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Chapter 16

Psychology 1000 Chapter Notes - Chapter 16: Hypertension, Autonomic Nervous System, Genetic Predisposition

Course Code
PSYCH 1000

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Chapter 16 Psychological Disorders
Abnormal harmfulness, suffering and impairment
- 3 criteria: one or more apply to any behaviour regarded as abnormal
1) Distress behaviours abnormal is intensely distressing
2) Dysfunction PERSON or SOCIETY
a. Behaviours interfere experiencing satisfying relationships… seen as maladaptive,
self-defeating…unable to control such behaviours
b. Interfere with well-being of society
3) Devianceconduct regulated by norms, likely to be viewed as psychologically disturbed
when violating unstated norms….ones that make other people uncomfortable
- Abnormal behaviour: personally distressing, dysfunctional, culturally deviant behaviour judged
- Hippocrates believe site of mental illness was brain
o first demonstrated that psychological disorder caused by underlying physical malady
- vulnerability-stress model: has some degree of vulnerability (low-high) for developing
psychological disorder, given sufficient stress
o vulnerability/predisposition have biological basis, such as genotype, over/under activity
of neurotransmitter system in brain, hair trigger autonomic nervous system, hormonal
o personality factor
- predisposition creates disorder only when stressor combines with vulnerability to trigger
o Person with genetic predisposition to depression/suffered traumatic loss of parent early
may be primed to develop depressive disorder IF faced with stress later in life.
Diagnosing Psychological Disorders
- Reliability: system should show high levels of agreement in diagnostic decisions min.
subjective judgement
- Validity: diagnostic categories accurately capture essential features of various disorders
- DSM-IV-TR, most used diagnostic classification system in NA
o Detailed lists of observable behaviours that must be present in order for a diagnosis to
be made
o Has 5 dimensions/axes:
1) Axis 1 PRIMARY DIAGNOSIS (1) /primary clinical symptoms
2) Axis 2 long-standing PERSONALITY (2) /developmental disorders…inflexible aspects of
3) Axis 3 PHYSICAL CONDITIONS (3) that might be relevant ex. High blood pressure
4) Axis 4 intensity of environmental STRESSORS (4)

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5) Axis 5 person’s coping RESOURCES (5)
- Categorical system…criteria too specific; ½ don’t fit into categories
o Same diagnosis share only certain symptoms but look different from one another
o Does not capture severity of person’s disorder
o Cannot capture adaptively important symptoms
- Dimensional system (alternative) behaviours rated along severity measure
o Based on assumption psychological disorders are extensions different in degree from
normal personality functioning
- Similarities that exist between current diagnostic categories reflect variations in the same
underlying factors ex. Behavioural inhibition system
- DSM-V will better represent uniqueness of each individual and avoid ‘one-size-fits-all
- DSM-V helps to link normal and abnormal personality functioning
- However…diagnostic label is attached to person…too easy to accept label as description of
individual rather than the behaviour
o Difficult to LOOK AT BEHAVIOUR OBJECTIVELY & INDEPENDENTLY…label affects how we
Ex. Next-door neighbour diagnosed as ‘sexual psychopath’…treat differently
- If committed to mental institution lose some civil rights, may be detained indefinitely if
behaviour does not improve
- Law takes into account of mental status of people accused of crimes
o Competency: defendant’s state of mind at time of judicial hearing; ‘not competent to
stand trial’…institutionalized until ready
o Insanity: presumed state of mind of the defendant at time crime was committed; ‘not
guilty by reason of insanity’
Controversial issue
Insanity is legal term not psychological
Adopted verdict ‘guilty but mentally ill’ sentenced to crime but hospitalized
for treatment instead...if recovered finishes sentence in jail
- Medical students’ disease they see symptoms/ characteristics of disorders in
themselves…does not mean you have disorder
Mood (Affective) Disorders
- Mood Disorders: (EMOTION-BASED) depression and mania (excessive excitement)
o Most frequently experienced psychological disorders (along with anxiety disorders)
Have high comorbidity (co-occurrence) w/ anxiety disorder
- Clinical depression depressive symptoms OUT OF PROPORTION TO SITUATION
o Minor setback = intense MAJOR DEPRESSION unable to function effectively in life
- Dysthymia: less intense depression
o Chronic and long-lasting misery
o Intervals with normal moods that never last for more than few weeks/months

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- Negative mood state core feature of depression
o Anxiety disorder retain capacity to experience pleasure
o Depression LOSE CAPACITY to experience pleasure (even biological ex. Sex)
- COGNITIVE SYMPTOMS central part of depression
o Difficulty concentrating/making decisions
o View themselves as inadequate etc. always blame themselves
o Expect failure
o View future with pessimism (DOWNER)
- Motivational symptoms inability to get started and perform behaviours that might produce
pleasure/accomplishment (NOT MOTIVATED)
o Seems too much effort
o Movements slow…talk slow
- Somatic (Bodily) Symptoms loss of appetite/weight loss/sleep disturbances (Insomnia)
o Lead to fatigue/weakness SLUGGISH)
o Weight gain sometimes (mild depression eat compulsively)
- Unipolar depression experiences only depression
- Bipolar depression: depression (dominant) + mania
- Mania: state of highly excited mood/behaviour; OPPOSITE of depression
o Mood euphoric and cognitions grandiose
o Behaviour is hyperactive
o People become irritable/aggressive when momentary goals are frustrated in any way
o Rapid speech
o Greatly lessened need for speech
- No age group exempt from depression
- Rate of depressive symptoms same among children and adults
- People born after 1960 10x more likely to experience depression
- Maj. Sex diff. in culture women 2x likely UNIPOLAR depression
o Women depression in 20’s
o Men depression in 40’s
o Biochemical differences/nervous system/monthly menstrual depression women
experience ^ vulnerability to depressive disorders
o Cultural causes traditional sex role expectation (women to be passive and dependent
in face of stress; focus on feelings) / men distract themselves more with physical
- Depression usually dissipates w/ time (lasts 5-10 months if untreated)
- 3 patterns after depressive episode:
1) Never recur (50%)
2) Recovery WITH recurrence (remain symptom-free for several years>experience another
episode) time interval b/w episodes become shorter over the years (40%)
3) Don’t recover; remain chronically depressed (10%)
- manic more likely to recur (less common though)
- biological factors
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