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Chapter 6

PS280 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Iatrogenesis, Derealization, Child Abuse


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Kathy Foxall

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PS280 Chapter 6
Dissociative and Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders
Anxiety is seen as underlying feature of dissociative and somatoform disorders
Both are characterized by physical symptoms and/or behaviours that are thought
to be cause by the way people think or their ideas
Historical Perspective
Were once viewed as expressions of hysteria
Plato believed a wandering womb caused symptoms of hysteria
Rise of Christianity saw organic theories of hysteria replaced with supernatural
o Dissociation seen as result of demonic possession, exorcism was favoured
Decline in acceptance of possession allowed more psychologically based theories
to develop
Components of hysteria examined as separate processes
Pierre Janet first to systematically study concept of dissociation viewed as
pathological breakdown in normal integration of mental processes occurring as
result of exposure to traumatic experiences
Freud and Breuer identified severe psychological trauma as important in the
etiology of dissociation
Freud believed that dissociation developed in order to protect form unacceptable
sexual impulses, not from real traumatic memories
Dissociative Disorders
Severe maladaptive disruptions or alterations of identity, memory, and
consciousness experienced as being beyond one’s control
Defining symptom is Dissociation lack of normal integration of thoughts,
feelings, and experiences in consciousness and memory
Simple aspects of daily living are bizarrely disturbed a coherent sense of self
does not always exist
Dissociative tendency is related to other personality treats such as hypnotizability
Disturbances may be sudden or gradual, and may be transient or chronic
Psychological trauma and emotional distress commonly viewed as causal factors,
though individuals suffering from these disorders may not be aware of these
For diagnosis, the symptoms must cause clinically significant distress or
impairment in social, occupation, or other important areas of functioning
Believed to be quite rare
Important to distinguish amnesic, fugue, or altered states from episodes of
malingering (deliberate attempt to fake symptoms of disorder in order to achieve
some gain or avoid certain outcomes/situations)
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