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Chapter 13

PSYC 2310 Chapter Notes - Chapter 13: Waxy Flexibility, Stressor, Bipolar Disorder

Course Code
PSYC 2310
Paula Barata

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Chapter 13- Psychological Disorders
Historical Perspectives On Psychological Disorders:
The Demonological View:
- abnormal behaviour due to supernatural forces deviance= work of devil
- trephination: removal of piece of skull to release demon from brain
- killing of witches (anyone with psychological disorder)
Early Biological Views:
- Hippocrates suggested mental illnesses to be diseases like physical disorders
- General paresis: disorder characterized by mental deterioration
Psychological Perspectives:
- Sigmund Freud’s theory now explained deviance in 1900s, Freud convinced
psychological disorders unresolved childhood conflicts
- Depression, etc without loss of contact from reality: neuroses
- Withdrawl from reality: psychoses
Vulnerability-Stress Model p 531
Vulnerability: predisposition, biological basis or hormonal factor
Stressor: some recent/current event requiring person to cope
Defining and Classifying Psychological Disorders:
-abnormality largely social judgement
- behaviour judged to be psychological disorder 1. distressing to person/others 2.
dysfunctional, maladaptive, self-defeating 3. socially deviant arousing other’s
discomfort not attributed to environmental causes
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition (DSMV-
IV), most widely used diagnostic classification system information represented
along five axes
- Axis 1: person’s primary clinical symptoms

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- Axis 2: long standing personality/developmental disorders (could influence
behaviour and response to treatment)
- Axis 3: any physical conditions that might be relevant (ie. high blood pressure)
- Axis 4: intensity of environmental stressors
- Axis 5: recent adaptive functioning/coping resources
-Reliability/validity important
Critical Issues in Diagnostic Labelling:
- label may become description of individual rather than the behaviour
-competency refers to defendant’s state of mind at time of judicial hearing (not
when crime was committed!!)
-insanity: resumed state of mind of defendant when crime was committed, can be
declared not guilty by reason of insanity if severely impaired
-NCRMD- not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder
- Legal implications of insanity/competency
Anxiety Disorders:
- frequency and intensity of anxiety responses out of proportion to situations that
trigger them, anxiety interferes with daily life
1. subjective-emotional component tension, apprehension
2. cognitive component danger, inability to cope
3. physiological responses increased heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension
- phobias are strong irrational fears of certain objects/situations
-agoraphobia: fear of open places
-social phobias: fear of situations where person is judged/can be embarrassed
-specific phobias: dogs, snakes, spiders, etc.
-generalized anxiety disordr: diffuse anxiety not attached to specific situations,
-panic disorders: occur suddenly and unpredictably, intense, chronic
-obsessive-compulsive disorder: cognitive/behavioural component
-obsessions: repetitive unwelcome thoughts, etc. compulsive: repetitive
behavioural responses
-post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): severe anxiety disorder in people
exposed to traumatic life events, flashbacks, numb to world, “survivor guilt”,
1. biological factors in anxiety disorders genetic/biochemical processes,
neurotransmitters (GABA) within parts of the brain that control arousal
2. psychoanalytic factors anxiety results from ego defences not dealing with
internal psychological conflicts
3. cognitive tendencies to magnify degree of threat/danger and misinterpret
normal anxiety (panic disorder) in ways evoking panic
4. behavioural learned response(classical conditioning/vicarious learning),
avoidance is operant response negatively reinforced by anxiety reduction
5. sociocultural culture-bound anxiety, greater prevalence in women for anxiety
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