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Abnormal Psychology. Mental Illness. Misleading term Stigma associated with term Psychological Disorder : A “harmful dysfunction” in which behavior is judged to be atypical, disturbing, maladaptive, and unjustifiable. Abnormal Behavior. Dysfunction Distress Deviance Dangerousness.

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Abnormal Psychology


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    1. Abnormal Psychology

    2. Mental Illness • Misleading term • Stigma associated with term • Psychological Disorder: • A “harmful dysfunction” in which behavior is judged to be atypical, disturbing, maladaptive, and unjustifiable

    3. Abnormal Behavior • Dysfunction • Distress • Deviance • Dangerousness

    4. Causes • Biological • Psychodynamic • Behavioral • Cognitive • Etc.

    5. Diagnosis Factors: • Reported symptoms • Past history • Family history • Observed behavior • Testing • Objective inventories: Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), Beck Depression Inventory • Projective or subjective inventories: I.e. Rorschack Ink Blot Test

    6. Diagnosis • Factors • Drug use • Illegal • Legal • Reactions to medications • Physical health • Faking illness (secondary gain)

    7. Diagnosis • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV TR) • Must meet a certain # of criteria from this to receive diagnosis • Criticized because: • Illnesses listed can change based on who sits on the diagnostic panel, what is currently politically correct, etc. • The potential of labeling of individuals

    8. Schizophrenia • A thought disorder involving major disturbances of perception, language, thought, emotion, and behavior • Usually experiences either / or (sometimes both): • Positive symptoms: (added) • may include delusions, auditory and/or visual hallucinations, disorganized thinking or behavior • Negative symptoms (lessened) • includes flat, unresponsive affect, lack of appropriate emotion, decreased fluency or productivity of speech, social difficulties, and inability to initiate and persist in goal directed activities

    9. Schizophrenia • Causes may include: • Heredity (genetic predisposition) • Stress on those predisposed to the illness • Brain abnormalities • Size of cerebral ventricles and fissures in brain are enlarged • Too much dopamine around certain receptor areas • Male onset averages in the late teens / early twenties • Female onset averages in late twenties / early thirties • Effects approx. 1 in 100 individuals

    10. Anxiety Disorders • Most common mental illness diagnosis • High comorbidity (often occurs with other illnesses) • Characterized by: • unrealistic, irrational fear, or long term feelings of worry, apprehension, and dread • cause people to lead restricted lives in order to avoid these things

    11. Generalized Anxiety Disorder • Long-lasting, continuous, seemingly uncontrollable anxiety or worry that is not necessarily focused on an object or situation • Feelings of foreboding or dread

    12. Panic Disorder • Brief, but often recurring attacks of intense fear, anxiety, or panic called panic attacks • Can last minutes or hours • Often described as feeling like a heart attack or that the individual is about to die

    13. Phobias • Phobias are strong irrational fears of objects or situations • Go beyond fears due to the level of impairment • Three main categories • Social phobias are tied to situations (stage fright) • Specific phobias are tied to objects (knives, etc.) • Agoraphobia: the fear of being alone in public place or being away from one’s safe place

    14. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) • Usually the result of disturbing or traumatic events in an individuals life (or have been witnessed) • Characterized by continuing to experience all or parts of the event through flashbacks and / or dreams • Can include sights, sounds, smells, feelings (emotional and physical) • Can re-occur after being dormant for long periods of time

    15. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) • Obsessions • characterized by images and thoughts. (e.g. number sequences, counting uncontrolled anxiety related to recurring thoughts) • Increase anxiety • Compulsions • impulses to exert some action (e.g. hand-washing) • Often develop to decrease anxiety produced by obsessions

    16. Mood Disorders • Characterized by extreme disturbances in emotional states • Two main types: • Major Depressive Disorder • Bipolar Disorder Euphoric Mood Depressed Mood

