Textbook Notes (363,507)
Canada (158,391)
Sociology (1,110)
SOC 2070 (94)

mental disorders.doc

6 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Guelph
SOC 2070
Norman Dubeski

Mental Disorder What is a Mental Disorder? - mental disorder is a set of conditions that exhibits itself in a wide range of behaviors. Hence, no general definition of the phenomenon can be completely satisfactory - prefer the term mental disorder to mental illness - the term mental illness has been used until recently amongst some sociologists - mental disorder is more broad than illness like schizo, MPD - APA’s Diagnostic and statistical manual. 4th revision included - with all of its shortcomings, DSM-IV offers a sketchy definition of mental disorder. Each of the disorders enumerated in the manual “is conceptualized as a clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual and that is associated with present distress (eg. painful symptom) or disability or with a significantly increased risk of suffering, death, pain, disability, or an important loss of freedom - the manual stresses that such suffering is not the manifestation of a mental disorder if it is in response to a temporary event, such as a loss of a loved one - the manual stresses mere deviant behavior- for example political, religious, or sexual activities or beliefs that run counter to the norms- is not to be included as a mental disorder unless such a behavior is a symptom of a dysfunction in the individual - By itself, political radicalism, religious terodozy, or homosexuality does not indicate mental disorder - this manual states, different cultures, subcultures, and ethnic groups have somewhat different customs. Hence, the clinician must make sure to avoid making judgments of psychopathology that ignore the nuances of individual's cultural frame of reference - The public recognizes that there are degrees of mental disorder. This dimension is commonsensically captured in the distinction between neurosis and psychosis. - we tend to reserve the concept of the psychosis for those cases that are considerably more serious, and vastly less common, than neurosis - without medication, the psychotic’s condition is almost always a barrier to academic and occupation achievement and social relationships including marriage and family - although the outbreak of a psychosis is frequently grounds for institutionalization in a mental hospital, that of a neurosis almost never is - DSM-IV does not mention psychosis or the psychotic and the term “neurosis” does not appear anywhere in the index; still, the neurosis-psychosis distinction captures most laypeople’s thinking about the dimensional quality of mental disorders Model of Mental Disorders - how is the reality of mental disorders defined? - what causes mental disorders? Essentialism Approaches Mental Disorders - The essentialist approach defines mental disorder as an objectivistic condition that can be located in the real world, in the concrete behavior or verbalizations of persons who are disordered. - such behaviors or verbalizations are outward signs or manifestations of a disordered mind, in much the same way that the height of a column of mercury on the thermometer indicates or measures temperature - The most extreme version of the essentialistic approach is often referred to as the medical model. It argues that mental disorder is very much like a medical disease; a disease of the mind is very much like a disease of the body. - the bizarre and inappropriate behaviors exhibited by mentally disordered persons are symptoms of an underlying or internal pathology of some find - Essentialists are interested in, and study, the epidemiology and the etiology of mental disorder. “Epidemiology” refers to how mental disorders are distributed in categories in the population; “etiology” refers to explanations of the causes of mental disorder - they would argue that there is a true rate or incidence of mental disorder in a given population and a given society - they investigate whether men or women have higher rates of mental disorders, and more specifically, which disorders - Mental disorder is concretely real; it is not simply a label Constructionism Approaches Mental Disorders - the constructionists regard mental disorder as socially defined, by both the general public and the psychiatric profession. In other words, as with deviance, constructionists do not think that mental disorder can be defined objectively by focusing on the common thread that all disorders share.... instead, they argue, what mental disorder is is how it is seen, judged, reacted to, treated and evaluated in a given society. - The constructionist model of mental disorder argues the following points..... - 1. it is a form of deviance - 2. its reality is called into being by the labeling process - 3. the application of the label is influenced at least in part by a variety of extra psychiatric factors or variables (largely due to vagueness of psychiatric diagnosis) - Constructionism argues that, independent of etiology, independent of the consequences of labeling, and independent of the validity of psychiatric diagnoses, the sociologist is obliged to study the social organization of the labeling process that leads to a judgment or diagnosis of mental disorder - over a half-century ago, Edwin Lemert, an important precursor of labeling theory stated: “one of the more important sociological questions here is not what causes human beings to develop such symptoms as hallucinations and delusions, but, instead, what is done about their behavior which leads the community to reject them, segregate them, and otherwise teat them as insane Labeling Theory - For Scheff, the initial process of labeling is a social construction; “normals” will often label eccentricity or residual deviance as mental illness. To the extent that this process is arbitrary and not based on scientific or real-world criteria, Scheff adopts a constructionist approach. - why are eccentrics being labeled as crazy? Is it because of their conditions? Clearly not; a variety of extrapsychiatric social and cultural factors rule this process. - Once the labeling process has been launched and the person who is labeled as crazy begins to take on a crazy role, a very real condition of mental illness beings to take over. What was defined as real becomes real. Thus, Scheff has one foot in constructionism and open foot in essentialism more specifically, in etiology The Modified Labeling Approach - Gove argues that Scheff’s labeling theory of mental illness is empirically wrong. Gove argues that mental patients are unable to function in the real world not because they have been stigmatized but because they are mentally ill - the mentally disordered have debilitating disease that cripples their capacity to function normally and effectively. Moreover, Gove argues, the process by which the psychiatric profession singles out someone as mentally ill is not significantly influenced by sociological or other extrapsychiatric variables - instead, this process is almost exclusively determined by the nature of severity of the illness. - labeling, the medical model argues, is neither capricious or arbitrary nor is it assessed on such hierarchical factors as race, sex, SES, or power. - persons who are sick tend to be labeled as such; in turn, those who are well are extremely unlikely to be labeled as sick - constructionism is concerned with how judgments of reality and imputations of deviance are made and put into practical but labeling theory is, in addition, concerned with the consequences of such judgements and imputations - constructionism also argues that there exists a certain measure of arbitrariness when applying psychiatric labels to psychiatric conditions - As we saw, American psychiatrists are far more likely to apply the label of schizophrenia to patients that British psychiatrists are - Although, it is difficult to deny the impact of the objective nature of mental disorder, stigma, labeling, and societal reaction remain potent and crucial sociological factors to be taken into account in influencing the condition of the menta
More Less

Related notes for SOC 2070

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.