Criteria ofAbnormal Behavior
- Statistical rarity A lot more common than we think. At least 50% of us will suffer
from a psychological disorder like anxiety. We all feel abnormal behavior at some
point in our lives.
- Subjective distress
- Impairment To our normal functions (ex: depression)
- Societal disapproval Goes against cultural norms, highly subjective; varies from
culture to culture.
- Biological dysfunction Suffer physically (ex: addict)
Historical Conceptions of Mental Illness
- Demonic model – view of mental illness in which odd behavior, hearing voices, or
talking to oneself was attributed to evil spirits infesting the body. Ex: Salem Witch Hunt
- Medical model – perception that mental illness was due to a physical disorder requiring
• Ex: electric shocks, drilling holes into people’s heads, bleeding and lobotomy.
- Governments began to house troubled individuals in asylums
More Modern Approaches
- Moral treatment – approach to mental illness calling for dignity, kindness, and respect
for the mentally ill
- Deinstitutionalization – 1960s-70s government policy that focused on releasing
hospitalized psychiatric patients into the community and closing mental hospitals
Abnormal Behavior (Ex: media causing eating disorders)
Perspectives on Causes, Treatment, and Diagnosis of Psychological Disorders
• Genetic, ex: identical twin studies, if one twin has a disorder so will the other
• The unconscious (unresolved conflicts which surface)
• Ex: phobias (classically conditioned)
Misconceptions about Psychiatric Diagnosis
- Psychiatric diagnosis is nothing more than pigeonholing, like sorting people into different
• Boxes Aka labelling, which some people dislike because it’s like a self-
fulfilling prophecy, but it can also help with treatments
• Psychiatrists actually realize that people differ
- Psychiatric diagnoses are unreliable
• For major mental disorders, interrater reliability is high
Interrater reliability More than 1 person makes a diagnosis of the same
person ad we take both diagnosis and see if they are the same. - Psychiatric diagnoses stigmatize people
• Contrary to labeling theorists’ claims, diagnoses may improve others’perceptions of
the mentally ill
Labeling theorists’ Subjective, looking at individual cases
Psychiatric Diagnosis Today: The DSM-IV
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) - diagnostic system
containing theAmerican PsychiatricAssociation (APA) criteria for mental disorders
- Provides a list of symptoms and a decision rule on how many of these symptoms must be
present for a diagnosis
- Biopsychosocial approach – acknowledges the interplay between biological,
psychological, and social influences
- Utilizes prevalence of mental disorders and assesses patients along multiple axes
(dimensions of functioning)
• Prevalence: The percentage of a population that exhibits a disorder during a specified
Major DSM-IV Categories of Mental Disorders
- Epidemiology & Prevalence
- 5 Axis: KNOW THESEAND BEABLE TO DEFINE THEM!!!
• Personality Disorders/Mental Retardation
• Medical Conditions
• Psychosocial/Environmental Problems
Social environment, interpersonal relationships and family ties
• GlobalAssessment of Functioning
Functioning in terms of work and school Criticisms of the DSM-IV
- Mathematics Disorder
• We don’t take into consideration social and cultural situations
• Tells us little beyond difficulties learning math
- Not everything is based on scientific data
• Some disorders are based on subjective committee decisions
- High level of comorbidity among diagnoses
• Comorbidity When two things go together. There’s a lot of overlap with
disorders so it creates a problem when diagnosing disorders
• Comorbidity: The coexistence of two or more disorders.
- Exclusive reliance on a categorical model
• Some mental disorders may better fit a dimensional model, where disorders differ
from normal functioning by degree rather than kind (e.g., depression, anxiety)
- This is suspected as an underreported disorder. Anxiety disorder is not
- GeneralizedAnxiety Disorder – continual feelings of worry, anxiety, physical tension,
• Generalized anxiety disorder: Apsychological disorder marked by a chronic, high
level of anxiety that is not tied to any specific threat.
• Spend on average 60% of each day worrying, compared with 18% of the general
• Often experience other anxiety disorders such as panic disorder or phobias
• Anxiety disorder:Aclass of disorders marked by feelings of excessive apprehension
- Panic Disorder
• Comorbid with anxiety disorder. It’s the physical manifestation of GAD, feels
like your having a heart attack. You can have GAD and not PD
• Nervous feelings escalate to fear/terror • About 20-25 percent of college students report at least one panic attack within a year
• Panic disorder: Atype of anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent attacks of
overwhelming anxiety that usually occur suddenly and unexpectedly.
- Phobia: intense fear of an object or situation greatly out of proportion to its actual threat
- Phobic disorder: Atype of anxiety disorder marked by a persistent and irrational fear of
an object or situation that presents no realistic danger.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- OCD associated with phobias
- Marked by repeated and lengthy (>1 hour/day) immersion in obsessions, compulsions, or
• OCD:Atype of anxiety disorder marked by persistent, uncontrollable intrusions of
unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and urges to engage in senseless rituals
- Obsessions – persistent ideas, thoughts, or impulses that are unwanted and inappropriate,
cause marked distress (e.g., contamination, aggression)
- Compulsions – repetitive behaviors or mental acts preformed to reduce or prevent stress
(e.g., repeated checking)
- Catastrophic Event
- Chronic Stress
- Symptoms: nightmares, flashbacks, disturbed social relations, arousal, anxiety, guilt
• ALSO losing touch with reality
- Etiology of Anxiety Disorders: (Etiology= causes)
There may be an underlying genetic personality that makes you more
susceptible to PTSD
GABA and serotonin are linked to anxiety
• Conditioning/Learning • Cognitive
High stress is linked to an increase in the disorder chances.
- Somatoform disorder: Class of psychological disorders involving physical ailments with
no authentic organic basis that are due to psychological factors.
- Hypochondriasis: disorder where the person is overly concerned about their health, and
fears that their bodily systems are a sign of some serious disease.
• The root cause is psychological. Ex: can’t move your arm, no physical cause;
just the loss of a sensory function due to psychological causes.
• Hypochondriasis: somatoform disorder characterized by excessive preoccupation
with health concerns and incessant worry about developing physical illnesses.
- Conversion disorder: Occurs when there is a loss of motor or sensory functioning in
some part of the body that is not due to a physical cause but that solves a psychological
• Conversion disorder: Asomatoform disorder characterized by a significant loss of
physical function (with no apparent organic basis), usually in a single organ system.
• Personality Very emotional, dramatic, self-centered.
• Cognitive Pessimistic, engages in catastrophic thinking.
• Sick Role To get attention or to avoid life challenges.
- DissociativeAmnesia:Acomplete loss of the ability to recall personal information or
identify past experiences that cannot be attributed to forgetfulness or substance abuse.
• Having no memory of traumatic events (ex: if you were sexually abused as a
child you would not remember this). Inability to recall personal stuff. Ex: you
might not remember your name or people in your family.
• There is no biological cause
• Dissociative amnesia: Asudden loss of memory of important personal information
that is too extensive to be due to normal forgetting.
- Dissociative fugue:Amnesia coupled with flight. • Do not remember anything about personal events.
• Dissociative fugue: Adisorder in which people lose their memory of their entire lives
along with their sense of personal identity.
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)
- Early stages are easily confused with schizophrenia.
- Dissociative identity disorder: Atype of dissociative disorder characterized by the
coexistence in one person of two or more largely complete, and usually very different,
personalities.Also called multiple-personality