- People with psychological disorders are no more violent than the rest of the population.
- People get stigmatized
- Februaries are designated to talk about psychological disorders
Mental illness in the media:
- People with mental illnesses are often not described accurately.
- Challenge inaccurate portrayal of people with mental disorders
- People will have a higher tendency to get help if we speak up.
- Movies, TV and books portray people with mental illnesses as dangerous or unstable.
- News stories highlight mental illnesses even if it isn’t relevant to the story
- Stereotypes people with mental illness (that is, assumes they are all alike rather than
- Trivializes or belittles people with mental illness and / or the illness itself?
- Offends people with mental illness by insulting them?
- Patronizes people with mental illness by treating them as if they were not as good as
- If you see something that does not pass the stop criteria then speak up. Write to the
advertiser, news agency or TV/movie producer and let them know how you feel.
- Proposes that it is useful to think of abnormal behaviour as a disease
- Abnormal behaviour is viewed as a disease
- Mental illness is the way we conceptualize abnormal behaviour these days
- Diagnosis: identifying the abnormal behaviour
- Etiology: what caused the abnormal behaviour
- Prognosis: what you expect to happen in the future
- This has been replaced by demons, devils and God’s punishment
Criteria of Abnormal Behaviour: Normal vs. Deviant behaviour:
- Thomas Szasz: abnormal behaviour usually involves a deviation from social norms
rather than an illness
- Deviance is used to suggest “that which is beyond acceptable within a culture”.
- Interference with their normal role in society
- Alcohol and drug use.
- Maladaptive quality of the behaviour that makes it disordered.
- Problematic thinking and behaviour
- Pretending everything is fine but nothing is really fine.
- Troubled by depression or anxiety disorders.
Stigma: A mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person: "the
stigma of mental disorder". Suggests that having a psychological disorder is a sign of weakness.
Value judgement plays a role in judging abnormal behaviour. Most problems are curable.
Few mental illnesses show up as bizarre behaviour.
Classification of Disorders:
- 1952 DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)
- Universal agreement of psychological terminology
- Provides a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental
- Not everyone fits the categories as written. Revisions of DSM
- Put people into categories.
- DSM 5 Describes levels of symptoms. Describes and clarifies. (Completion Date: May
- Multi-axial system: Axis I to V. 5 axes.
- Axis I: Clinicial disorders that need attention. - Axis II: personality or mental disorder
- Axis III: general medical condition (diabetes, heart condition, asthma, etc.)
- Axis IV: psychosocial and environmental problems (poverty, gunshots, bad
neighbourhood, divorce, marriage, etc.)
- Axis V: Global Assessment of Functioning Scale (GAF) Overall assessment of social,
occupational and psychological functioning on a scale of 0-100.
Insurance companies need to have a diagnosis in Axis I or II in order to compensate a person
with a mental illness.
- What should be considered a disorder
- Categories vs. Dimensional approach
Prevalence of Psychological Disorders:
- How common are psychological disorders? (epidemiology)
- Prevalence vs. lifetime prevalence (any point in life)
- Referred to as the common cold of mental illness.
- Women 2x more likely to suffer from depression over their lives (70% vs. 40% for men)
- Over 10% seek help from a professional
- Another 20% experience serious depressive symptoms for which help is never sought.
Artifact Hypothesis: the experience of depression is more acceptable in women. Men often do
not admit to it.
- Men are 2x more likely to abuse alcohol than women (13% vs. 7% for women)
US National Safety Council:
- Depression is the third most common health problem
- 6-10 % of any work force suffers from depression
- 10 million workers are disabled due to depression every year in the US
Goldberg and Steury, 2001: - 2-4% of workers suffer from major depression
- 17-48% of workers go on short-term disability due to depressive symptoms.
Dewa, Hoch, Patterson and Goering (2003):
- 60% of individuals that claim short term disability through workers compensation suffer
Ipsos Reid poll (Nov. 19, 2007)
- One in four working Canadians say they suffer from depression – the highest prevalence
- Of the 4,122 employees surveyed, 18 per cent said they've been diagnosed with
depression. An additional 8 per cent said they were undiagnosed but believe they have
- 16.6% of female managers and 8.6% of male managers are depressed
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: marked by a chronic, high level of anxiety that is not tied
to a specific threat. Constantly anxious. Worrying about everything. 19 million Americans
suffer from fear related disorders.
- Phobic Disorders: persistent and irrational fear of an object or situation that presents no
realistic danger. Focused anxiety. Classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Wired
to pick up evolutionary phobias.
- Panic Disorder and Agrophobia: characterized by recurrent attacks of overwhelming
anxiety that usually occur suddenly and unexpectedly. Agrophobia is a fear of going out
to public places. 34% of undergraduates reported having a panic attack. (Norton, 1985).
Clinical vs. Non clinical. 2/3 of people that suffer from panic attacks are females.
Individuals will venture outside if accompanied by a trusted companion.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: OCD. Anxiety disorder. Persistent, uncontrollable
intrusions of unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and urges to engage in senseless rituals
(compulsions). Example: Howie Mandel. Uses a knuckle bump instead of shaking
hands. Obsession with contamination and germs. (mysophobia) Shaved his head
because of his obsessions with germs. Obsession is the stressor. Compulsion is coping
with that stress. Repeated. 4 factors. Obsessions and checking, symmetry and order,
cleanliness and washing and hoarding.
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): realization over a long period of time. Horrific
events that occur and shaken a person. Some get better but others will not. Nightmares,
flash backs, emotional numbness and elevated levels of arousal. Examples of horrific events include rape or assault, severe automobile accident, natural disasters or
witnessing someone’s death. 2-3% of the population suffers from full fledged PTSD.
- Does not surface until many months or years after the incident. Examples: New Orleans:
Hurricane Katrina. 30% of the residents affected were suffering from PTSD. 7-8% of
people have suffered from PTSD at some point in their lives. Prevalence of women
higher than men (10 vs. 5 %). Level of intensity of reaction determines vulnerability.
Etiology of Anxiety Disorders:
- Cut out the amygdale of rats
- Moderate genetic disposition: some degree of correlation.
- Biological factors and neurochemical activity: concordance rate: indicates the
percentage of twin pairs or other pairs of relative who exhibit the same disorder.
Concordance is higher in identical twins vs. fraternal rates.
- There is a vulnerability to anxiety called anxiety sensitivity. Some people are highly
sensitive to the internal physiological symptoms of anxiety and prone to overreact.
- Disturbances in GABA activity may play a role in increasing vulnerability. Lack of
serotonin causes anxiety.
- 44% could not specify the event tha