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Chapter 1

Chapter 1.doc

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PSYC 3230

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Abnormal Psychology: An Overview • 1. What is it? • 2. How common is it? • 3. What to do about it? • 4. How to study it? 1. What is it? What Do We Mean by Abnormal Behavior? • There is no consensus definition – Abnormality, disorder • There are, however, some                 clear elements of abnormality • Prototypes • Prototypes – Prototype model The Elements of Abnormality The Elements of Abnormality • However, no one element is sufficient to define and determine  abnormality, and what is considered deviant changes as society changes • Example: homosexuality • Issue: “flavor of the month disorder” The DSM­IV Definition of Mental Disorder • A ‘clinically significant’ behavioral or psychological syndrome or  • A ‘clinically significant’ behavioral or psychological syndrome or  pattern  • Associated with distress or disability (i.e., impairment in one or more  important areas of functioning) • Not merely an expectable and culturally sanctioned response to a particular  event (e.g., the death of a loved one) event (e.g., the death of a loved one) • Considered to reflect behavioral, psychological, or biological dysfunction in  the individual Classifying Abnormal Behavior • DSM classification does have limitations  • Wakefield defines a mental disorder as a condition that – Causes significant distress or disability – Is not merely an expectable response to a particular event – Is a manifestation of harmful mental dysfunction – Is a manifestation of harmful mental dysfunction – Concept of ‘harmful mental dysfunction’ reflect social values Why Do We Need to Classify Mental Disorders? • Classification systems provide us with a nomenclature that allows  us to structure information (naming; labels) allows for communication social and political implications labeling; profiling; insurance • Classification of disorders, not people • Problems: stereotyping, stigma – Loss of information; over­generalization Cultural Influences in Abnormality • Cultural factors influence the presentation of disorders found all  over the globe • Certain forms of psychopathology are highly culture­specific • Some unconventional actions and behaviors are universally  considered the product of mental disorder 2. How common is it? Prevalence and Incidence • Epidemiology – the study of the distribution of diseases, disorders, or health­related  behaviors in a given population  • Gender, cultural, racial, social differences • Problem of defining and identifying  – Continuum, cultural differences, social stigma, self­definition, treatment Prevalence and Incidence • Prevalence – the number of active cases in a population during any given period of  time – Prevalence is typically expressed as percentages – Different types of prevalence estimates include point prevalence, one­year  prevalence, and lifetime prevalence Prevalence and Incidence • Incidence – the number of new cases in a population over a given period of time – Incidence figures are typically lower than prevalence figures, because they  exclude already existing cases – Continuing problem of definition and change Prevalence of DSM­IV Disorders in Adults Most Common Individual DSM­IV Disorders 3. What to do about it? Treatment • Not all people receive treatment – Use of medication or self­medication • The vast majority of treatment is done on an outpatient basis vs  inpatient – Patients who need inpatient hospitalization are now typically admitted to the  psychiatric units of general hospitals or to private hospitals (cost, insurance,  disruption) The Mental Health “Team” The Mental Health “Team” • Diagnosis and assessment may involve a number of participants  who – Play differing roles in the process – Gather data germane to a comprehe
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