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Chapter 14

Ch. 14 Psychological Disorders


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 1F90
Professor
Kathryn Belicki
Chapter
14

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Ch. 14 Psychological Disorders
March-13-12
3:59 PM
Psychopathology: scientific study of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders; also abnormal or
maladaptive behavior
-characterized by subjective discomfort (personal feelings of pain, unhappiness, emotional
distress)
-person can be disturbed without feeling discomfort
Statistical abnormality: abnormality defined on the basis of an extreme score on some dimension, ex.
IQ or anxiety
-statistical boundary lines tend to be somewhat arbitrary
Social nonconformity: disobeying public standards for acceptable conduct
-extreme nonconformity can lead to destructive or self-destructive behavior
-before anything can be defined as abnormal must consider the situational context (social
situation, behavior setting, circumstances)
-abnormal behavior has two core features:
Maladaptive: difficult to adapt to the environment and meet the demands of day-to-day life
-lose the ability to control thoughts, behaviors, feelings adequately
-deciding that a person needs help usually occurs when person does something that annoys or gains the
attention of someone in a position of power in the persons life. That person does something about it.
Insanity: legal term that refers to a mental inability to manages one's affairs or to be aware of the
consequences of one's actions
-psychological problems are classified by using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders, fourth edition, text revision (DSM-IV-TR, 2000)
-also helps to select best therapy
Mental disorder: a significant impairment in psychological functioning
Psychotic disorder: severe mental disorder characterized by a retreat from reality, by hallucinations and
delusions, and by social withdrawal
Organic mental disorder: mental/emotional problem cause by brain diseases or injuries
-almost all mental disorders are partially biological
-that’s why DSM-IV-TR does not list organic mental disorders separately
Mood disorder: major disturbance in mood/emotion, such as depression or mania.
Anxiety disorder: disruptive feelings of fear, apprehension, anxiety, or distortions in behavior that are
anxiety related
Dissociative disorder: temporary amnesia, multiple personality, or depersonalization
Somatoform disorder: physical symptoms that mimic disease or injury for which there is no identifiable
physical cause
Personality disorder: maladaptive personality pattern
Sexual and gender identity disorder: any of a wide range or difficulties with sexual identity, deviant
sexual behavior, or sexual adjustment
Substance-related disorder: abuse of or dependence on a mood- or behavior-altering drug
Neurosis: outdated term once used to refer, as a group, to anxiety, somatoform, dissociative disorders,
and some forms of depression

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Running Amok with Cultural Maladies
Amok: (Malaysia) erupt in outburst of violent aggressive, homicidal behavior randomly directed at
people/objects
Susto: (Latin America)symptoms include insomnia, irritability, phobias, increase in sweating and
heart rate
-voodoo death can result, person literally scared to death
Ghost sickness: (American Indian) preoccupied with death and the deceased, symptoms: bad
dreams, weakness, loss of appetite, fainting, dizziness, fear, anxiety, hallucinations, loss of
consciousness, confusion, feelings of futility, sense of suffocation
Koro: (South & East Asia/ West Africa) sudden intense anxiety that the penis or vulva and nipples
will recede into the body
Zar: (North Africa & Middle East) spirits possess an individual
Dhat: (Indian) fear of the loss of semen during nocturnal emissions
General factors that contribute to psychopathology:
Biological/physical: genetic defects/inherited vulnerabilities, poor prenatal care, low birth weight,
etc.
Psychological: stress, low intelligence, learning disorder, lack of control or mastery
Family: parents who are immature, mentally disturbed, criminal, abusive, poor child discipline,
etc.
Social: poverty, stressful living conditions, homelessness, overcrowding, social disorganization
-culture influences as well:
-African Americans less likely to suffer depression, OCD, substance abuse, antisocial personality
disorder, anorexia
-Asian Americans less likely to suffer schizophrenia, mania, bipolar, panic, somatization, substance
abuse, antisocial personality
-Hispanic Americans less likely to suffer from schizophrenia, OCD, panic, substance abuse
-medical student's disease: medical students/psychology students tend to notice themselves the
symptoms of each disease studied
Psychosis: loss of contact with reality marked by hallucinations, delusions, disturbed thoughts, emotions
and personality disorganization
Major features of psychotic disorders:
Delusion: false belief held against all contrary evidence
Delusional disorder: psychosis marked by severe delusions of:
-depressive delusion: feel committed horrible crimes/sinful deeds
-somatic delusion: body is 'rotting away'/ emitting foul odour
-delusions of grandeur: people think they are extremely important
-delusions of influence: feeling of being controlled/influenced by others or unseen forces
-delusions of persecution: others are out to get them
-delusions of reference: give great personal meaning to unrelated events
Hallucination: imaginary sensations (seeing, hearing, smelling) that don't exist in the real world
-most common is hearing voices
-anesthesia: numbness, loss of sensation
-during psychotic episode emotions severely disturbed
-flat effect: condition in which the face is frozen in a blank expression
-brain images show processing emotions abnormally
-personality disintegration: persons thoughts, actions, emotions are no longer coordinated
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-lead poisoning can lead to psychosis
Dementia: serious mental impairment in old age caused by deterioration of the brain
-major disturbances in memory, reasoning, judgement, impulse control, personality
-slowly lose their mental abilities without becoming psychotic, some do develop delusions and
lose contact with reality
Alzheimer's disease: age-related disease characterized by memory loss, mental confusion, and loss of
mental abilities
-slowly lose ability to work, cook, drive, read, write, do arithmetic and eventually mute and
bedridden
-caused by webs and tangles in the brain that damage areas important for memory and learning
-genetic factors increase risk of developing Alzheimer's
Delusional disorders may take the following forms:
Erotomanic type: erotic delusions they are loved by another, especially someone famous/higher
status
Grandiose type: think hey have a great, unrecognized talent, knowledge, or insight. May also
believe they have a special relationship with an important person/god
Jealous type: example, all consuming, unfounded belief your spouse/lover is unfaithful
Persecutory type: being conspired against, cheated, spied on, followed, poisoned, maligned,
harassed
Somatic type: believe their bodies are diseased/rotting/infested with insects or parasites/parts of
body are defective
Paranoid psychosis: delusional disorder centered especially on delusions of persecution
Schizophrenia: psychosis characterized by delusions, hallucinations, apathy, and a 'split' between
thought and emotion
-emotions may become blunted or very inappropriate
-one person in 100 has schizophrenia
Schizophrenia has four major subtypes:
Disorganized type (Disorganized [or hebephrenic] schizophrenia): incoherence, grossly
disorganized behavior, bizarre thinking, flat/grossly inappropriate emotions
Catatonic type (catatonic schizophrenia): stupor, rigidity, unresponsive, posturing, mutism,
agitated, purposeless behavior
Paranoid type (paranoid schizophrenia): preoccupation with delusions or by frequent auditory
hallucinations related to a single theme, especially grandeur or persecution
-most common
Undifferentiated type (undifferentiated schizophrenia): prominent psychotic symptoms, none of
the specific features of catatonic, disorganized, paranoid types
-mentally ill individuals who are not also substance abusers are no more prone to violence than are
normal individuals
-only persons involved with substance abuse, actively psychotic, currently experiencing psychotic
symptoms are increased risk for violence
-media exaggerates connection between mental illness and violence
-people who are not mentally ill commit the overwhelming majority of violent crimes
-pregnant mothers who are exposed to influenza virus or rubella makes child more likely to have
schizophrenia
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