Chapter 17: The nature and causes of mental disorders
-Some less severe mental disorders seems to caused by environ factors or by person’s
perception of these factors. More severe ones = caused by hereditary and bio factors.
Classification and diagnosis of mental disorders
-Emil Kraepelin: 1st to recognize need of classification sys of mental disorders.
What is abnormal?
-Mental disorders are characterized by abonormal behavior, thoughts, feelings.
“Abnormal” = departure from norm. The distinction between n and abn can be
subjective. Stress that the important feature of mental disorder is not abnormal, but
maladaptive (cause distress or discomfort and interfere w/ ppl’s ability to lead
satisfying, productive lives). Disorders often makes it impossible to have job,
*Diagnosis may never be completely free from social and political judgments.
Understanding the cultural diff in beliefs is important.
Perspectives on the Causes of Mental Disorders.
-No single cause of mental disorder. Caused by interaction of: hereditary, cognitive,
Genetic: physiological effect of relevant genes.
Cognitive: identify of origins of distorted perceptions and maladaptive thought
Environ: wide range: family history, social interactions, diet, drugs, childhood
*The perspectives differ in exp of the etiology(origin) of mental disorders.
-Based on Freud’s work: Mental disorder from intrapsychic conflict produced by 3
components of mind (id, ego, superego). Conflicts may centre on attempts to control
potentially harmful expressions of sexual or aggressive impulses, or from attempts to
cope w/ external dangers and traumatic experiences. Result if too strong: defence
mechanism distort reality or the ind begins to unc in some areas of life in manner of
earlier deve stage. Conc may involve, anxiety, obsessive thoughts and compulsive
behavior, depression, distorted perceptions, paralysis, blindness for which there’s no
-Based on Greek physician Hippocrates= excesses of the 4 humours (black, yellow bile
and blood, phlegm) lead to emotional problems. Mental illness=illnesses of the mind.
At first, condition of asylums( mental hospitals) were very ill, it further the disorder
of patients. Now, most patients are treated on outpatient basis w/ drugs, only severe
ones are institutionalized. Mental disorders are caused by specific abnormalities of
brain and nervous system, shud be approached in same way as physical illnesses. Bio
factors known at least to contribute to deve of some mental disorders including
schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and drugs are usually used, also genetics play a
3.The Cognitive-behavioural perspective
-Disorders are learned maladaptive behaviors best understood by focus on environ
factors and person’s perception of them. Caused by person’s interaction w/ environ.