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Chapter 1

Abnormal Psychology Chapter 1 Notes.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Konstantine Zakzanis

Chapter 1: Introduction:  Psychopathology – the field concerned with the nature and development of abnormal behaviour, thoughts and feelings What is abnormal behaviour?  Best definition includes statistical infrequency, violation of norms, personal distress, disability or dysfunction and unexpectedness 1) Statistical infrequency:  Abnormal behaviour is infrequent in the general population  Normal curve/bell curve – places the majority of people in the middle o a normal person does not deviate from the curve o IQ below 70 is subnormal to be designated as mental retardation 2) Violation of Norms:  Whether the behaviour violates social norms or threatens/makes anxious those observing it 3) Personal Distress:  Personal suffering – behaviour is abnormal if it causes great distress and torment in the person experiencing it  Ex. Psychopath feels pleasure through their abnormal behaviour (violation) 4) Disability or Dysfunction:  Disability – impairment in some important area of life (ex. Work/personal) because of an abnormality  Ex. Transvestites are a violation to this “rule” 5) Unexpectedness:  Distress/disability are considered abnormal when they are unexpected to environmental stressors  None of these definitions on their own describe abnormal behaviour  Psychological services are more available in urban areas than in rural areas History of Psychopathology:  First believes that abnormal behavior was caused through the displeasure of the gods or possessed by demons 1) Early Demonology: (evil outside forces)  An evil being/demon might dwell within a person and control his/her mind or body  Bad spirits from God caused abnormal behaviour o treatment: exorcism – the casting out of evil spirits by ritualistic chanting or torture  trepanning – making of surgical incisions in the living skull o used to treat a variety of disorders caused by demons that inhabit within the cranium o create an opening by incision through which demons could escape 2) Somatogenesis: (bodily causes)  5 Century Hippocrates separated medicine from religion, magic and superstition  Rejected that Gods sent people diseases  Suggested illnesses had natural causes  He regarded the brain as the organ for consciousness, intellectual life and emotion  He believed deviant behaviours caused by a kind of brain pathology  Somatogenesis - notion that something wrong with the soma, or physical body disturbs thought and action  Psychogenesis– the belief that a disturbance has psychological origins  He classified mental disorders into 3 categories: mania, melancholia and phrenitis (brain fever) o For melancholia he prescribed tranquility, sobriety, care in choosing food and drink, abstinence from sexual activity  He thought normal brain function was based on balance among 4 humors/fluids: blood - temperament, black bile – melancholia, yellow bile – irritability/anxiousness and phlegm – sluggish o An imbalance produced disorders The Dark Ages and Demonology:  Death of Galen marked the beginning of the Dark Ages for Western European medicine  Christian monasteries replaced physicians with healers o Monks began to care for the mentally ill – they prayed for them, or touched them with relics/made them drink holy water The Persecution of Witches: th  13 Century people became obsessed with the devil  Witchcraft was instigated by Satan, was seen as a denial of God  Created a manual and the witch hunt started  Burning was the method to drive out the supposed demon Witchcraft and Mental Illness:  The mentally ill were considered witches  13 Century mentally ill people were placed in hospitals o Lunancy trials to determine an individual’s sanity were held in England o Defendant’s orientation, memory, intellect, daily life and habits were at issue in the trial o Strange behaviour was linked to physical illness or injury or some emotional shock Development of Asylums:  Used to have leprosy hospitals that were converted in asylums  Many asylums took in disturbed people and beggars  Asylums had no cure for their inmates, just got them to work  During the same period hospitals for confining the mentally ill also emerged Bethlehem and Other Early Asylums:  Bedlam – a hospital for the mentally ill in Bethlehem, London o it became a tourist attractions in London  medical treatments were crude and painful  Benjamin Rush believed that mental disorder was caused by an excess of blood in the brain o His treatment was to draw large quantities of blood o He also believed lunatics could be cured by frightening them o Placed in coffin with holes, submerged in water, then lifted coffin out of water (treatment) Moral Treatment:  Philippe Pinel was in charge of a large asylum in Paris, he removed the chains off of people o He treated patients as sick people rather than as beasts o Many patients improved by this o Light and airy rooms replaced dungeons and some were even discharged o This treatment was only given to higher class people (not lower class)  William Tuke brought this approach to England  Then it was brought to the USA to be known as moral treatment – patients in close contact with attendants who talked and read to them and encouraged them to engage in activity and live a normal life  Drugs were the primary treatment – alcohol, cannabis, opium and chloral hydrate (knockout drops)  The moral treatment approach was not as favourable, money was an issue Asylums in Canada:  Sussman argues that there was little exchange of ideas between provinces for treatment  Alberta was the last province to open as asylum  Dorothea Dix fought for the construction of a public mental hospital in 1850  Overcrowding problem which increased deaths  1853 the Private Lunatics Asylums Act was passed to accommodate the wealthy in alternatives to the public asylums  1883 a private independent asylum for the wealthy was established – they received moral treatment  Places for the mentally ill separate from the physically ill  Asylums will hopefully all be shut down and it will be a job to integrate mentally ill patients back into society (CAMH) An Early System of Classification:  William Griesinger – insisted a biological cause to a mental d
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