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Lecture 21 Abnormal psychology.docx

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University of Guelph
PSYC 1000
Lisa Giguere

Abnormal psychology  There are about 450 million people in the world struggling with psychological disorders  Some disorders are culture specific others like depression and schizophrenia are observed across all cultures How can we tell if someone is suffering from a psychological disorder?  Deviates from norms  Dysfunctional or dangerous  Causes emotional distress  Patterns of thoughts, feelings or behavior that is stressful and dysfunctional Normality and its variations  Whether a behavior varies from normality depends on the situation in which the behavior occurs (context)  Situational differences in normality are typically reflected in broader cultural differences  Because psychological processes are fundamentally shaped by experience, cultural experiences shape even basic psychological processes such as perception Why diagnose and define psychological disorders?  To provide treatment  Assumes that a treatment exists  Assumes that the best way to find the treatment is to understand what is causing the deviant/ dysfunctional/distressing thoughts and behaviours The medical model  Psychological disorders can be seen as psychopathology (an illness)  Disorders can be diagnosed  Using labels based on a collection of symptoms that tend to go together  Treatment with the goal of restoring mental health will be provided Biopsychosocial approach  Biological influences: individual genes, brain structure and chemistry  Psychological influences: pessimism stress mood related perception and memories  Socio-cultural influences: social roles and norms, expectations Classifying psychological disorders  Diagnoses create a verbal shorthand for referring to a list of associated symptoms  Diagnoses allow us to statistically study many similar cases, learning to predict outcomes  Diagnoses can guide treatment choices Diagnostic and statistical manual  Versions: DSM-IV-TR, DSM-V  Focus is on diagnostic criteria (as opposed to treatment)  Increases reliability between psychologist’s assessments  Having clear definition makes it ea
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