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Chapter 16

Psychology 1000 Chapter Notes - Chapter 16: Neurotransmitter, Paresis, Trepanning

Course Code
PSYCH 1000

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Psychological Disorders
Psychological Disorders
What is abnormal?
Abnormal Behaviour Behaviour that is personally distressing, personally dysfunctional, and/or
culturally deviant that other people judge it to be inappropriate or maladaptive
Distressing People can be viewed as distressing if they are excessively anxious, depressed,
dissatisfied, or otherwise seriously upset about themselves or a life circumstance especially if they
have no control over it. Some very disturbed mental patients have little distress and are still
Dysfunctional Behaviours that interfere with a person’s ability to work or to experience satisfying
relationships with other people are likely to be maladaptive and self-defeating especially if they are
unable to control the behaviours
Deviance Violation of unstated norms, especially if the violations make others uncomfortable and
cannot be attributed to environmental causes
Historical Perspectives on Deviant Behaviour
There was a belief that supernatural forces caused abnormal behaviours
Trephination - A 2 cm hole in diameter was chiselled into the skull to release evil spirits, usually
ended up killing the person
In medieval Europe, the demonological model of abnormality held that disturbed people were
possessed involuntarily by the devil or had voluntarily made a pact with the forced of darkness
Killing witches was justified on theological grounds
If you sink you are not a witch, if you float you are a witch
General Paresis A disorder characterized in its advanced stages by mental deterioration and
bizarre behaviour, resulted from massive brain deterioration caused by syphilis
Vulnerability-Stress Model Each of us has some degree of vulnerability (ranging from very high to
low) for developing a psychological disorder, given sufficient stress
The vulnerability can have a biological basis, such as genotype, over or under activity of a
neurotransmitter system in the brain, a hair trigger automatic nervous system, or a hormonal factor
Could also be due to personality factors like, low self-esteem, extreme pessimism, or a severe
trauma or loss earlier in life
Could also be due to cultural factors
Predisposition only creates a disorder when a stressor combines with the vulnerability to trigger the
Diagnosing Psychological Disorders
Reliability Clinicians using the system should show high levels of agreement in their diagnostic
Validity The diagnostic categories should accurately capture the essential features of the various
disorders; the diagnostic categories should allow us to differentiate one psychological disorder from
DSM-5 most widely used diagnostic classification system in North America
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Dsm-5: Integrating Categorical and Dimensional Approaches
DSM-IV-TR was a categorical system where people were placed into specific categories
The specific categories had improved reliability but were so specific that as many as 50% didn’t fit
neatly into categories
People who share the same diagnosis may only share certain symptoms and look different from one
Does not provide a way of capturing the severity of symptoms, not can it capture symptoms that are
adaptively important but not severe enough to meet the behavioural criteria for the disorder
Dimensional system - Relevant behaviours are rated along a severity measure
Based on the assumption that psychological disorders are extensions different in degree, rather than
kind from personality functioning
DSM-5 contains diagnostic categories, dimension scales are used to rate the presence and severity
of specific symptoms and personality characteristics
Helps to link normal and abnormal personality functioning
Better reflects the person’s individuality, allowing clinicians to develop an effective treatment
Social and Personal Implications
Once a label is attached to a person, it becomes too easy to accept that the label is an accurate
description of the person rather than the behaviour
Will likely effect how you interact with the person
Legal Consequences
Individuals judged to be dangerous to themselves or others may be involuntarily committed to
mental institutions under certain circumstances
Competency A defendant’s state o mind at the time of a judicial hearing. A defendant too
disturbed to understand the nature of the legal proceedings may be labelled as not competent to
stand trial and institutionalized until judged competent
Insanity The presumed state of mind of the defendant the at the time the crime was committed,
defendant’s may be declared not guilty by reason of insanity if they are judged to have been so
severely impaired during the commission of ac rime that they lacked the capacity to either
appreciate the wrongfulness of their acts or control their conduct
Insanity is only a legal term, not a psychological one
Guilty but mentally ill is now a sentence, that is served in a mental hospital for treatment
Defendants who have recovered before serving their time are sent to prison
Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety Disorders The frequency and intensity of anxiety responses are out of proportion to the
situations that trigger hem, and the anxiety interferes with daily life
Anxiety responses have four components
Subjective-Emotional Feelings of tensions and apprehension
Cognitive Subjective feelings of apprehension, a sense of impeding danger, and a feeling of
inability to cope
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