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19 Apr 2011

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Chapter 17 The Nature and Causes of Psychological Disorders
Etiology the cause of a disorder
Classification and Diagnosis of Psychological Disorders
Abnormal any departure from the norm
Maladaptive not providing adequate adjustment to the environment or situation
Perspectives on the Causes of Psychological Disorders
Psychodynamic Perspective (Freud) psychological disorders originate in intrapsychic
conflict produced by the three components of the mind: the id, ego, and superego.
Medical Perspective (Hippocrates) psychological disorders are caused by specific
abnormalities of the brain and nervous system and that, in principle, they should be
approached for treatment in the same way as physical illnesses
Cognitive-Behavioural Perspective psychological disorders are learned maladaptive
behaviour patterns that can best be understood by focusing on environmental factors
and a persons perception of those factors; not something that arises spontaneously within
a person
Humanistic Perspective psychological disorders arise when people perceive that they
must earn the positive regard of others, thus they become overly sensitive to the
demands and criticisms of others and come to define their personal value primarily in
terms of othersreactions to them
Sociocultural Perspective cultures in which people live play a significant role in the
development of psychological disorders; what is considered normal in one culture may be
considered abnormal in another
Culture-bound syndromes: psychological disorders exist that appear to occur only in
certain cultures
Diathesis-stress model asserts that the combination of a persons genes and early
learning experiences may produce predispositions (diatheses) for a variety of
psychological disorders. Idea that psychological disorders develop when a person possesses
a predisposition for a disorder and faces stressors that exceed his or her abilities to cope
with them; represents the biopsychosocial perspective
Biopsychosocial Perspective a view that the causes of psychological disorders can best be
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understood in terms of the interaction of biological, psychological, and social factors
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) a widely used
manual for classifying psychological disorders; produced by the American Psychiatric
Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) overall rating of a persons mental/physical
health due to mental disorders
Axes I psychological disorders that require clinical attention (alcohol dependence)
Axes II personality disorders (anti-social personality disorder)
Axes III physical disorders (alcoholic cirrhosis)
Axes IV Severity of stress (divorce, loss of job)
Axes V overall level of psychological, social, or occupational functioning (GAF = 30; very
serious impairment of functioning)
Comorbid appearance of two or more disorders in a single person
The diagnosis and treatment of DSM-IV-TR is based more on biological factors,
overlooking cognitive and environmental factors; problem with DSM-IV-TR
Validity of DSM-IV-TR not entirely reliable, shown through an experiment conducted by
Rosenhan, a group of sane volunteers pretending to have problems were given a 3 week
stay at the institution
False-positive inter-clinicians are more likely to pass a sane person insane
Clinical versus Actuarial Diagnosis
Once data are gathered about a patient, clinicians can interpret them in two ways:
clinical method or actuarial (statistical) method
Clinical judgements diagnoses based on experts experience
Actuarial judgements diagnoses based on statistical rules that relate particular
indicators (symptoms, test scores, or personal characteristics such as age) to particular
Actuarial judgements are more accurate than clinical judgements because their
reliability is always higher
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Disorders Usually Diagnosed in Childhood
Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder symptoms include inattention, hyperactivity,
or impulsivity; found in childhood
Autistic disorder symptoms include abnormal development of social interaction and
communication, accompanied by pronounced limitations of activity and interests;
found in childhood
Anxiety, Somatoform, and Dissociative Psychological Disorders
Neuroses strategies of perception and behaviour that have gotten out of hand;
pathological increases in anxiety
Psychoses suffers from delusions or severely disordered thought processes
Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety a sense of apprehension or doom that is accompanied by certain physiological
reactions, such as accelerated heart rate, sweaty palms, and tightness in the
3 important anxiety disorders: panic disorder, phobic disorders, and obsessive-
compulsive disorders
Panic a feeling of extreme fear mixed with hopelessness or helplessness
Panic disorder episodic attacks of acute anxiety periods of acute and unremitting
terror that grip them for lengths of time lasting from a few seconds to a few hours
Symptoms of panic attack: shortness of breath, clammy sweat, irregularities in heartbeat,
dizziness, faintness, and feelings of unreality
Anticipatory anxiety fear of having a panic attack; may lead to development of phobias
Causes for panic disorder: genetic and physiological causes & cognitive causes
Genetic and physiological causes may be caused by a single, dominant gene; people with
panic disorder periodically breathe irregularly both when awake and when asleep
Cognitive causes focus on expectancies. People who suffer from panic attacks appear to
be sensitive to any risk or danger in their environments
Phobic disorder unrealistic, excessive fear of a specific class of stimuli that interferes
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