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Chapter

Defining and Classifying Psychological Disorders

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 100
Professor
Prof.
Semester
Fall

Description
Defining and Classifying Psychological Disorders To understand psychological disorders we apply: -Medical Model- using our understanding of medical conditions to think about psychological conditions -Bio-Psych-Social model Defining Abnormal Behaviour Abnormal Psychology-psychological study of mental illness -displays Maladaptive Behavior-behaviour that hinders a person’s ability to function in society Clinically Significant- symptoms are considered if a clinician judges them to be sufficiently significant, marked, or substantial in intensity or duration that the patient would benefit from professional treatment American Psychiatric Association’s criteria to identify maladaptive behaviour: 1. Behaviour causes distress to self or others 2. Behaviour impairs the ability to function in day-to-day activities 3. Behaviour increases the risk of injury, death, legal problems or punishment for breaking rules, or other detrimental consequences Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) -manual that establishes criteria for the diagnosis of mental disorders -Each disorder is given three important information:-set of symptoms -Etiology- origins or causes of symptoms -Prognosis- how these symptoms will persist or change over time, with or without professional treatment -psychological disorders are divided into five divisions called axes: 1. Clinical Disorders 2. Personality Disorders 3. General Medical Conditions 4. Psychosocial and Environmental Problems 5. Global Assessment of Functional (GAF) Scale Three-Prong Test- a patient’s symptoms can be classified as a mental disorder if they: • Cause a clinically significant impairment in an individual’s ability to function • Are not a predictable reaction to an external event • Are not the result of an individual’s voluntary choice Categorical vs. Dimensional Views Dimensional-when people have typical thoughts and behaviours, however they are more severe and longerlasting and occur in inappropriate contexts or without any clear reasons -focuses on degree of normal-abnormal distinction Categorical-different mental conditions are separate types -focuses on kind of normal-abnormal distinction Medical Health in Public Sphere -insanity is a legal concept and is not directly related to psychological diagnoses and treatment, and varies from states Insanity Defense- legal strategy of claiming that a defendant was unable to differentiate between right and wrong when the criminal act was committed -labeling can have either positive or negative effects, depending on factors such as context and cultural expectations -physiological symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may be common among people of different cultures, but the specific concerns people have can vary Labeling, Stigma, and Mental Disorders Label- indicates a set of symptoms, probable causes, and potential treatments Stigma- includes negative stereotypes about psychological disorders and can lead to discrimination Anxiety and Mood Disorders Anxiety Disorders-category of disorders involving fear or nervousness that is excessive, irrational, and maladaptive Disproportionate- excessive to the stimuli Disruptive- create problems in everyday life Distressing- strong negative emotions Duration- last longer than expected -based on fight-or-flight response Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - frequently elevated levels of anxiety that aren’t directed at or limited to any particular situation Panic Disorder-marked by repeated episodes of sudden, very intense fear -Can lead to Agoraphobia-an intense fear of having a panic attack or lower-level panic symptoms in public Specific Phobias Phobia- severe, irrational fear of a very specific object or situation Specific Phobia- involves an intense fear of an object, activity, or organism -developed through unpleasant or frightening experiences -fear of potential danger is believed by psychologists to be a genetic component from our evolutionally history Social Phobia- an irrational fear of being observed, evaluated, or embarrassed in public Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - characterized by unwanted, inappropriate and persistent thoughts (obsessions); repetitive stereotyped behaviours (compulsions), or a combination of the two Mood Disorders Major Depression-marked by prolonged periods of sadness, feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness, social withdrawal, and cognitive and physical sluggishness -referred to as unipolar Bipolar Disorder-characterized by extreme highs and lows in mood, motivation, and energy -has depression one end and mania (an extremely energized, positive mood) on the other end -can move from both ends at different rates -rapid cyclers experience very abrupt mood swings, sometimes within hours Anti-Social Disorder- marked by a consistent pattern of lying, cheating, and law-breaking, and a lack of empathy and remorse Borderline Personality Disorder-disturbances in their sense of self, difficulty regulating their mood, unstable interpersonal relationships, and fear of abandonment -Impulsive behaviour, including self-injury, is a common method of coping Depressive Explanatory Style- where a depressed individual explains life with three qualities: • Internal
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