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PSYC 2020
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CHAPTER 17 The Nature and Causes of Mental DisordersCLASSIFICATION AND DIAGNOSIS OF MENTAL DISORDERSTo understand diagnose and treat psychological disorders some sort of classification system is needed The need for a comprehensive classification system of psychological disorders was first recognized by Emil KraepelinWhat is Abnormal The term abnormal literally refers to any departure from the norm eg a really tall or really short people or really smart people like me are considered abnormal However the distinction between normal and abnormal behaviour can be very subjective Psychologists stress that the most important feature of mental disorder is not whether behaviour is abnormal but rather if its maladaptive Mental disorders cause distress or discomfort and interfere with peoples ability to lead satisfying productive livesAlthough the diagnosis of mental disorders should be as objective as possible it may never be completely free from social and political judgments ie what is thought of as retarded in one culture may be sacred in another It is important to note that mental disorders bring pain and discomfort to these people and to their friends and families Perspectives on the Causes of Mental Disorders There isnt a single cause of mental disorders but in general they are cause by the interaction of hereditary cognitive and environmental factors Sometimes genetics can play a strong role and the person carrying those genes is likely to develop a mental disorder To understand mental disorders a complete study must be taken deriving all possible factors There are many psychology related profession who try to understand mental disorders and each vary their emphasis on the three given factors The perspectives differ primarily in their explanation of the etiology origin of mental disorders o The Psychodynamic Perspective This is based on Freuds early work mental disorders originate in the intrapsychic conflict produced by the three components of the mindid ego and superego For some people the conflicts become so sever the minds defence mechanisms fail and begin to distort reality or the individual may revert to an earlier stage of life eg begin acting like a kid Mental disorders may involve extreme anxiety obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour depression and etc o The Medical Perspective The origins of the medical perspective like in the work of the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates The medical model is based on the ideas that mental disorders are caused by specific abnormalities of the brain and nervous system and that they should be approached for treatment in the same way as physical illnesses However not all mental disorders can be traced so directly o The CognitiveBehavioural Perspective The cognitivebehavioural perspective holds that mental disorders are learned maladaptive behaviour patterns that can be best understood by focusing on environmental factors and a persons perception of those factors A mental disorder is not something that arises spontaneously within a person but caused by the persons interaction with his or her environment
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