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Chapter 14

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Carolyn Ensley

PS101 Chapter 14 Psychological Disorders Week 11 Abnormal Behaviour: Myths, Realities, and Controversies The Medical Model Applied to Abnormal Behaviour -Medical model proposes that it is useful to think of abnormal behaviour as a disease -Includes mental illness, psychological disorder, and psychopathology -Became the dominant way of thinking about abnormal behaviour -The rise of the medical model brought improvements in the treatment of those who exhibited abnormal behaviour -Some critics now are troubled because medical diagnoses of abnormal behaviour pin potentially derogatory labels on people -Being labelled carries a social stigma that can be difficult to shake -Research has increasingly demonstrated that many psychological disorders are at least partly attributable to genetic and biological factors, making them appear more similar to physical illnesses -Diagnosis involves distinguishing one illness from another -Etiology refers to the apparent causation and developmental history of an illness -Prognosis is a forecast about the probable course of an illness Criteria of Abnormal Behaviour -In making diagnoses, clinicians rely on a variety of criteria: 1. Deviance People are often said to have a disorder because their behaviour deviates from what their society considers acceptable 2. Maladaptive Behaviour People are judged to have a psychological disorder because their everyday adaptive behaviour is impaired 3. Personal distress Based on an individuals report of great personal distress -People are often viewed as disordered when only one criterion is met -Diagnoses of psychological disorders involve value judgments about what represents normal or abnormal behaviour -Antonyms such as normal versus abnormal and mental health versus mental illness imply that people can be divided neatly into two distinct groups: those who are normal an those who are not Stereotypes of Psychological Disorders 1. Psychological disorders are incurable The vast majority of people who are diagnoses as mentally ill eventually improve and lead normal, productive lives 2. People with psychological disorders are often violent and dangerous Only a modest association has been found between mental illness and violence-prone tendencies 3. People with psychological disorders behave in bizarre ways and are very different from normal people This is true only in a small minority of cases, usually involving relatively severe disorders Psychodiagnosis: The Classification of Disorders -A great deal of effort has been invested in devising a elaborate system for disorders The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) -The DSM employs a multiaxial system of classification, which asks for judgments about individuals on five separate dimension clinical syndromes, personality disorders or mental retardation, general medical conditions, psychosocial and environmental problems, global assessment of functioning scale -Comorbidity is the coexistence of two or more disorders -Widespread comorbidity raises the possibility that specific diagnoses may not reflect distinct disorders, PS101 Chapter 14 Psychological Disorders Week 11 but merely variations on the same underlying disorder The Prevalence of Psychological Disorders -Epidemiology is the study of the distribution 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 -In the case of mental disorders, the most interesting data are the estimates of lifetime prevalence, the percentage of people who endure a specific disorder at any time in their lives -The most common types of disorders in North America are: substance use disorders, anxiety disorders, and mood disorders -The costs of these disorders are enormous Anxiety Disorders -Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time -Anxiety disorders are a class or disorders marked by feelings of excessive apprehension and anxiety -Many people who develop one anxiety syndrome often suffer from another at some point in their lives Generalized Anxiety Disorder -A generalized anxiety disorder is marked by a chronic, high level of anxiety that is not tied to any specific threat -People with this disorder constantly worry about yesterdays mistakes and tomorrows problems -They worry about minor matters related to family, finances, work, and personal illness -They hope that their worrying will help to ward off negative events, and worry about how much they worry -Accompanied by trembling, muscle tension, diarrhea, dizziness, faintness, sweating, and heart palpitations Phobic Disorder -A phobic disorder is marked by a persistent and irrational fear of an object or situation that presents no realistic danger -When peoples fears seriously interfere with their everyday behaviour -Accompanied by trembling and palpitations -People can develop phobic responses to virtually anything Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia -A panic disorder is characterized by recurrent attacks of overwhelming anxiety that usually occur suddenly and unexpectedly -After a number of panic attacks, victims often become apprehensive, wondering when their new panic will occur -Agoraphobia is a fear of going out to public places -Because of this fear, some people become prisoners confined to their homes, although will venture out is accompanied by a trusted companion Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder -Obsessions are thoughts that repeatedly intrude on ones consciousness in a distressing way -Compulsions are actions that one feels forced to carry outPS101 Chapter 14 Psychological Disorders Week 11 -An obsessive-compulsive disorder is marked by persistent, uncontrollable intrusions of unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and urges to engage in senseless rituals (compulsions) -People troubled by obsessions may feel that they have lost control of their mind -Four factors seem to underlie OCD: obsessions and checking, symmetry and order, cleanliness and washing, and hoarding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) -Often elicited by any of a variety of traumatic events, including a rape or assault, a severe automobile accident, etc. -PTSD does not surface until many months or years after a persons exposure to severe stress -Common symptoms include re-experiencing the traumatic event in the form of nightmares and flashbacks, emotional numbing, alienation, problems in social relationships, an increased sense of vulnerability, and elevated levels of arousal, anxiety, anger and guilt -One key predictor of vulnerability is the intensity of ones reaction as the time of the traumatic event -The frequency and severity of post-traumatic symptoms usually decline gradually over time, but recovery tends to be gradual and in many cases, the symptoms never completely disappear Etiology of Anxiety Disorders Biological Factors -A concordance rate indicate the percentage of twin pairs or other pairs of relatives who ex
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