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Chapter 1

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Konstantine Zakzanis

Abnormal Psychology ; Chapter 1 - Introduction: Definitional & Historical Considerations & Canada's Mental Health System  psychopathology , the field concerned with the nature and development of abnormal behaviour, thoughts and feelings, we do well to keep in mind What is Abnormal Behaviour?  abnormality is usually determined by the presence of several characteristics at one time  abnormal behaviour - includes such characteristics as statistical infrequency, violation of norms, personal distress, disability or dysfunction, and unexpectedness Statistical Infrequency  one aspect of abnormal behaviour is that it is infrequent in the general population  the normal curve or bell shaped curve, places the majority of people in the middle as far as any particular characteristic is concerned  an assertion that a person is normal implies that he/she does not deviate much from the average in a particular trait or behavioural pattern  statistical infrequency is used explicitly in diagnosing mental retardation  one of the criteria to diagnose mental retardation is low intelligence  when an individual's IQ is below 70, his/her intellectual functioning is considered sufficiently subnormal to be designated as mental retardation Violation of Norms  another characteristic is whether the behaviour violates social norms or threatens or makes anxious those observing it ---this is only partially true  various forms of unusual behaviour can be tolerated, depending on the prevailing cultural norms  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 - behaviour is abnormal if it creates great distress and torment in the person experiencing it  some disorders do not involve distress - ex. psychopath treats people cold-heartedly and violates laws without feeling any guilt, remorse or anxiety Disability or Dysfunction  disability - impairment in some important area of life (ex. work) because of an abnormality  substance-use disorders are also defined in part of the social or occupational disability (ex. poor work performance) created by substance abuse & addiction  a phobia can produce both distress and disability  disability applies to some but not all disorders  transvestism (cross-dressing for sexual pleasure) is currently diagnosed as a mental disorder if it distresses the person, other than that it is not necessarily a disability 1 Abnormal Psychology ; Chapter 1 - Introduction: Definitional & Historical Considerations & Canada's Mental Health System Unexpectedness  distress and disability are considered abnormal when they are unexpected responses to environmental stressors History of Psychopathology  before the age of scientific inquiry, all good and bad manifestations of power beyond the control of humankind -- eclipses, earthquakes, storms, fires and serious diseases, the passing of the seasons -- 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  the treatment of demonology was often involving 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, flogging and starvation to render the body uninhabitable to devils  trepanning of skulls (the making of a surgical opening in a living skull by some instrument)  a popular theory - 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 Somatogenesis  Hippocrates (5th century) was regarded as the father of modern medicine, separated medicine from religion, magic and superstition  he regarded the brain as the organ of consciousness, of intellectual life and emotion; he thought that deviant thinking and behaviour were indications of some kind of brain pathology  somatogenesis - the notion that something wrong with the soma, or physical body, disturbs thought and action  psychogenesis - the belief that a disturbance has psychological origins  Hippocrates classified mental disorders into 3 categories: mania, melancholia and phrenitis (or brain fever)  treatments for melancholia he prescribed tranquility, sobriety, care in choosing food/drink  Hippocrates's conceived of normal brain functioning, and therefore of mental health, as dependent on a delicate balance among four fluids of the body; blood, black bile, yellow bile and phlegm - an imbalance produced disorders ---this did not withstand later scientific scrutiny 2 Abnormal Psychology ; Chapter 1 - Introduction: Definitional & Historical Considerations & Canada's Mental Health System The Dark Ages & Demonology  historians believed that the death of Galen, second century Greek who is regarded as the last major physician of the classical era, marked the beginning of the Dark Age for Western European medicine The persecution of Witches  13th century demonology returned to explain disasters that occurred  those accused of witchcraft were to be tortured if they did not confess; those convicted and penitent (sorry, regretful) were imprisoned for life; and those convicted and unrepentant (not sorry, unashamed) were to be handed over to the law for execution  burning was the usual method of driving out the supposed demon Witchcraft & Mental Illness  interpretation in the Middle Ages was that the mentally ill were considered witches  some of the so called witches were psychotic for having hallucinations and delusions of having intercourse with the devil and going to their secret meetings  many of the accused were not mentally ill - the delusion like confessions were typically obtained during brutal torture; words were put on the tongues of the tortured  14th century municipal authorities took over to take care of the ill - they made hospitals and the purpose of the hospitals among them "mad are kept safe until they are restored of reason" Development of Asylums  aylums - refuges established for the confinement and care of the mentally ill  they took in a mixed of ill people and beggars - beggars were considered a social problem Bethlehem and Other Early Asylums  bedlam - a contraction and popular name for the hospital, become a descriptive term for a place or scene of wild uproar and confusion  late 19th century, viewing violent patients and their actions was considered entertainment  Benjamin Rush was considered the father of psychiatry - he believed that mental disorder was caused by an excess blood in the brain - his favoured treatment was to draw great quantity of blood Moral Treatment  Philippe Pinel believed that the patients in his care were essentially normal people who should be approached with compassion and understanding and treated with dignity  moral treatment - patients had close contact with the attendants, who talked and read to them and encouraged them to engage in purposeful activity  drugs were also frequently used in mental hospitals - drugs were the most common treatment and included alcohol, cannabis, opium, and knockout drops - the outcomes were not very favourable; fewer than one third of the patients were discharged as improved or recovered  in the 19th century, Dorothea Dix was a tireless social reformer who lobbied for improvement of the deplorable treatment of mentally ill people 3 Abnormal Psychology ; Chapter 1 - Introduction: Definitional & Historical Considerations & Canada's Mental Health System Asylums in Canada  the history of the development of institutions for the mentally disordered in Canada can be characterized in terms of two distinctive trends: (1) with the advent of the asylums, provisions for the mentally ill were separate from provisions for the physically ill, indigents and criminals and (2) the process was segregated from the wider community - "the institution and the community were two separate and distinct solitudes" The Beginning of Contemporary Thought An Early System of Classification  Wilhelm Griesinger insisted that any diagnosis of mental disorder specify a biological cause  Kraepelin discerned among mental disorders a tendency for a certain group of symptoms called a syndrome , to appear together regularly enough to be regarded as having an underlying physical cause  he regarded each mental illness as distinct from all others, having its own genesis, symptoms, course and outcome  he proposed two major groups of severe mental diseases: dementia praecox (early term for schizophrenia) and manic depressive psychosis (now called bipolar disorder)  he postulated a chemical imbalance as the cause of schizophrenia and an irregularity in metabolism as the explanation for manic depressive psychosis General Paresis and Syphilis  mid-1800's - degenerative changes in the brain cells associated with senile and presenile psychoses and some structural pathologies that accompany mental retardation were identified  the medical success was the discovery of the full nature and origin syphilis, a venereal disease that had been recognized for several centuries  the deterioration in mental and physical health was designated a disease - general paresis  Louis Pasteur established the germ theory of disease - the view that disease is caused by infection of the body by minute organisms Psychogenesis Mesmer and Charcot  Mesmer believed that hysterical disorders were caused by a particular distribution of a universal magnetic fluid in the body - he felt that one person could influence the fluid of
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