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Chapter 14

Psychology 2035A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 14: Thomas Szasz, Etiology, Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder

Course Code
Doug Hazlewood

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Chapter 14: Psychological Disorders
The medical model proposes that it is useful to think of abnormal behaviour as a disease
-vocal critic Thomas Szasz - abnormal behaviour usually involves a deviation from social
norms rather than an illness, such deviations are “problems in living” rather then medical
Diagnosis involves distinguishing one illness from another
Etiology refers to the apparent causation and developmental history of an illness
A prognosis is a forecast about the probable course of an illness
Classification of Disorders
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV)
one major issue was whether to reduce the system’s commitment to a categorial approach
there is enormous overlap among various disorders in symptoms, making boundaries
between diagnoses much fuzzier
suggestion of critics; to move from categorial approach to a dimensional approach to
diagnosis - which would describe disorders in terms of how people score on a limited
number of continuous dimensions
comorbidity - the coexistence of two or more disorders
epidemiology - the study of the distraction of mental or physical disorders in a population
prevalence refers to the percentage of a population that exhibits a disorder during a specified
time period
about 44% of the adult population will struggle with some sort of psychological disorder at
some point in their lives
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Anxiety disorders are a class of disorders marked by feelings of excessive apprehension and
generalized anxiety disorder is marked by a chronic high level of anxiety that is not tied to
any specific threat
is seem more frequently in females
has a lifetime prevalence of about 5%
people with this disorder worry constantly about yesterday’s mistakes and tomorrow’s
problems, they worry excessively about minor matters related to family, finances, work,
and personal illness
usually accompanied by physical symptoms: dizziness, diarrhea, faintness, sweating heart
A phobic disorder is marked by a persistent and irrational fear of an object or situation that
presents no realistic danger
ie. claustrophobia (fear of small, enclosed spaces), brontophobia (fear of storms),
hydrophobia (fear of water)
A panic disorder is characterized by recurrent attacks of overwhelming anxiety that usually
occur suddenly and unexpectedly
Agoraphobia is a fear of going out to public places
obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is marked by a persistent, uncontrollable intrusions
of unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and urges to engage in senseless rituals (compulsions)
ie. constant hand washing, repetitive cleaning of things that are already clean, counting,
and hoarding of things
Biological Factors
weak to moderate genetic predisposition to anxiety disorders
about 15%-20% of infants display an inhibited temperament, shyness, timidity, and wariness;
which appears to have a strong genetic basis
neurotransmitters are chemicals that carry signals from one neutron to another
Conditioning and Learning
may be acquired through classical conditioning and maintained through operant conditioning
Seligman believes that classical conditioning creates most phobic responses
evolved module for fear learning - people are biologically prepared by their evolutionary
history to acquire some fears much more easily than others
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