Psychological Disorders

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Psychology & Brain Sciences

Psychological Disorders A history – The Middle Ages - not thought of as an illness but rather… o Seen as a witch or prophet 1700-1900s Europe - recognized mental illness as a problem - placed in hospitals o nothing like current facilities o chains, tours 1790s France - treatment more civilized - fresh air 1800-1990s USA - fresh air concept lives on… - encouraged rest/relaxation Current world-view - research - diagnostic criteria to classify disorders Classification DSM IV – TR = handbook with basic organization of disorders Two major clusters of disorders: 1. AXIS I – syndromes usually come and go (not all) - mood disorders - anxiety disorders - psychotic disorders - dissociative disorders - eating disorders 2. AXIS II – pervasive, once you get it, it is yours to keep - personality Diagnosis of disorders: - descriptions of symptoms and behaviors - must have certain number of these symptoms then you are diagnosed. (checklist of criteria) Problems: - descriptions are lacking/changing - patients are not sure of many symptoms Mood Disorders 1. Major depression - must have many symptoms for at least two weeks - must affect your ability to conduct your life Symptoms: - depressed mood - suicidal thoughts - tearfulness - change in appetite (more or less) - change in weight (more or less) - lack of interest in normal activities - change in sleep pattern (more or less) - low energy level Other Points: - this combination of symptoms is very unpleasant o purposeless, underwater, jet lagged Suicide: Women: Three times more likely to try (pills) Men: Two times more successful suicides (firearms) 2. Dysthymia - mildest form of depression - still able to conduct life - diagnosis: must have mild symptoms for at least two years 3. Seasonal Affective Disorders (SAD) - experience depression only during times of decreased light o wintertime in New England o prevalent in Alaska – long winter, little light o prevalent in Seattle – lots of cloudy days Treatment: - sit in front of UV lights for several hours/days - melatonin – sleep hormone 4. Bipolar Disorder (Manic-Depression) - combines depressive episodes and manic episodes What is a manic episode? Symptoms: - racing thoughts - pressured speech - lack inhibitions o promiscuity o spending sprees, gambling - feelings of omnipotence - needs significantly less sleep - high energy – cannot sit still Upside to mania: can get lots of work done, very creative time Downside to mania: can lead to trouble wit the law 1. Biological basis - genetic component (large) o very heritable - brain o responds well to medication (but we do not know why) may prescribe lithium, depacote, neurotonin Causes of Mood Disorders Depressive disorders: 1. Biological basis o Brain o Lack of serotonin o Treat with SSRIs (Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil) o Genetic component o If a relative has it, it increases your odds 2. Environmental triggers o Stress at work, loss of a loved one, fail a course can trigger a depressive episode Anxiety Disorders General symptoms: - persistent – long lasting - intense – severe - maladaptive behaviors to reduce it 1. Phobias - fear of which interferes with one’s life Specific phobias: - fear is focused on some on object, situation, or behavior Develops from: a) a past event b) irrational – no cause example: snakes, blood, dogs, heights, elevators, flying Social phobia: - fear of humiliation or embarrassment in front of others o will not attend social events o will not speak out in class Agoraphobia - fear of being in a situation you cannot escape o never leaves home 2. Panic Disorder - has extreme attacks of anxiety coming from out of the blue Anxiety attacks: - severe sympathetic nervous system arousal o racing heart, sweaty palms, feel like you cannot breathe o last few moments, feels like forever 3. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - a continual overanxious state o worried, tense, concerned above and beyond what is appropriate o arousal of sympathetic nervous system (at lower levels, break out in a sweat, etc.) 4. Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD) Obsessions: repetitive, disturbing thoughts or images that you cannot control Compulsions: repetitive behaviors you do to try to alleviate the thoughts Concern with germs/disease/cleanliness: Example: normal to wash hand once before eating not forty times a day until they bleed Concern that something bad will happen if you do not do repetitive rituals: Example: normal to check if you locked your door once not check it ten times after you go to bed Concern with exactness: Example: must chew each bite of food seventeen times Causes of Anxiety Disorders Psychological basis: most people think that these disorders reflect some event that occurred which is internalized Learn from classical cond
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