Psych Notes (Chapter 14).docx

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8 Apr 2012
Chapter 14: Psychological Disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTPD)
Abnormal Behaviour: Myths, Realities, and Controversies
The Medical Model Applied to Abnormal Behaviour
- The Medical Model proposes that it is useful to think of abnormal behaviour as a disease
- If there was abnormal behaviour in the past, they were thought to be possessed by demons, etc
- But not abnormal behaviour is seen with more sympathy than hate or fear
- Thomas Szasz said that there is disease and illness only to the body, but no mental illness
- The medical model is just an analogy
- Diagnosis involves distinguishing one illness from another
- Etiology refers to the apparent causation and developmental history of illness
- Prognosis a forecast about the probable course of an illness
- These medically based concepts have widely shared meanings that allow clinicians, researchers,
and the public to understand abnormal behaviour
Criteria of Abnormal Behaviour
- 1. Deviance
o People are often said to have a disorder because their behaviour deviates from what
their society considers acceptable
o What’s normal is varied from one culture to another, but if the behaviour is not
consistent, it’s said to be an illness
- 2. Maladaptive behaviour
o Their everyday adaptive behaviour is impaired
o Diagnosis for substance-use (drug) disorders (starts to interfere with everyday life)
- 3. Personal distress
o Based on individual’s report of great personal distress
o Usually for depression or anxiety disorders
- As long as one criterion is met, they are considered to have a disorder
- People are judged to have psychological disorders when their behaviour becomes extremely
deviant, maladaptive and/or distressed.
Stereotypes of Psychological Disorders
- 1. Psychological disorders are incurable
o There’s only a few mentally ill people that treatment failed
o There are people that get better either spontaneously or through formal treatment
o Majority of people that improve lead a normal life, even the sever psychological
disorders can be treated successfully
- 2. People with psychological disorders are often violent and dangerous
o Only a modest association has been found between mental illness and violence
o Strongest predictor of violence was past violence and there was no steady proof that
psychological disorders simple by substance abuse are a major risk of violence, once you
control past history of violence
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- 3. People with psychological disorders behave in bizarre ways and different from normal people
o This is true in small minority of cases, involving severe disorders
o It’s about the border line of who’s normal or abnormal
Psychodiagnosis: The Classification of Disorders
- The American Psychiatric Association’s: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
o Described about 100 disorders
o Prior to 1952, guidelines were vague and informal
o Second edition (1968) - guidelines were sketchy
o Third edition (1980) diagnostic’s criteria were more explicit, concrete, and detailed
Introduced multiaxial system of classification, asks judgments on 5 dimensions
(or axes)
o Fourth edition (1994 and current) describes 3x as many types of psychological
disorders than the first edition
The Prevalence of Psychological Disorders
- Epidemiology 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
o % of people who endure a specific disorder at any time of their lives
- Most (68%) of people who reported symptoms of a specific disorder did not seek help
- Costs of these disorders are expensive, costs for health system are also substantial
Anxiety Disorders
- Anxiety happens to everyone, it’s normal but for some people it becomes a chronic problem
- Anxiety disorders class of disorders marked by feelings of excessive apprehension and anxiety
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder is marked by a chronic, high level of anxiety that is not tied to any
specific threat
- Sometimes called free-floating anxiety because it’s nonspecific
- People with this disorder worry constantly about yesterday’s mistake or tomorrows problems
- They worry about minor matters related to family, finances, work, and personal illness
- They hope their worrying will help to ward off negative events but they still worry about how
much they worry
- They dread decisions and brood over them endlessly
- Their anxiety is usually accompanied by physical symptoms like trembling, muscle tension,
diarrhea, dizziness, faintness, sweating and heart palpitations
- Seen more frequently in females than males
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Phobic Disorder
- Phobic Disorder marked by a persistent and irrational fear of an object or situation that
presents no realistic danger
- When fears seriously start to interfere with their everyday lives
- Accompanied by physical symptoms of anxiety like trembling and palpitations
- You can even have phobias to driving! (usually by very good drivers)
- Common phobias: acrophobia (fear of heights), claustrophobia (fear of small, enclosed places),
brontophobia (fear of storms), hydrophobia (fear of water), and various animal and insect
- Even imagining the phobic object or situation can cause anxiety
Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia
- Panic Disorder 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 the next
panic attack will occur
- Agoraphobia fear of going out to public places
o Because of this fear, people tend to stay home
- Usually in females, occurs around late adolescence or early adulthood
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Obsessions are thoughts that repeatedly intrude on one’s consciousness in a distressing way
- Compulsions are actions that one feel forced to carry out
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is marked by persistent, uncontrollable intrusions of
unwanted thoughts (obsession) and urges to engage in senseless rituals (compulsions)
- Obsessions can lead harm to others, personal failures, suicide, or sexual acts
- People that have obsessions may feel like they’ve lost their minds
- Compulsions involve stereotyped rituals that relieve anxiety
o Ie keep washing hands to get germs off, keep checking locks to make sure you locked it
- Most OCD emerge before 35 years of age
- 4 factors underlie symptoms:
o Obsessions and checking
o Symmetry and order
o Cleanliness and washing
o Hoarding
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Caused by many traumatic events like rape or assault, severe car accident, natural disaster, or
witnessing death
- PTSD sometimes does not surface until months or years after traumatic event occurred
- Symptoms may include traumatic events in nightmares or flashbacks, emotional numbing,
alienation, social relationship problems, vulnerability increase, and elevated levels of arousal,
anxiety, anger, and guilt.
- Recovery is gradual and some cases, symptoms never go away
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