i.e., conversion of psychological disturbance into blindness, as opposed to physiological blindness) and multiple personality disorder. One secondary personality has sight, but another secondary personality does not. Support for cultural explanations: Some link increases in multiple personality disorders with popularization of the disorder in the media. Moves like Cybil/3 Faces of Eve correlate somewhat with increases in disorders. Disorder is non-existent outside of North America and it does not exist in Japan. Began as just two to three personalities but after increase in diagnoses, 12 or more secondary personalities started to be common. Some professionals believe DID/multiple personality disorder is induced (perhaps unwittingly) by therapists. Therapists may make suggestions that lead a vulnerable psychologically disturbed individual into expressing multiple personalities. E.g., therapist asks client “Do you ever sometimes feel like a different person inside? Can you bring that different person that exists inside you out to talk now?” etc… In defense of multiple personality disorder: Some research shows that the voices of the secondary personalities have distinct frequencies from the main personality; one personality can also have an allergic reaction to something while another personality will not; one can have cortical blindness, one will not, etc…However, such research is controversial. Causes behind anxiety disorders, in general: -Learning theories Classical conditioning; observational learning. For example, in case of OCD one is rewarded by engaging in compulsion- reduces anxiety. -Cognitive/perceptual: Experiment where participants read an excerpt: “The doctor was called to examine little Anna’s ‘growth’ “’. But growth as in Anna’s healthy growth of her body, or of the growth of a malignant tumour? An ambiguous situation. Individuals scoring higher on ratings of anxiety were more likely to interpret this as growth of a tumour or other malignant growth. Cognitively/perceptually speaking, anxious individuals are more likely to interpret ambiguous situations as threatening; are more hyper-vigilant. This leads to their increased anxiety. -Stress theories: Some believe that anxiety is simply a result of stress – especially when for youth, even additional slight stress, can easily become overwhelming. -Genetic predispositions and biological traces: Originally thought that anxiety was a result of poor coping with responsibilities in life. They can now measure abnormal physiology of brain and link it to anxiety. Mood Disorders Major Depressive Disorder: Depression is affecting more and more people and earlier in life. It is now more common among lat
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