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University of Toronto St. George

Looking at Abnormality 20:15 Clifford Beers: received harsh treatment in early 20 century in mental hospitals. Suffered from mood swings. He eventually recovered. He started the Mental Hygiene Movement for the reform of mental health treatment. Psychopathology: people who suffer mental, emotional, and often physical pain as a result of some form of psychological or mental disorder. Cultural Relativism: there are no universal standards or rules for labeling a behaviour as abnormal. Instead, behaviours can only be abnormal relative to cultural norms. Defining Abnormality 1) Cultural Relativism: the norms of a society must be used to determine the normality or abnormality of a behaviour. 2) Unusualness: unusual or rare behaviours should be labeled abnormal. 3) Discomfort: only behaviour or emotions that an individual finds distressing should be labeled abnormal. 4) Mental Illness: only behaviours resulting from mental illness are abnormal. 5) Maladaptiveness: distress, dysfunction, deviance. Historical Perspectives on Abnormality Biological Theories: similar to physical diseases, caused by the breakdown of systems in the body. Appropriate cure was the restoration of the body to good health. Supernatural Theories: a result of divine intervention, curses, demonic possession, and personal sin. Appropriate treatments were religious rituals, exorcisms, confessions, and atonement. Psychological Theories: a result of traumas. Rest, relaxation, a change of environment, and certain herbal medicines were appropriate treatments. Evil Spirits of the Stone Age Probably rooted in supernatural theories. Typical treatment was exorcism. One treatment may have been to drill holes in the skulls of people displaying abnormal behaviour to allow the spirits to depart. The operation is called trephination. Ancient China: Balancing yin and yang (religious theories) The human body was said to contain a positive force (yang) and a negative force (yin), which confronted and complemented each other. If the two forces were in balance, the individual was healthy. If not, illness, including insanity, could result. Religious theories of abnormality in China declined after the Tang and Buddhism dynasties ended. Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome: Biological Theories Dominate Hebrews saw madness as a punishment from God. Hippocrates argued that mental disorders are caused by imbalances in the bodys essential elements. Medieval Views A time of backward thinking Severe emotional shock and physical illness and injury were most often seen as the causes of bizarre behaviours. People often believed in supernatural roots of abnormality, but the governments declared it to be a result of physical causes or traumas. Witch hunts primarily took place during the renaissance (1400s 1600s) The Emergence of Modern Perspectives Emil Kraepelin: developed a classification system for mental disorders that remains very influential today. General Paresis: a disease that leads to paralysis, insanity, and eventually death. The Psychoanalytic Perspective Mesmerism: created by Franz Mesmer (aligning magnetic fluids within the body). Mesmer set the stage for the study of hypnosis. Psychoanalysis is the study of the unconscious. The Cognitive Revolution Occurred during the 1950s to 1970s. Cognitions are thought processes that influence behaviour and emotion. Modern Mental Health Care Plenothiazines: drugs that can reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia. Dr. Lehmann of Canada was the first to use antipsychotic medication in North America. In the 1960s a large movement known as the patients rights movement, emerged. It vied for a process known as deinstitutionalization, which states that patients can recover more fully if they are integrated into the community. Deinstitutionalization led to a fragmented, disorganized, and inefficient mental-health system. Contemporary Theories of Abnormality 20:15 Biological Approaches Vulnerability-Stress Models: it takes both an existing vulnerability to a disorder and a trigger, or stress, to create the disorder. Structural Theories: abnormalities in the structure of the brain cause mental disorders. Genetic Theories: an accumulation of disordered genes leads to mental disorders. Biochemical Theories: imbalances in neurotransmitters or hormones or poor functioning of receptors for neurotransmitters causes mental disorders. Parts of the Brain Cerebral Cortex: involved in many of our most advanced thinking processes. Corpus Callosum: bridge of fibers passing information between the two cerebral hemispheres. Thalamus: relay centre for cortex; handles incoming and outgoing signals. Cerebellum: involved in balance and the control of movement. Medulla: responsible for regulation largely unconscious functions such as breathing and circulation. Hypothalamus: responsible for regulating basic biological needs. Pituitary Gland: master gland that regulates other endocrine glands. Pons: involved in sleep and arousal. Reticular Formation: a network of neurons related to sleep, arousal, and attention. Spinal Cord: responsible for communication between brain and rest of body; involved with simple reflexes. Biochemical Causes of Abnormality: Reuptake: occurs when the initial neuron releasing the neurotransmitter into the synapse reabsorbs the neurotransmitter, decreasing the amount left in the synapse.
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