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mental health- summary


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY313H5
Professor
Giampaolo Moraglia

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Factors that combine to produce a mental illness:
Biological factors: genetic defects, brain damage
Psychosocial factors: are also important in producing behaviour- especially to
vulnerable people- ex. The loss of a loved one, economic status
Diagnostic issues
Unsure of whether mental illness increases/decreases with age- why?
Because ones knowledge of age can affect the diagnosis- ex. Mental confusion in
young people may be seen as schizophrenia, in older people it may be seen as
alzheimers
Same set of symptoms may have different meanings depending on different ages,
The type of psychological test that is used to diagnose mental ilness may not be
suitable for older people
Age differences influence types of risk factor: ex. Sensory defect, bereavement- tend
to be more frequent with older age group therefore it may be inflated because there
is a higher rate of physical/social stress- rather than age
Interindividual differences: generalizations may be sweeping because alot of
variation exists among older people vs younger people
Depression seems widespread across ages-
Relationship with age?- some show that it is less common as people get older
Some say its underdiagnosed in older people- why?
1) there are big differences in symptoms of depression in older people- which are not
recognized- clinicians just use criteria of young people to assess depression in older
people
2) ageism: physicians have a negative view of age- therefore they dont identify
depression
3) cohort effect: older people grew up in different cultural environments, where open
expression of feelings was discouraged-
Thus, people who are suffereing from depression may be acting in a subtle way- thus,
goes unnoticed by the physician
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Whereas younger people express their emotions more openly- thus a physician is
able to recognize that it is depression
Biological determinants: those who chronic illnesses are more likely to develop
depression
Psycho-social determinants: those who are cared for by a nursery, widows, people
with a low income, poor health in women- are more likely to suffer from depression
Gender factor? Maybe- because men are taught not to show it-
However must also consider- that the rate of alchohol is higher in men- it correlates
with depression- also correlates with suicide- thus are women REALLY more prone
to depression?
Now it is becoming more clear that the weight of various symptoms differs with age
Dysphoria: feeling down, guilty, self-blame- are present in depressio
Older adults are more likely to withdraw
Physical symptoms: change in appetite, insomnia, headache, chronic fatigue (need to
be careful because these symptoms are harder to assess since they can exist in other
disorders)
*symptoms need to last 2 weeks in order to be clinically diagnosed as depression
Diagnosis looks at a persons ability to carry out daily living- if there is a disruption
to behaviour- this is important to note in the diagnosis
CAUSES: many theories exist, which show that there is a confused understanding
Biological theories: say that the risk factors include the following:
Genetic factors- suggest that bipolar and unipolar both have a heritable part
Most common cause- insufficient/inefficient use of neurotransmitters- which mediate
communication between nerves (this hasnt gained universal acceptance)
Psychosocial theories: a traumatic event, such as the loss of a: loved one, health,
attractiveness, job, wealth, lifestyle, failure of plans, status
The loss may be real/irreversible or imagined
The likelihood of a loss of a factor occuring varies with age- ex. Loss of attractiveness
occurs among older people
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Thus, whether one experiences depression depends on protective factors which
include: ones social network, level of loss, biological changes
Subtype of psychosocial theories= behavioural theories- they believe that
experiencing an unpredictable event can result in helplessness- symptoms can vary
in severity- may range from being normal to severe (which can lead to suicide)
most individuals can benefit from treatment
Cognitive behavioural therapies: also depend on inheritance- blame themselves,
dont think that things will get better
CT: still used, but it is given under controlled conditions- only if a person fails through the
use of all other methods, is when this method is used
It has a bad reputation, because it was misused in the past,
Involves passing a current through the brain
Can be effective- can bring a person back to awareness
Some say that this therapy can cause memory loss, creates a higher risk for
cardiovascular diseases
Drug therapy: used in severe depression-
Psychotherapy: can be effective by itself, or with drugs-
It is prescribed for milder forms of depression
|Organic brain disorders: involve direct damage to the brain
Acute: noticeable= delirium
Involves a sudden onset of a variety of symptoms- ex. Cognitive/emotional
disturbances, erratic behaviour
Can be treated, allow one to return to healthy stage- if it is diagnosed on time and
correctly
Many cases go untreated because they are misdiagnosed
Malnutrition (due to poverty), or vitamin deficiency: can affect memory, create
confusion
Chronic: slowly occuring= dementia
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