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General Psychology (PY110) PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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General Psychology (PY110). Chapter 10 Abnormal Psychology. Abnormal Psychology . The scientific study of mental disorders and their treatment. Ab. Normal. Meaning Away From. Societal and cultural attitudes make normal can be a ‘moving target’ . What is Abnormal?.

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General Psychology (PY110)

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General Psychology (PY110)

Chapter 10

Abnormal Psychology

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Abnormal Psychology

The scientific study of mental disorders and their treatment




Away From

Societal and cultural attitudes make normal can be a ‘moving target’

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What is Abnormal?

  • Abnormality can be defined using

    • Statistical methods – Is the behavior uncommon?

    • Maladaptive – Is the behavior unrewarding or damaging?

    • Cultural – Doe the behavior violate cultural norms?



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  • Abnormal behavior and thinking can be linked to the four major perspectives

    • Biological – Brain/body, chemical imbalance

    • Behavioral – Actions/reactions that include signs of disorder

    • Cognitive – The effect of thinking – OCD, paranoia

    • Sociocultural – What is acceptable in one culture may not be in another

  • No single perspective explains even one disorder

  • The biopsychosocial approachis used to explaining abnormality

    • This includes biological, behavioral, cognitive, and social/cultural factors

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Nature or Nurture

  • As with other areas of human development, abnormality is linked to both genetic and environmental causes

  • Certain genetic types are more susceptible to depression, but environment is also important

  • There is a 70% chance that if one twin has schizophrenia, the other will as well – suggesting a genetic (or biological) link

    • Current research is trying to identify the specific genes that make a person vulnerable to this disorder

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How is Abnormality Decided?

What makes one person abnormal and another normal?

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Diagnostic and Statistical Manual

  • The DSM-IV was published in 1994 by the American Psychiatric Association

    • First edition released in 1952 described only about 60 disorders

    • There are more than 300 known disorders listed

  • Health insurance companies require a DSM-IV classification before they will pay for therapy

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Three Major Categories of Clinical Disorders


Most Severe

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Anxiety Disorders

Disorders in which excessive anxiety leads to personal distress and atypical, maladaptive and irrational behavior

Specific Phobia

Social Phobia & Agoraphobia

Panic Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

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Specific Phobia

  • Fear of something specific

    • Snakes, spiders, tests,…

  • Marked by an excessive / unreasonable reaction

  • Phobias are learnt by classical conditioning

    • we acquire them by experience

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Social Phobia

  • A fear of one or more social situations in which there is exposure to unfamiliar people or scrutiny by others

    • May include eating in public, resulting in the sufferer rejecting all lunch and dinner invitations

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  • Agoraphobia is the fear of places or situations from which escape might be difficult or embarrassing

    • Includes crowds, standing in line or even being in a car in heavy traffic

    • Sufferers avoid leaving the security of their homes

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Panic Disorder

  • A condition in which a person experiences recurrent panic attacks (sudden onsets of intense fear – like they are in mortal danger)

    • Some a reaction to something he dreads, such as giving a speech, but other attacks occur without any apparent reason

    • Can occur with or without agoraphobia

  • One explanation for panic disorder is a fear-of-fear hypothesis

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Generalized Anxiety Disorder

  • A disorder in which the person has excessive, global anxiety and worry that they cannot control, for a period of at least 6 months

    • The anxiety is not tied to any specific object or situation

  • May be related to a biochemical dysfunction in the brain, which involves GABA, a major inhibitory neurotransmitter

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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

  • A person experiences recurrent obsessions or compulsions that are excessive or unreasonable

    • Obsession - a persistent intrusive thought, idea, or impulse

    • Compulsion - a repetitive behavior that a person feels compelled to perform

  • Thought to be caused by neurotransmitter imbalance involving serotonin

    • Sufferers may be helped by using serotonin boosting anti-depressant drugs

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Mood Disorders

  • Involve dramatic changes in a person’s emotional mood that are excessive and unwarranted

Major Depressive Disorder

Bipolar Disorder

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Major Depressive Disorder

  • Major depressionis characterized by symptoms such as:

    • Feelings of intense hopelessness, low self-esteem, worthlessness, and extreme fatigue

    • Dramatic changes in eating and sleeping behavior

    • Inability to concentrate

    • Greatly diminished interest in family, friends, and activities for a period of two weeks or more

    • Thoughts of suicide

  • Women suffer from major depressive disorder twice as often as men

  • Does not include normal grief and extreme sadness

    • It’s normal to grieve the death of a close friend or relative

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Bipolar Disorder

  • Mood swings between depression and mania

    • Symptoms of mania include:

      • Abnormally elevated mood

      • Inflated self-esteem with grandiose delusions

      • Decreased need for sleep

      • Constant talking, distractibility, restlessness, and poor judgment

  • In bipolar I disorder, the person has both major manic and depressive episodes

  • In bipolar II disorder, the person has full-blown depressive episodes, but milder manic episodes

