Abnormal Psychology 2
Hypochondriasis. An individual’s continual preoccupation with the
notion that they have a serious physical disease.
Generalised anxiety disorder. Continual feelings of worry, anxiety, physical tension
and irritability across many areas of life functioning.
Panic attack. Brief, intense episode of intense fear characterised by
sweating, dizziness, light-headedness, racing
heartbeat and feelings of impending death of going
Panic disorder. Repeated and unexpected panic attacks, along with
either persistent concerns about future attacks or a
change in personal behaviour in an attempt to avoid
Phobia. Intense fear of an object/situation that’s greatly out of
proportion to its actual threat.
Agoraphobia. Fear of being in a place/situation from which escape
is difficult/embarrassing or in which help is
unavailable in the event of a panic attack.
Specific phobia. Intense fear of objects, places or situations that is
greatly out of proportion to their actual threat.
Social phobia. Marked fear of public appearances in which
embarrassment/humiliation seems likely.
OCD. Condition marked by repeated and lengthy (at least
one hour a day) immersion in obsessions,
compulsions, or both.
Obsession. Persistent idea, thought or impulse that is unwanted
and inappropriate, causing marked distress.
Compulsion. Repetitive behavioural/mental act performed to
Psychotherapy. Psychological intervention designed to help people
resolve emotional, behavioural and interpersonal
problems and improve the quality of their lives.
Paraprofessional. Person with no professional training who provides
mental health services.
Insight therapies. Psychotherapies with the goal of expanding
Free association. Clients express themselves without censorship.
Resistance. Attempts to avoid confrontation and anxiety
associated with uncovering previously repressed
thoughts, emotions and impulses.
Transference. Projecting intense, unrealistic feelings and
expectations from the past onto the therapist.
Interpersonal therapy. Treatment that strengthens social skills and targets
interpersonal problems, conflicts and life transitions.
Humanistic therapies. Emphasises the development of human potential and
the belief that human nature is basically positive.
Person-centred therapy. Centred on client’s goals and ways of solving problems.
Gestalt therapy. Aims to integrate different and sometimes opposing
aspects of personality into a unified sense of self.
Group therapy. Treats more than one person at a time.
Strategic family intervention Aims to remove barriers to effective communication.
Structural family therapy. Therapist deeply involves themselves in family
activities to change how members arrange and
Behaviour therapist. Focuses on specific problem behaviours and current
variables that maintain problematic thoughts, feelings
Systematic desensitisation. Clients taught to relax as they are gradually exposed
to what they fear in a stepwise manner.
Exposure therapy. Confronts clients with what they fear with the goal of
Dismantling. Research procedure for examining the effectiveness
of isolated components of a larger treatment.
Response prevention. Technique which therapists prevent clients from
performing their typical avoidance behaviours.
Participant modelling. Technique which therapist first models a problematic
situation and then guides the client through steps to
cope with it unassisted.
Token economy. Desirable behaviours are rewarded with tokens that
can be exchanged for tangible rewards.
Aversion therapy. Uses punishment to decrease frequency of
CBT. Attempt to replace maladaptive/irrational cognitions
with more adaptive/rational ones.
Meta-analysis. Statistical method that helps researchers to interpret
large bodies of psychological literature.
Empirically supported Intervention for specific disorders by high quality
treatment. scientific evidence.
Psychopharmacotherapy. Use of medications to treat psychological problems.
Electroconvulsive therapy. Patients receive brief electrical pulses to the brain that
produce a seizure to treat serious psychological
Psychosurgery. Brain surgery to treat psychological problems.
Posttraumatic stress disorder. Marked emotional disturbance after
experiencing/witnessing a severely stressful event.
Anxiety sensitivity. Fear of anxiety-related sensations.
Anxiety – a generalised feeling of fear and apprehension; may be related to a
particular event or object and is often accompanied by increased physiological
o Most prevalent of mental disorders; average onset is 11 years.
o Anxiety is the most prevalent symptom.
o Anxiety as a symptom is not only limited to anxiety disorders. Explanations:
o Anxiety responses as acquired habits.
Observing others engage in fearful behaviours.
From info or misinformation from others.
o Catastrophising and anxiety sensitivity:
o Interpret ambiguous situations in a negative light.
