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PSYC 100 - 12 Abnormal Behaviour.docx

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University of British Columbia
PSYC 100
Peter Graf

AP Psychology Abnormal Behaviour Abnormal psychology – the study of people who suffer from psychological disorders Psychological disorder – persistently harmful thoughts, feelings, actions; when behaviour is deviant, distressful, and dysfunctional Abnormality 1. Atypical, unusual, deviant; not shared by many members of the population 2. Maladaptive, dysfunctional, harmful and/or disturbing to the individual 3. Disturbing to others; distressful 4. Unjustifiable, irrational; does not make sense to the average person DSM-IV –American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - a widely used system for classifying psychological disorders • Axis I – Clinical disorders • Axis II – Personality and developmental disorders • Axis III – Medical conditions • Axis IV – Psychosocial conditions • Axis V – Global assessment of functioning Causes of psychological disturbances • Psychoanalytic – internal, unconscious conflicts caused by traumatic events in psychosexual stages • Behaviourists –reinforcement history, the environment • Cognitive – Irrational, dysfunctional thoughts or ways of thinking • Humanistic – person’s feelings, self-esteem, self-concept; failure to strive toward one’s potential or being out of touch with one’s feelings • Socio-cultural – social ills (ex. racism, sexism, poverty); dysfunctional society • Biomedical– organic problems, biochemical imbalances, genetic abnormalities o (ex. hormonal, neurotransmitter imbalances, differences in brain structure) o Medical model – mental illnesses can be diagnosed on the basis of their symptoms and cured through therapy (which may include treatment in psychiatric hospital) Anxiety disorders – psychological disorders characterized by distressing, persistent anxiety or maladaptive behaviours that reduce anxiety AP Psychology • Generalized anxiety disorder – an anxiety disorder in which a person is continually tense, apprehensive, and in a state of autonomic nervous system arousal o too little GABA; Drugs: Valium, Xanax • Panic disorder – an anxiety disorder marked by unpredictable intense fear or terror • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – an anxiety disorder characterized by unwanted, disturbing repetitive thoughts (obsessions) and perform senseless rituals (compulsions) o too little serotonin; Drugs: antidepressants –Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – an anxiety disorder characterized by haunting memories, nightmares, social withdrawal, jumpy anxiety and/or insomnia that lingers for four weeks or more after a traumatic experience (ex. war, natural disaster) • Phobic Disorder –persistent, irrational fear and avoidance of a specific object or situation o Social phobia (ex. public speaking); Simple phobia (ex. heights, snakes) o Agoraphobia – fear of leaving home or being in open space Explaining Anxiety disorders • Behavioural (learning) Model: o Classical conditioning o Operant conditioning (reinforcement) o Generalization o Observational learning (Bandura) • Biological Model: o Evolution o Genetics o Physiology • Psychoanalytic: as a result of repressed impulses that begin to come into consciousness Somatization Disorder – vague, recurring physical symptoms; no medical cause can be found • Conversion disorder – specific and dramatic physical disability for which no medical cause can be found (ex. blindness and paralysis) • Hypochondriasis – small and insignificant symptoms are interpreted as signs of serious illness Dissociative disorders – disorders in which conscious awareness becomes separated (dissociate) from previous memories, thoughts and feelings – “Multiple Personality Disorder” • Dissociative Amnesia – selective memory loss often brought about by severe stress AP Psychology • Dissociative Fugue – amnesia accompanied by flight from one’s home and identity • Dissociative identity disorder (DID) / multiple personality disorder – a rare dissociative disorder in which a person exhibits two or more
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