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Chapter 16

Psychology 1000 Chapter Notes - Chapter 16: Neuroticism, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Handedness

Course Code
PSYCH 1000

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Chapter 16: Psychological Disorders
Scope & Nature of Psychological Disorders
26% of population suffers from diagnosable mental disorders
Psychological disorders are 2nd leading cause of disability, exceeding physical illnesses and accidents
Medications used to treat anxiety & depression are among most frequently prescribed drugs
What Is Abnormal
Defining normal & abnormal not easy & depends on
o The personal values of a given diagnostician
Too arbitrary
o The expectations of the culture in which a person currently lives
Differs based on culture & time (ex. homosexuality was considered mental disease)
o The expectations of the person's culture of origin
Differs based on culture & time (ex. homosexuality was considered mental disease)
o General assumptions about human nature
Differs based on culture & time (ex. homosexuality was considered mental disease)
o Statistical deviation from the norm
Highly intelligent people would be seen as abnormal
o Harmfulness, suffering, and impairment (distress, dysfunction & deviance)
Seem to govern decisions about abnormality
Labeling Behaviours as Abnormal
o If intensely distressing
Excessively anxious, depressed, dissatisfied or seriously upset at life long-lasting
o If dysfunctional
Interfere with person’s ability to work or to experience satisfying relationships
Interfere with society Ex. suicide bomber
o If deviant
Conduct within every society is regulated by norms
Violation of norms defines criminal behaviour abnormal
Abnormal Behaviour
o Personally distressing, personally or societally dysfunction and/or culturally deviant that other
people judge it to be inappropriate or maladaptive
Major Diagnostic Categories
o Anxiety disorders
Intense, frequent, or inappropriate anxiety
No loss of reality contact
Includes phobias, generalized anxiety reactions, panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive
disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorders
o Mood (affective) disorders
Disturbances of mood, including depression and mania (extreme elation and excitement)
o Somatoform disorders
Physical symptoms, such as blindness, paralysis, or pain, that have no physical basis
and are assumed to be caused by psychological factors
Excessive preoccupations and worry about health (hypochondriasis)
o Dissociative disorders
Problems of consciousness and self-identification, including amnesia and multiple
personalities (dissociative identity disorder)
o Schizophrenic and other psychotic disorders
Severe disorders of thinking, perception, and emotion that involve loss of contact with
reality and disordered behaviour
o Substance-abuse disorders

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Personal & social problems associated with use of psychoactive substances, such as
alcohol, heroin, or other drugs
o Sexual and gender identity disorders
Inability to function sexually or enjoy sexuality (sexual dysfunctions)
Deviant sexual behaviours, such as child molestation and arousal by inappropriate
objects (fetishes)
Strong discomfort with one's gender accompanied by desire to be a member of other sex
o Eating disorders
Include anorexia nervosa (self-starvation) & bulimia nervosa (bingeing and purging)
o Personality disorders
Rigid, stable, and maladaptive personality patterns, such as antisocial, dependent,
paranoid, and narcissistic disorders
Historical Perspectives on Deviant Behaviour
Stories in the Bible, Mozart (paranoia), Abraham Lincoln & Winston Churchill (depression), Cameron
Diaz (obsessed with germs)
Human societies explained and respond to abnormal behaviour in different ways based on values and
assumptions about life at that time
Abnormal as Supernatural
o Reflected evil spirit’s attempt to escape from individual bodies
o Trephination
To release spirit
Sharp tool was used to chisel a hole about 2 cm in diameter in the skill
o Medieval Europe
Demonological model
Disturbed people either were possessed involuntarily by devil or made pact with the devil
Ex. Killing of witches
Bind a woman’s hand and feet and throw her into a lake or pond
Diagnostic test: woman that sank & drowned could be declared pure
o Suggested that metal illnesses were diseases like physical disorders
o Site of mental illness was the brain biological basis
o General Paresis
Disorder characterized by mental deterioration and bizarre behaviour, resulted from
massive brain deterioration caused by the sexually transmitted disease syphilis
Sigmund Freud
o Theory of psychoanalysis disordered behaviour
o Joined by other models based on behavioural, cognitive, and humanistic concepts
o Focus on different classes of causal factors
o Help to capture complex determinants of abnormal behaviour (especially culture)
Vulnerability-Stress Model (Diathesis-Stress Model)
o Every individual has some degree of vulnerability (range: very low to very high) for developing
psychological disorders, given sufficient stress
o Vulnerability (Predisposition)
Can have biological basis
Genes, neurotransmitter, hair-trigger autonomic nervous system or hormones
Could be due to personality factors
Self-esteem, pessimism
Could be influenced by environmental factors
Severe trauma or loss
Cultural factors play a role
o Stressor
Recent or current even that requires individuals to cope

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Diagnosing Psychological Disorders
o Means that clinicians using the system should show high levels of agreement in their diagnostic
o Professionals with different types of training
o Psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and general physiciansmake diagnostic decisions
o Means that diagnostic categories should accurately capture the essential features of the various
o Research show that a given disorder has four behavioural characteristics diagnostic category
for that disorder should also have those four features
o Most widely used diagnostic classification system in North America
o Has 350 diagnostic categories contains detailed lists of observable behaviours that must be
present in order for a diagnosis to be made
o Allows diagnostic information to be represented along five dimensions take both person and
life situation into account
o Axis I
Primary diagnosis
Represents the person's primary clinical
o Axis II
Reflects long-standing personality or
developmental disorders
Ex. Ingrained, inflexible aspects of
personality, that could influence the person's
behaviour and response to treatment
o Axis III
Notes any physical conditions that might be
relevant, such as high blood pressure
o Axis IV
Rates the intensity of environmental stressors in the person's recent life
o Axis V
Person's coping resources as reflected in recent adaptive functioning
DSM-V: Integrating Categorical & Dimensional Approaches
Current classification system is a categorical system
o People are placed within specific diagnostic categories
o Criteria are so detailed and specific that many people don't fit neatly into categories
o People who receive same diagnosis may share only few symptoms & look very different
o Does not provide a way of capturing severity of the person's disorder
o Cannot capture symptoms that are adaptively important but not severe enough to meet
behavioural criteria for the disorder
Alternative System: Dimensional System
o Relevant
are rated
along a
o Based on
that disorders
are different in
degree, rather
than kind
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