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Schizophrenic Disorders

  • Schizophrenia means “split mind,” as mental functions split from each other

  • Characterized by loss of contact with reality

  • More likely to require hospitalization than sufferers of any other mental disorder (40% of all hospitalized)

  • About 1% of the population suffers from schizophrenia

  • The onset tends to be in late adolescence or early adulthood

  • Symptoms classified as positivenegative, or disorganized




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Positive Symptoms of Schizophrenia

  • Positive symptoms are the more active symptoms that reflect an excess or distortion of normal thinking or behavior, including hallucinations and delusions

    • Hallucinations tend to be auditory, such as hearing voices that are not real

    • There are different forms of delusions

      • Delusions of persecutions involve thoughts of conspiracy against you

      • Delusions of grandeur involve believing that you are a person of great importance, such as Jesus Christ

    • Hallucinations and delusions are positive symptoms because they refer to things that have been added

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Negative and Disorganized Symptoms of Schizophrenia

  • Negative symptoms refer to things that have been removed or do not work ‘normally’

    • deficits or losses in emotion, speech, energy level, social activity, and even basic drives such as hunger

  • Disorganized symptoms include disorganized speech, disorganized behavior, and inappropriate emotions

    • Disorganized speech is like a “word salad,” with unconnected words incoherently spoken together

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Five Subtypes of Schizophrenic Disorder

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Two Major Types of Therapy


Involves the use of psychological interventions

Biomedical Therapy

Involves the use of biological interventions, such as drugs

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Biomedical Therapies




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Electro-convulsive Therapy

  • Used to treat major depression when anti-depressant drugs are no longer effective

  • Patient is anaesthetized with a muscle relaxant and a 30-45 second electrical shock is administered to the head

  • Effective but often results in memory loss

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Drug Therapy





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Drug Therapies

  • Effective in treating symptoms of abnormality for 1/3 of sufferers

    • Work partially or intermittently for 1/3, and Ineffective for1/3

  • Lithium used to control mania associated with bi-polar disorder

  • Anti-depressants (includingSSRIs) used to correct neurotransmitter imbalancesconnected with depression

  • Should be used in conjunction with psychotherapy not a replacement for it

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  • Four major types





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  • Psychoanalysis and humanistic therapies are referred to as insight therapies

  • They stress that a person achieve understanding of the causes of their behavior and thinking

  • Behavioral and cognitive therapies are usually referred to as actions therapies

  • They stress that the actions of the person must change for therapy to be effective

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  • Uses Free Association - patient spontaneously describes thoughts, feelings, and mental images

    • Brings conflict to a conscious level - provides clues to the unconscious conflicts leading to a person’s problems

    • Other ‘tools’ used include hypnosis and dream analysis

  • Resistanceis a patient’s unwillingness to discuss a particular topics

    • When a resistance is hit, it may provide clues into unconscious conflicts

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Problems with Psychoanalysis

  • Transference can occur when the patient acts toward the therapist as they did toward important figures in their life, such as their parents

  • Psychoanalysis requires a lot of time and is expensive

  • Critics question the validity of psychoanalysis’ main construct, unconscious conflicts and their impact on behavior and thinking

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Humanistic Therapy

  • Most influential humanistic therapy is Carl Rogers’s client-centered therapy

    • The therapist uses unconditional positive regard, genuineness, and empathy to help the person to gain insight into their true self-concept (Real Ideal)

    • Is often conducted in groups – reducing costs

  • To achieve this goal, the therapist is non-directive and involves:

    • Genuineness - honestly sharing his own thoughts and feelings with the client

    • Active Listening - to achieve empathetic understanding of the client’s feelings

    • Mirroring - to echo these feelings back to the client, so they can gain a clearer image of their true feelings

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Behavioral Therapy

  • Psychotherapy which uses the principles of classical and operant conditioning to change a person’s behavior from maladaptive to adaptive

    • Maladaptive behaviors are learned and therefore can be unlearned

  • In counterconditioning, a maladaptive response is replaced by an incompatible adaptive response

  • Systematic desensitizationis counterconditioning where a fear response to an object or situation is replaced with a relaxation response in a series of progressively increasing fear-arousing steps

    • Pioneered by Joseph Wolpe

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Cognitive Therapy

  • Psychotherapy in which the therapist changes the person’s thinking from maladaptive to adaptive

  • This is achieved by Ellis’s ABC model

    A refers to the Activating event (e.g., failure to be perfect)

    B refers to the person’s Belief about the event (e.g., feeling like a failure for normal levels of imperfection)

    C is the resulting emotional Consequence (e.g., depression)

  • According to Ellis:

    • A does not cause C; rather, B causes C

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