    17. Major Depressive Disorder • Often referred to as the “common cold” of mental disorders • Refers to prolonged intensely reduced mood sometimes without an obvious cause • Interferes with ability to function and to enjoy life • Occurs 2 to 3 times more often in women than men

    18. Major Depressive Disorder • Symptoms may include: • Changes in: • Emotion: often sadness. hopelessness, low self esteem, or numbness • Behaviors: decrease in motivation and participation in interests, decrease or increase in sleep, isolation • Physiological functioning: decreased energy, decrease or increase in appetite • Homicidal or Suicidal thoughts

    19. Bipolar Disorder • Refers to alternating states of reduced mood (depression) and mania (expansive or elated mood) • Used to be called Manic Depression • Mania is often accompanied by: • Grandiosity • Spending sprees • Promiscuity • Paranoia • Psychosis • Very little if any sleep • Occurs equally in men and women

    20. Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) • Characterized by the presence of two or more distinctive personality systems in the same individual at different times • Each may have distinctive memories and characteristics • Believed to be the result of an individual protecting themselves from extreme stress, shock, or trauma • Used to be known as Multiple Personality Disorder • Controversial in that its critics believe it is more the result of suggestion than fact.

    21. Personality Disorders • Characterized by rigid, maladaptive traits that cause great distress with or inability to get along with others • Usually has drastic effects on relationships

    22. Narcissistic Personality Disorder • Named for Narcissus in mythology who fell in love with his reflection • Involves: • an exaggerated sense of self importance and self-absorption • often demands constant attention or admiration

    23. Borderline Personality Disorder • Involves severe relationship issues through life along with severe inability to handle emotions; • Will often attach to one person in a love/hate kind of relationship • Often is involved in self harm behaviors such as burning themselves with cigarettes, cutting on self, etc. • Partially the result of relationship with primary caregiver who was dependant on the child for emotional support not allowing the child to learn how to self nurture

    24. Antisocial Personality Disorder • Characterized by angry and disruptive or violent behavior • Seemly has no conscious or remorse for behaviors • The terms psychopath or sociopath is often used when referring to people with this disorder • Individuals with this disorder reportedly account for approx. 50% of all crime in the U.S.

    25. Eating Disorders • Anorexia Nervosa • Characterized by self imposed restriction of food resulting in extreme weight loss • Often involves: • Extreme body distortion • Irrational fear of weight gain • Eventual cognitive disability • Death

    26. Eating Disorders • Bulimia Nervosa • Characterized by intake of extreme amounts of food (binging), followed by extreme measures to get rid of food and avoid weight gain by vomiting (purging), exercise, laxatives, etc. • Also have body distortions and fear of gaining weight but usually not as severe as anorexics • Usually very private in their behaviors • Can die as a result of hemorrhaging of the esophagus due to its lining thinning from stomach acids

    27. Addictions • A compulsion to use a specific substance or engage in a certain activity repeatedly • Abuse: large, periodic consumption • Dependence: must use to maintain functioning • Two main theories: • Disease Concept or Biological Model • An individuals genetic pre-disposition • Behavioral or Learning Concept • Addictions are learned behavior or habit as a way to cope or meet some need

    28. Treatment • Two main theoretical models of treatment • Medical Model • Diseases, including psychological disorders, have physical causes that can be diagnosed, treated, and controlled or cured (in most cases). • May include need for hospitalization. • Bio-psycho-social Model (perspective) • All behavior, including mental illness, is the result of the interaction between the biological, psychological, and social

    29. Treatment • Biomedical • may administer medication to improve abnormal behavior • Drug classes include: • Antianxiety drugs • Many (not all) of these are addictive • Antipsychotic drugs improve thought processes • Can have major adverse side effects • Antidepressant drugs • Mood stabilizers

    30. Treatment • Medications are sometimes given in combination depending on the problem • Problems and concerns: • Side effects • Dependence issues • Compliance • Time • Individual differences: what works for one individual may not work for another