PSY100Y5 Chapter Notes - Chapter 14: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Major Depressive Episode, Generalized Anxiety Disorder

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CHAPTER 14: PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDERS
Abnormal Behaviour: Myths, Realities and Controversies
The Medical Model Applies to Abnormal Behaviour
Medical Model: proposes that it is useful to think of abnormal behaviour as a disease
Medical model can lead to social stigma that is hard to get rid of
Medical model continues to dominate thinking about psychological disorders
Diagnosis: distinguishing one illness from another
Etiology: the apparent causation and development history of an illness
Prognosis: forecast about the probably course of an illness
Criteria of Abnormal Behaviour
Deviance: people are often said to have a disorder if their behaviour deviates from what their society
considers acceptable (ex. Transvestic fetishism: sexual disorder when man achieves sexual arousal by
dressing in female clothes --> disorder because this deviates `from norm)
Maladaptive Behaviour: labeled as having psychological disorder because everyday adaptive
behaviour is impaired - key criterion in diagnosis of substance-use disorders
Personal distress: individual’s report of great personal distress (criterion for people with depression
and anxiety disorders)
People usually viewed as disordered when only one criterion above is met
Difficult to draw a clear cline between normality and abnormality (it’s a continuum)
Stereotypes of Psychological Disorders
Three stereotypes about psychological disorders that are largely inaccurate:
Psychological disorders are incurable: large majority of mentally ill people eventually improve and
lead normal, productive lives
People with psychological disorders are often violent and dangerous: No large correlation between
mental illness and violent behaviour but it is largely publicized if it does occur therefore creating the
stereotype
People with psychological disorders behave in bizarre ways and are very different from normal
people: only true for small majority of cases
Psychodiagnosis: The Classification of Disorders
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: employs a multi-axial system of classification
which asks for judgements about individuals on 5 separate axes
Diagnoses of disorders are made on Axes I and II
Axis I: where physicians record most disorders
Axis II: used to list long-running personality disorders or intellectual disability
Remaining axes used to record supplemental information
Axis III: patient’s physical disorders
Axis IV: notations regarding types of stress experienced by individual in previous year
Axis V: estimates of individual’s current level of adaptive functioning
Biggest issue with DSM is whether to reduce the system’s commitment to a categorical approach
Critics not that there is overlap among disorders in symptoms making for fuzzier boundaries between
diagnoses
Theorists want to replace current categorical approach with dimensional approach, which would
describe pathology in terms of how they score on a limited number of continuous dimensions
The Prevalence of Psychological Disorders
Epidemiology: the study of the distribution of mental or physical disorders in a population
Prevalence: the percentage of a population that exhibits a disorder during a specific time period
Lifetime prevalence: percentage of people who endure a specific disorder at any time in their lives
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Chapter 14: Psychological Disorders
Most common psychological disorders are: substance-use, anxiety and mood disorders
Anxiety Disorders
Class of disorders marked by feelings of excessive apprehension and anxiety
Five principal types: generalized anxiety disorder, phobic disorder, panic disorder and agoraphobia,
obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic disorder (these are not mutually-exclusive)
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Marked by a chronic, high level of anxiety that is not tied to any specific threat
People with this disorder worry constantly about yesterday’s mistakes and tomorrow’s problems and
hope their worrying will help ward off negative events
Often dread decisions and brood over them endlessly
Anxiety often accompanied by physical symptoms (i.e. Trembling, dizziness, sweating, heart
palpitations)
Tends to have gradual onset and more frequent in females
Phobic Disorder
Marked by a persistent and irrational fear of an object or situation that presents no realistic danger
People are said to have phobic disorder only when it seriously interferes with everyday behaviour
Accompanied by physical symptoms of anxiety (i.e. Trembling and palpitations)
Common phobias are acrophobia (fear of heights), claustrophobia (fear of small, enclosed spaces),
brontophobia (fear of storms), hydrophobia (fear of water) and others associated with animals and
insects
People with phobias often realize their fear is irrational but still unable to cope
Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia
Panic disorder: characterized by recurrent attacks of overwhelming anxiety that usually occur suddenly
and unexpectedly
Accompanied by physical symptoms of anxiety
After having a few attacks, people become apprehensive, wondering when it’ll happen again
Concern with panic in public may make them scared to leave home
Agoraphobia: fear of going out to public places
Agoraphobia mainly a complication of panic disorder
Onset of panic disorder typically occur during late adolescence or early adulthood
