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Psychological Disorders. Psychological Disorder a “harmful dysfunction” in which behavior is judged to be (text discussion): Atypical not enough in itself Disturbing varies with time and culture Maladaptive harmful Unjustifiable By what standard?. Defined as Function.

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Psychological Disorders

  • Psychological Disorder a “harmful dysfunction” in which behavior is judged to be (text discussion):

    • Atypical

      • not enough in itself

    • Disturbing

      • varies with time and culture

    • Maladaptive

      • harmful

    • Unjustifiable

      • By what standard?

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Defined as Function

  • Individual is not functioning adequately based on either his/her standards or according to significant others in the person’s life.

  • Almost all the disorders we discuss have symptoms that everyone experiences. Diagnosis of disorder depends of intensity, length of time and how much it’s impacting on the person.

    • Depression

    • Anxiety

    • Psychosis?

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Psychological Disorders

  • Medical Model

    • concept that diseases have physical causes

    • can be diagnosed, treated, and in most cases, cured

    • assumes that these “mental” illnesses can be diagnosed on the basis of their symptoms and cured through therapy, which may include treatment in a psychiatric hospital

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Problems with medical model

  • Effects of labeling person, especially if based on limited number of symptoms

    • May limit true understanding of behavior in favor of “listed” symptoms and assumptions about outcome

    • Confirmation bias: future information interpreted in a biased way based on label

  • Similar problems can exist with diagnosis physical ailments

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Psychological Disorders

  • Bio-Psycho-Social Perspective

    • assumes that biological, sociocultural, and psychological factors combine and interact to produce psychological disorders

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Bio-Psycho-Social Approach

  • These factors change over time. Hence, it’s harmful to place a constant label on a person

  • “Normal” behavior changes over cultures, sub-cultures and time.

    • E.g., is gang behavior or violence “abnormal”?

  • It’s more important to understand behavior (and symptoms) then worry about labels.

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Classifying Psychological Disorders (medical approach dominates)

  • DSM-IV

    • American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition)

    • a widely used system for classifying psychological disorders

    • presently distributed as DSM-IV-TR (text revision)

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Classifying Psychological Disorders dominates

  • Neurotic Disorder usually distressing but that allows one to think rationally and function socially

  • Psychotic Disorder

    • person loses contact with reality

    • experiences irrational ideas and distorted perceptions

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Anxiety Disorders dominates

  • Anxiety Disorders

    • distressing, persistent anxiety or maladaptive behaviors that reduce anxiety

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder

    • person is tense, apprehensive, and in a state of autonomic nervous system arousal

    • Persistence (out of control)

    • Problem in identifying source

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Anxiety Disorders dominates

  • Panic Disorder

    • marked by a minutes-long episode of intense dread in which a person experiences terror and accompanying chest pain, choking, or other frightening sensation

    • Person comes to fear the panic attack itself and start to avoid any situations or places that might provoke an attack

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Anxiety Disorders dominates

  • Phobia

    • persistent, irrational fear of a specific object or situation

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

    • unwanted repetitive thoughts (obsessions) and/or actions (compulsions)

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Anxiety Disorders dominates

  • Common and uncommon fears

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Causes: Learning Perspective dominates

  • Fears are learned thought classical conditioning

    • Stimulus generalization often occurs

    • Development of behaviors to avoid the anxiety

    • Perhaps also through observational learning

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Causes: Biological Influence dominates

  • Research with identical twins and non-human primates suggest a genetic aspect

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Anxiety Disorders dominates

  • PET Scan of brain of person with Obsessive/ Compulsive disorder

  • High metabolic activity (red) in frontal lobe areas involved with directing attention (impulse control and executive function)

  • Effectiveness of drug therapy

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Dissociative Disorders dominates

  • Dissociative Disorders

    • conscious awareness becomes separated (dissociated) from previous memories, thoughts, and feelings

    • Not uncommon when in a highly traumatic situation to feel “removed” from the situation. Problem is when this becomes more then a brief situation

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Dissociative Disorder dominates

  • Dissociative Identity Disorder

    • rare dissociative disorder in which a person exhibits two or more distinct and alternating personalities

    • formerly called multiple personality disorder

  • At Issue: Is it a real phenomena

    • Skeptics– Everyone has difference aspects of their personality. These get exaggerated by person and perhaps encourage by therapist

    • Believers– Personality differences are dramatic (even handedness might be effected) and person may have many personalities (e.g., 3 faces of eve– 28)

      • Origins from sever trauma especially in childhood

  • Both may be right

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Personality Disorders dominates

  • Personality Disorders (vs. mood disorder)

    • disorders characterized by inflexible and enduring behavior patterns that impair social functioning

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Types of Personality Disorders dominates

  • Fearful, afraid of rejection, withdrawn

  • Extreme eccentrics– “The Character”

  • Narcissistic– Over exaggerates self importance

  • Borderline– Unstable identity, emotions, relationships, etc.

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Personality Disorders dominates

  • Antisocial Personality Disorder

    • disorder in which the person (usually man) exhibits a lack of conscience for wrongdoing, even toward friends and family members

    • may be aggressive and ruthless or a clever con artist

    • Most criminals do not have this– they show concern for family and friends

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Murderer dominates


Personality Disorders

  • PET scans illustrate reduced activation in a murderer’s frontal cortex

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Mood Disorders dominates

  • Mood Disorders

    • characterized by emotional extremes

  • Major Depressive Disorder

    • a mood disorder in which a person, for no apparent reason, experiences two or more weeks of depressed moods, feelings of worthlessness, and diminished interest or pleasure in most activities

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Mood Disorders dominates

  • Manic Episode

    • a mood disorder marked by a hyperactive, wildly optimistic state

  • Bipolar Disorder

    • a mood disorder in which the person alternates between the hopelessness and lethargy of depression and the overexcited state of mania

    • formerly called manic-depressive disorder

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Mood Disorders-Depression dominates

  • Canadian depression rates

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Depressed state dominates

Manic state

Depressed state

Mood Disorders-Bipolar

  • PET scans show that brain energy consumption rises and falls with emotional switches

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Mood Disorders-Depression dominates

  • Altering any one component of the chemistry-cognition-mood circuit can alter the others

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Mood Disorders-Depression dominates

  • The vicious cycle of depression can be broken at any point

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Schizophrenia dominates

  • Schizophrenia

    • literal translation “split mind”

    • a group of severe disorders characterized by:

      • disorganized and delusional thinking

      • disturbed perceptions

      • inappropriate emotions and actions

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Schizophrenia dominates

  • Delusions

    • false beliefs, often of persecution or grandeur, that may accompany psychotic disorders

  • Hallucinations

    • sensory experiences without sensory stimulation

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Schizophrenia dominates

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Causes of Schizophrenia dominates

  • Evidence of both chemical and anatomical differences in the brain

  • There are clear genetic predispositions

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Schizophrenia dominates

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Causes of Schizophrenia dominates

  • Viral infections during pregnancy?

  • Role of environment is unclear

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The End dominates

  • Is Psychology a Science?

  • Future Courses