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PSY 325 Week 1 Readings

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PSY 325
Karen Milligan

PSY325: PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDERS Week 1 Readings September 6, 2013 CHAPTER 1: LOOKING AT ABNORMALITY -Clifford Beers: treated very badly in a hospital, and recovered regardless of his treatments -started a movement for a reform of mental health treatment -psychopathology (the study of abnormal psychology): study of people who experience mental, emotional or physical pain due to a mental illness -sometimes people experience unusual circumstances, but other times people with psychopathology have experiences that most of us have, but are more extreme -mental illness has personal, familial, and societal costs Defining Abnormality -what we think is abnormal may differ to someone of another culture or religion, therefore context, or circumstances, surrounding a behaviour, influences whether a behaviour is viewed as abnormal -behaviours are characterized as abnormal if they violate a culture’s gender roles -unusualness of behaviour, discomfort of the person exhibiting it, presence of mental illness, and maladaptiveness of the behaviour Cultural Relativism -no universal standards or rules exist for labeling a behaviour as abnormal; behaviours can be abnormal only relative to cultural norms -different definitions of abnormal can be used across cultures -dangers arise when societal norms are allowed to dictate what is normal and abnormal -Thomas Szasz said that throughout history, societies have labeled individuals and groups abnormal so that they could control them -cultural relativism creates difficulties in defining abnormality and psychologists don’t entirely agree with this view Unusualness -behaviours that are unusual, or rare, are considered abnormal rather than behaviours that are usual -kind of ties in to cultural relativism because what is normal in one society may not be normal to another -2 problems: 1) someone must decide how abnormal the behaviour is 2) many rare behaviours are positive to an individual/society and those people would object to calling it abnormal Discomfort -behaviours should only be considered abnormal if the individual suffers discomfort and wants to get rid of the behaviours -some psychologists disagree with this because they are not aware of the harm their behaviours are causing for themselves, or others Mental Illness -abnormal behaviours that are a result of a mental illness -a clear, identifiable physical process exists that differs from health and leads to specific behaviours or symptoms -there are no biological tests to determine if an individual has a mental illness Maladaptiveness -maladaptiveness: behaviours and feelings cause people to suffer distress and prevent them from functioning in daily life are abnormal -three components of maladaptiveness: dysfunction, distress, deviance -there is subjectivity of these criteria and there is fuzziness in the definition of abnormality -there are many ways that culture and gender influence maladaptive behaviours 1) culture and gender influence how likely it is that a maladaptive behaviour will be shown 2) culture and gender can influence the ways people express distress or lose touch with reality 3) culture and gender can influence people’s willingness to admit to certain types of maladaptive behaviours 4) culture and gender can influence the types of treatments that are deemed acceptable or helpful for maladaptive behaviours Harmful Dysfunction -a harmful failure of internal mechanisms to perform their naturally selected functions Categorical Versus Dimensional Ratings of Mental Illness -APA’s Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (categorical perspective) disorders are distinct syndromes -example: pregnancy -dimensional perspective views mental functioning as a continuum from normality to abnormality, with psychopathology representing exaggerations of mental functioning -based on the quantification of attributes rather than assignment to categories -example: age Defining the Opposite End of Abnormality: Positive Psychology -positive psychology helps people achieve high levels of functioning (full functioning) -positive psychology: the study of positive emotion, character, and institutions, and the study of the conditions and processes that contribute to the flourishing or optimal functioning of people, groups and institutions -aims at studying the ways people feel joy, show altruism, and create healthy families and institutions Diathesis-Stress Models -views disorders as being made up of two parts -diathesis is a vulnerability or predisposition to developing a mental disorder and is necessary in the development of a disorder -it cannot cause a disorder, but stress is the trigger of a disorder *therefore, a mental disorder occurs when an individual with a vulnerability experiences some stressful life event -the higher the diathesis the smaller amount of stress needed to cause a disorder, and vice versa Historical Perspectives on Abnormality -three theories on the causes of abnormal behaviours -biological theories: abnormal behaviour is caused by the breakdown of systems in the body. To cure them, you must restore the body to good health -supernatural theories: abnormal behaviour resulted from divine intervention, curses, possession and personal sin. To rid the person of the disorder, religious rituals, exorcisms, confessions and atonement were prescribed -psychological theories: result of traumas. Rest, relaxation, a change of environment, and certain herbal medicines were helpful. -these influences influenced how people were regarded in society Ancient Theories Evil Spirits of the Stone Age -caused by demons and ghosts and typical treatment was an exorcism -Shamans, or healers, would try to get the demons out of the body or just kill the individual -one treatment was trephination: to drill a hole in the skull for the spirits to depart Ancient China: Balancing Yin and Yang -the body was made of a positive component (yang) and a negative one (yin) that complemented each other, if the two forces were in balance, the body was fine, but if they were not, illness could result -emotions were controlled by internal organs and when the vital air was flowing on one of these organs, you felt a particular emotion Ancien
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