Fear and anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorders share features of excessive fear and anxiety.
Fear is the emotional response to real or perceived threat, whereas anxiety is
anticipation of future threat.
Both states overlap but differ – fear tends to be associated more with a
o Subjective-emotional – tension and apprehension.
o Cognitive – worrisome thoughts, inability to cope.
o Physiological – increased heart rate and blood pressure, muscle
tension, rapid breathing, nausea, dry mouth, etc.
o Behavioural – avoidance of situations, impaired task performance.
Types of anxiety disorders:
o Phobias – specific or social.
o Panic disorder – with or without agoraphobia.
o Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
o Post-traumatic stress disorder – acute stress disorder.
o Generalised anxiety disorder.
o Separates out the anxiety disorders as main category types.
Anxiety disorders (separation anxiety, selective mutism,
specific phobia, social phobia, panic disorder, panic attack
specifier, agoraphobia, generalised anxiety disorder,
substance/medication-induced, anxiety disorder due to another
media condition, other specified anxiety disorder, unspecified
Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders (obsessive
compulsive disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, hoarding
disorder, hair-pulling disorder, skin picking disorder,
substance/medication-induced obsessive- compulsive and
related disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder due to another
medical condition, other specified obsessive –compulsive and
related disorder, unspecified obsessive-compulsive and related
Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders (reactive attachment
disorder, disinhibited social engagement disorder, post-
traumatic stress disorder, acute stress disorder, adjustment
disorders, other specified trauma- and stressor-related
Phobias Intense irrational fear related to a category of object or event.
o Experience fight/flight response.
o Agoraphobias – fear of open/public spaces where escape can be
o Social phobias – fear of what people think of you (public speaking,
eating in public, etc.).
o Specific phobias – fear something specific (heights, snakes, etc.).
Watson – phobias are acquired by XX.
o We’re genetically prepared, by evolution, to fear certain classes of
o Phobias may exist differently in different cultures.
o Phobias can occur at different times of life.
o Most social phobias arise out of shyness.
Terror appearing at unpredictable times, unprovoked by threat.
Victim cannot avoid or relieve situation.
Attacks usually last for several minutes (i.e. they peak in less than 10
Symptoms include sweating, heart palpitations, trembling, choking, etc.
With or without agoraphobia.
DSM-IV panic disorder should be diagnosed if there is an inordinate fear of
having future attacks or other maladaptive behaviours (such as agoraphobia).
Obsessions – disturbing thoughts that re-occur.
Compulsions – repetitive actions.
Specific irrational fear which can be reduced when some ritual is performed.
Behavioural theorists – compulsions are reinforced to reduce anxiety.
Cognitive theorists – people who tend to think about weird things expect the
worst in new situations.
Biological theorists – brain abnormalities; treat with medication.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Linked to environmental incident (e.g. accidents) and symptoms were not
present before trauma.
Manifests if person can’t make sense of trauma and trauma occurs recurrently
in nightmares, dreams, fantasy.
Person becomes numb to the world and avoids stimuli that can remind them of
incident. Experience of guilt, where other were killed and not them for example.
Acute stress disorder:
o Symptoms begin immediately following trauma (3 days – 1 month).
o Dissociative symptoms manifest, including numbness, intrusive
distressing memories, dissociative reactions e.g. flashbacks,
o May predict later development of PTSD.
Generalised anxiety disorder
Incorporates real and imagined threats about a number of events or activities.
Not linked to a specific thing.
Individual finds it difficult to control the worry and excessive anxiety (feel on
edge and irritable, have trouble sleeping, considerable bodily tension and
Unpredictable events during childhood may predispose a person to the
May manifest later in life after a major change.
Causal factors for anxiety disorders
o Genetic factors – may increase susceptibility.
Autonomic NS overreacts when threat is perceived, causing
high levels of physiological arousal.
OCD, panic and phobias are inherited i.e. genes can influence
a person’s level of neuroticism (tendency to be highly strung
o People with OCD are 2x more likely to inherit a specific overactive
gene relating to the transport of serotonin than people without it.
Results in problems inhibiting unwanted behaviours.
o Psychodynamic theory – anxiet