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Mental Disorders Notes.docx

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Temple University
PSY 1071
Joel Sheffield

Kate Sydnes Psychology as a Natural Science November 29, 2011 Mental Disorders Notes I. Problems defining “Mental Disorders” a. Things it is not… i. Different from average ii. Behavior leading to distress, disability, or increased risk of death, pain, or loss of freedom b. Definition i. Psychological/mental disorders are deviant, distressful, and dysfunctional behavior patterns c. APADefinition i. Involve distress or impairment of function ii. Originate from within the person, not simply a natural reaction to environment iii. Symptoms are not the result of a conscious decision to behave in a certain way… not voluntary d. The DSM-IV i. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ii. Designed to increase reliability and validity of psychologists diagnoses 1. Reliability: chances that different psychologist swill give the same diagnosis 2. Validity: extent to which diagnoses are clinically meaningful iii. List of atheoretical, observable symptoms 1. Symptom: any behavior, thought, or feeling that could indicate disorder 2. Syndrome: a set of interrelated symptoms 3. “Field tested” – systems of classification that yielded the best reliability and validity in actual practices e. Disorders “in flux” i. The result of human categorization – “normal” vs. “abnormal” ii. Must take into consideration the societal backdrop iii. Thus, classifications are always changing 1. Homosexuality was only removed from the official list in 1973 2. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – a normal reaction to trauma, but needed mass treatment after Vietnam war 3. Intermittent explosive disorder used to explain road rage iv. Recent editorial in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggested adding “internet addiction” to the list f. Cultural Variation i. Taijin kyofusho – prevalent in Japan, but virtually unknown elsewhere, intense fear of harming others through your own social awkwardness ii. ADHD – more prevalent in the U.S. than anywhere else g. Medical Students’Disease i. Also, “Introductory Psychology students’disease” 1. Tendency to relate personally to descriptions of symptoms and find them in oneself (and friends) II. “Abnormal” Psychology a. Who might have a disorder? i. Your friends and neighbors ii. Beware of dehumanizing! b. Myths i. The mentally ill are easily recognizable ii. The mentally ill are dangerous iii. Once mentally ill, always mentally ill iv. Mental illness is a choice c. Causes i. Predisposing causes 1. Pre-existing conditions that make someone susceptible to a disorder ii. Precipitating causes 1. Thing that cause the disorder iii. Perpetuating causes 1. Factors that keep a disorder going a. Stigmas, labels, change in diet d. The danger of labels i. Affects self-esteem, dehumanizes, stigmatizes, can imply that condition is inherent aspect of the person (John is schizophrenic vs. John has schizophrenia) ii. Rosenhan Study 1. David Hosenhan and colleagues checked themselves into psychiatric wards, complaining of voices saying “empty”, “dull”, and “thud” 2. But once admitted, they resumed acting normal, no-one noticed! 3. Dehumanized and released with “in remission” diagnosis III. General Types of Disorders a. Anxiety Disorders i. GeneralizedAnxiety Disorder (GAD) 1. Constant, free-floating anxiety &worry a. Often follow major life events b. Heightened attention to threatening stimuli c. Diagnosis requires 6 continuous months in this state 2. Serotonin Hypothesis – success of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in treating anxiety disorders suggests that serotonin dysfunction may be a key
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