PSYB32H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Health Professional, Biology Of Depression, Transvestism

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Published on 8 Oct 2012
Chapter 1 – Introduction: Definitional and Historical Considerations, and Canada’s Mental Health
psychopathology – the field concerned with the nature and development of abnormal behavior, thoughts,
and feelings, or mental disorders
- when studying abnormal psychology you need to remain objective
What is Abnormal Behavior
abnormal behavior patterns of emotion, thought, and action deemed pathological for one or more of the
following reasons: infrequent occurrence, violation of norms, personal distress, disability or dysfunction, and
- our best definition of abnormal behavior includes such characteristics as statistical infrequency, violation of
norms, personal distress, disability or dysfunction, and unexpectedness
Statistical Infrequency
- one aspect of abnormal behavior is that it is infrequent
normal curve – as applied in psychology, the bell-shaped distribution of a measurable trait depicting most
people in the middle and few at the extremes
- an assertion that a person is normal implies that he/she does not deviate much from the average in a
particular trait or behavior pattern
- statistical infrequency is used explicitly in diagnosing mental retardation
- only certain infrequent behaviors, such as experiencing hallucinations or deep depressions, fall into the
domain of abnormal psychology
Violation of Norms
- we must consider whether the behavior violates social norms or threatens or makes anxious those
observing it
- the anti-social behavior of the psychopath fits the definition, as do the obsessive-compulsive person’s
complex rituals and the psychotic patient’s conversation with imaginary voices
- violation of norms explicitly makes abnormality a relative concept; various forms of unusual behavior can
be tolerated, depending on the prevailing cultural norms
- criminals and prostitutes, for example, violate social norms but are not usually studied within the domain of
abnormal psychology, and the highly anxious person, who is generally regarded as a central character in
the field of abnormal psychology, typically does not violate social norms and would not be bothersome to
many lay observes
- also, cultural diversity can affect how people view social norms; what is the norm in one culture may be
abnormal in another
Personal Distress
- another characteristic is personal suffering, that is, behavior is abnormal if it creates great distress and
torment in the person experiencing it
- people experiencing anxiety disorders and depression truly suffer greatly, but some disorders do not
necessarily involve distress
- the psychopath, for example, treats others cold-heartedly and many continually violate the law without
experiencing any guilt, remorse, or anxiety whatsoever
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- and not al forms of distress – hunger or the pain of childbirth – belong to the field
Disability or Dysfunction
- disability – that is, impairment in some important area of life (eg: work or personal relationships) because
of an abnormality – can also be a component of abnormal behavior
- substance-use disorders are also defined in part by the social or occupational disability (eg: poor work
performance, serious arguments with one’s spouse) created by substance abuse
- a phobia can produce both distress and disability; for example, a severe fear of flying may prevent
someone from taking a job promotion
- disability applies to some, but not all disorders; transvestism (cross-dressing for sexual pleasure), for
example, which is currently diagnosed as a mental disorder if it distresses the person, is not necessarily a
- distress and disability are considered abnormal when they are unexpected responses to environmental
- for example, an anxiety disorder is diagnosed when the anxiety is unexpected and out of proportion to the
situation, as when a person who is well off worries constantly about his/her financial situation
- hunger, on the other hand, is an expected response to not eating and thus would be excluded as a state of
distress that is relevant to abnormal behavior
Focus on Discovery 1.1 – The Mental Health Professions
- about 3,600 practicing psychiatrists, about 13,000 psychologists and psychological associates, and about
11,000 nurses specialize in the mental health area in Canada
clinicians – a health professional authorized to provide services to people suffering from one or more
clinical psychologist – an individual who has earned a Ph.D degree in psychology or an Psy.D and whose
training has included an internship in a mental hospital or clinic
diagnosis – the determination that a patient’s set of symptoms or problems indicate a particular disorder
psychotherapy a primarily verbal means of helping troubled individuals change their thoughts, feelings,
and behavior to reduce distress and to achieve greater life satisfaction
psychiatrist – a physician (M.D.) who has taken specialized postdoctoral training, called a residency, in the
diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders
- most often, the primary aspect of medical practice in which psychiatrists engage is prescribing
psychoactive drugs
psychoactive drugs – chemical compounds having a psychological effect that alters mood or thought
process; eg: valium
psychoanalyst a therapist who has taken specialized postdoctoral training in psychoanalysis after
earning an M.D. or a Ph.D. degree
social worker – a mental health professional who holds a master of social work (M.S.W.) degree
counseling psychologists – a doctoral-level mental health professional whose training is similar to that of
a clinical psychologist, though usually with less emphasis on research and serious psychopathology
psychiatric nurse – a nurse who has obtained additional training in the mental health field
History of Psychopathology
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- before the age of scientific inquiry, all good and bad manifestations of power beyond the control of
humankind were regarded as supernatural
- many early philosophers, theologians, and physicians who studied the troubled mind believed that
deviancy reflected the displeasure of the gods or possession by demons
Early Demonology
- the doctrine that an evil being, such as the devil, may dwell within a person and control his/her mind and
body is called demonology
demonology – the doctrine that a person’s abnormal behavior is caused by an autonomous evil spirit
- following from the belief that abnormal behavior was caused by possession, its treatment often involved
exorcism – the casting out of evil spirits by ritualistic chanting or torture
- exorcism typically took the form of elaborate rites of prayer, noisemaking, forcing the afflicted to drink
terrible-tasting brews, and on occasion more extreme measures, such as flogging (beating) and starvation,
to render the body uninhabitable to devils
trepanning – the act of making a surgical opening in a living skull; this act was sometimes performed
because of the belief that it would allow evil spirits to leave the body
- one popular theory is that it was a way of treating conditions such as epilepsy, headaches, and
psychological disorders attributed to demons within the cranium
- it was presumed that the individual would return to a normal state by creating an opening through which
evil spirits could escape
- the openings were located in the same area in all 3 specimens, the upper central occipital; the operations
were performed using the same techniques and instruments; and in 2 cases the person survived long
enough for healing to occur
- 5th century B.C. Hippocrates often regarded as the father of medicine, separated medicine from religion,
magic, and superstition
- he rejected the prevailing Greek belief that the gods sent serious physical diseases and mental
disturbances as punishment and insisted instead that such illnesses had natural causes and hence should
be treated like other, more common maladies, such as colds and constipation
- Hippocrates regarded the brain as the organ of consciousness, of intellectual life and emotion; thus, he
thought that deviant thinking and behavior were indications of some kind of brain pathology
- Hippocrates is often considered one of the very earliest proponents (supporters) of somaogenesis
somatogenesis – development from bodily origins, as distinguished from psychological origins; contrast
with psychogenesis
- I.O.W. the notion that something wrong with the soma, or physical body, disturbs thought
and action
psychogenesis – development from psychological origins, as distinguished from somatic origins; contrast
with somatogensis
- Hippocrates classified mental disorders into 3 categories: mania, melancholia, and phrenitis (or brain
- because Hippocrates believed in natural rather than supernatural causes, he depended on his own keen
observations and made a valuable contribution as a clinician
- he also left behind remarkably detailed records describing many of the symptoms now recognized in
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