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Psych 120 General Psychology Christopher Gade Office : 1030A Office hours: MW 4:30-5:30 Email: Class MW 1:30-4:30 Room 2240. The Area of Abnormal Psychology. Definition of a mental disorder (being crazy, insane, loony, mad, etc.)

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Psych 120General PsychologyChristopher GadeOffice: 1030AOffice hours: MW 4:30-5:30Email: gadecj@gmail.comClass MW 1:30-4:30 Room 2240

the area of abnormal psychology
The Area of Abnormal Psychology
  • Definition of a mental disorder (being crazy, insane, loony, mad, etc.)
  • Past theories about the causes of mental disorders
  • Current theories about the causes of mental disorders
  • Types of treatment
  • Today’s classification and definition of different mental disorders
mental disorders
Mental Disorders
  • A mental or bodily condition marked primarily by sufficient disorganization of personality, mind, and emotions to seriously impair the normal psychological functioning of the individual. Also called mental illness.
  • A display of undesirable thoughts and behaviors that is significantly different from the average and interferes with one’s life.
the causes of mental disorders
The Causes of Mental Disorders
  • Despite the early recognition of the symptoms of mental disorders, historical cultures had little to no idea of what caused this “craziness”.
  • So… instead of examining it scientifically, they came up with their own ideas.
prehistoric views
Prehistoric Views
  • Viewed mental illness as being the result of possession by demons or magical beings.
  • Shamans were typically responsible for the attempts to help these individuals, and many individual rituals and medicines were used in attempts to help.
  • Trepanation – cutting holes into the heads of people to let the spiritual beings out.
egyptian perspective
Egyptian Perspective
  • First civilization to dramatically change the perception of the treatment of the mentally “ill”.
  • Still regarded the cause of mental illness as being magical and religious in nature.
  • Perceived mental illness as being a product of a disfunctioning self and it’s components that dealt with the issue of death.
  • Developed the first known mental “hospitals”, and have the first mental “physicians”.
    • Treatments involved opium use, rituals, prayers to gods, and “sleep therapies”.
monotheistic view
Monotheistic View
  • A revisit to the possession of demons…
  • Forcing the demons out via…
    • Prayers
    • Exorcisms
    • Emetics – potions that induced vomiting
    • Laxatives – potions that …
    • Trepanation (rarely)
      • Demons
      • Restore fluid balance
      • Reduce tension build up
  • Chasing the demons out through creating inhospitable environments
    • Chained
    • Starved
    • Flogged
    • Immersed in icy or boiling water
illness theory
Illness Theory
  • Individuals with mental disorders were later viewed as “madmen” or “sick” and taken to “hospitals”.
  • These “hospitals” also housed criminals, epileptics, beggars, and the elderly.
  • The “patients” in these

hospitals were all

considered incurable,

and were placed there

in order to separate

them from the masses

(less anyone else catch

their diseases).

illness theory cont
Illness Theory (cont.)
  • Most of the “patients in these hospitals were…
    • Chained
    • separated from contact of any sort
    • given beds of straw
    • given no means of cleaning

themselves or of relieving

themselves in a sanitary

and private manner

    • put on display for the


philippe pinel 1745 1826
Philippe Pinel (1745-1826)
  • Put in charge of the Parisian hospital system

in 1793.

  • Held to the belief that mental illness was indeed an illness.
    • the somatogenic hypothesis – mental disorders are the result of organic or bodily causes, likely found in the brain.
  • Removed the chains of

inmates and gave them

exercise and fresh air.

  • Rejected by a large portion

of his society for his ideas.

past cognitive models of disorders
Past Cognitive Models of Disorders
  • Freud’s theories of mental disorders
    • Unconscious desires and drives
    • The influence of traumatic experiences and memories
    • Repressed desires and wants
    • Fixation
  • Adler’s “striving for superiority” model
    • Inferiority complex
  • Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow’s self actualization theories
social model
Social Model
  • Many researchers and theorists have also proposed that our social environment plays a large role on mental disorders.
  • Where’s the proof?
    • Lack of spreading of disease
    • Stress related differences
    • The prevalence and/or absence of mental disorders across cultures
      • Anorexia/bulimia
the bio psycho social perspective
The Bio-Psycho-Social Perspective
  • biological, sociocultural, and psychological factors combine and interact to produce psychological disorders.
so where do we go from here
So where do we go from here?
  • Today’s theories and definitions of mental disorders.
  • Treatment of these disorders.
  • The descriptions and backgrounds on specific disorders (as defined by today’s society).
john p
John P
  • John has recently developed a debilitating fear for his life. He sees every stranger on the street as a possible threat to his life, and is constantly vigilant for any behavior around him that might be reflective of hostility. He has also developed a desperate need to remove himself from his surroundings whenever possible. Whereby, he hides himself in his room, the only place he feels mildly safe nowadays. This fear of his environment has resulted in John lashing out at times, and has caused him to almost hurt several innocent bystanders that have passed him on the street. John is so distraught by his new life. He is thinking of running away. Running away from the fear and the threat of violence.
gary c
Gary C
  • Gary is so very tired. He’s been off to war for longer than he can remember. He sees death and pain all around him. Even in his dreams Gary encounters gunfight and tragedy. He tries to stay as calm as possible in this horrid environment that he finds himself in, but Gary is always on edge, and always prepared to fight, or even kill, at only a moment’s notice. Anything can set him off, but Gary understands that this is how it must be in this world. He just hopes that some day, he can go home.
susan o
Susan O
  • Susan is a 33 year old mother of three. She lives in a small, suburban home with her loving husband and children. Susan has a lucrative and promising job at her local bank, and has been climbing the ladder of success for years. Susan has also recently learned that she is the daughter of God and the messenger of his renewed communication with mankind. However, with the understanding of the dangers associated with this status, Susan is aware of the fact that this truth can never be revealed to anyone. So in her free time, Susan writes alone in solitude. These writing look like letters, but they are in fact a message, THE message from her heavenly father. That way, one day, long from now, God’s message will be heard by all, and mankind will be saved.