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Marked by persistent, uncontrollable intrusions of unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and urges to engage
in senseless rituals (compulsion)
Obsessions sometimes centre on inflicting harm on others, personal failures, suicide, or sexual acts
People with obsessions may feel they have lost control of their mind
Prevalence of OCD seems to be increasing
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Often elicited by any of a variety of traumatic events, including a rape or assault, a severe automobile
accident, a natural disaster, or the witnessing of someone’s death
In some cases PTSD doesn’t surface until many months or years after a person’s exposure to severe
stress and is tied to memory for the events
More common than widely assumed (more common in women)
Common symptoms: re-experiencing the traumatic event in nightmares and flashbacks, emotional
numbing, alienation, problems in social relationships, an increased sense of vulnerability, and elevated
levels of arousal, anxiety, anger and guilt
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CHAPTER 14: PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDERS
Predictors of increased vulnerability: greater personal injuries and losses, greater intensity of exposure
to the traumatic event, and more exposure to the grotesque aftermath
Frequency and severity of post-traumatic symptoms usually decline gradually over time, but recovery
tends to be gradual in many cases, the symptoms never completely disappear
Etiology of Anxiety Disorders
Biological factors:
To assess the impact of heredity on psychological disorders, investigators look at concordance rate
Concordance rate: indicated the percentage of twin pairs or other pairs of relatives who exhibit the
same disorder
Both twin and family studies suggest there is moderate genetic predisposition to anxiety disorders
Some research suggests that anxiety sensitivity (may fuel inflationary spiral where anxiety breeds more
anxiety) may make people vulnerable to anxiety disorders
Recent research shows link may exist between anxiety disorders and neurochemical activity in the brain
Conditioning and Learning:
Many anxiety responses may be acquired through classical conditioning and maintained through operant
conditioning
Once fear acquired through classical conditioning, person may start avoiding anxiety-producing
stimulus
Avoidance response negatively reinforced because it is followed by a reduction in anxiety
Martin Seligman’s concept of preparedness: suggests people biologically prepared by their evolutionary
history to acquire some fears much more easily than others
Cognitive factors:
Theorists maintain that certain styles of thinking make people more vulnerable to anxiety disorders
Vulnerability because they tend to:
Misinterpret harmless situations as threatening
Focus excessive attention on perceived threats
Selectively recall information that seems threatening
Stress:
• There is reason to believe that high stress often help to precipitate the onset of anxiety disorders
Dissociative Disorders
A class of disorders in which people lose contact with portions of their consciousness or memory,
resulting in disruptions in their sense of identity
Dissociative Amnesia and Fugue
They are overlapping disorders characterized by serious memory deficits
Dissociative amnesia: sudden loss of memory for important personal information that is too extensive
to be due to normal forgetting
Memory losses occur for single traumatic event or for an extended period of time surrounding the event
Dissociative fugue: people lose their memory for their entire lives along with their sense of personal
identity
They forget their names, families, home, workplace but can remember things unrelated to their identity
Dissociative Identity Disorder
Involves the coexistence in one person of two or more largely complete, and usually very different,
personalities (formerly know as multiple personality disorder)
People with DID feel they have more than one identity, each with their own name, memories, traits and
physical mannerisms and are often unaware of each other
DID rarely occurs in isolation (i.e. Patients have previous history of anxiety or mood or personality
disorders) and is more often occurs in women than men
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Document Summary

Criteria of abnormal behaviour: deviance: people are often said to have a disorder if their behaviour deviates from what their society considers acceptable (ex. Chapter 14: psychological disorders: most common psychological disorders are: substance-use, anxiety and mood disorders. Anxiety disorders: class of disorders marked by feelings of excessive apprehension and anxiety, five principal types: generalized anxiety disorder, phobic disorder, panic disorder and agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic disorder (these are not mutually-exclusive) Cognitive factors: theorists maintain that certain styles of thinking make people more vulnerable to anxiety disorders, vulnerability because they tend to, misinterpret harmless situations as threatening, focus excessive attention on perceived threats, selectively recall information that seems threatening. Stress: there is reason to believe that high stress often help to precipitate the onset of anxiety disorders. Dissociative disorders: a class of disorders in which people lose contact with portions of their consciousness or memory, resulting in disruptions in their sense of identity.

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