Outcome 1

Outcome 2

Susan O, devoted mother, grandmother, and wife, was found dead today in her assisted living apartment. Family members and friends gathered to mourn the loss of this beloved and generous woman. “It was as if she was a direct descendent of our Lord” one mourner remarked, drawing upon the quirky, but heartfelt and selfless life that this great woman led. Susan O will remain in all of our hearts for generations to come.

A family of five was discovered in their house early yesterday morning. All but one of the bodies were found mutilated on the floor of their kitchen. The fifth body, belonging to a woman named Susan O, was found in the front lawn, with a gunshot wound to the head. In her hands were the gun that was used in the attack, a collection of scribbled notes containing unintelligible communications and ramblings, and a letter stating that her actions were the work of God.

let s attempt to define abnormal behavior
Let’s attempt to define abnormal behavior
  • Any behavior that leads to distress (including distress to others), disability (impaired functioning), or an increased risk of death, pain, or loss of freedom.
      • APA
  • A display of undesirable thoughts and behaviors that is significantly different from the average and interferes with one’s life.
      • Textbook
do did these people display abnormal behavior
Do/did these people display abnormal behavior?
  • Professional football players
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Presidents Bush and Obama
the influence of culture
The influence of culture
  • To determine if one’s behavior is “abnormal”, we must first examine the culture that the behavior is occurring in.
    • Football players
    • Female “demonic possessions” in Sudan
  • Different cultures also may illicit certain “abnormal” behaviors through their customs and shared learning.
    • “brain fag” syndrome in sub-Saharan Africa
    • “multiple personalities” in Western cultures
the job of therapists
The job of therapists
  • Detect individuals that are displaying abnormal behavior.
  • Describe and define the abnormal behaviors of the individuals that were detected.
  • Identify cases where these individuals will be a danger to the community.
  • Provide help for the individuals that are displaying abnormal behaviors.
h ow do we define abnormal behavior in the clinical community
How do we define abnormal behavior in the clinical community?
  • Early Attempts:
    • List of characteristics based on case studies
    • Individual definitions
  • New Attempts:
    • Uniform definitions and standards for diagnosis
    • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
      • Lists the accepted labels for all identified psychological disorders and describes their most widely used and beneficial treatments
problems with the dsm
Problems with the DSM
  • Differentiating normal from abnormal (most people often fall on a continuum of sanity, not into a category).
  • The manifestation of disorders often vary across individual (both in the intensity and the symptoms of the disorder), the DSM doesn’t take this into account.
    • An X number of symptoms are required
    • Symptoms must last X number of months
other problems with the dsm
Other Problems with the DSM
  • A number of the disorders listed are extremely arbitrary
    • Homosexuality example
    • Autism and Aspergers example
  • Situational factors are often not taken into account
  • Almost anyone seeking help is diagnosed with a mental disorder
  • The DSM only detects disorders, it doesn’t tell us everything important about the individuals being diagnosed.
but regardless of its shortcomings
But regardless of its shortcomings…
  • The DSM is used in almost every reputable clinic today.
  • It has provided us with a time saving, extremely effective way of diagnosing and treating mental disorders.
  • It is continually adapting and changing in order to be more accurate, effective, and reflective of our society and the mental disorders that are found in it.
  • There is no sign that we will discontinue the use of this manual in the near future.
abnormal psychology part 3
Abnormal Psychology Part 3
  • In the first two sections on Abnormal Psychology we’ve discussed
    • the means of defining abnormal behaviors and mental disorders
    • past approaches to treating/handling these disorders.
  • Now we’ll discuss current treatment of mental disorders.
    • Biomedical approach
    • Psychological approach
biomedical approach
Biomedical Approach
  • Main goal: changing some aspect of our physical functioning to treat a disorder.
  • Belief: certain mental disorders are disease and/or biologically based. Therefore, treatment must be physical or biological in nature.
main forms of biomedical treatment
Main forms of Biomedical Treatment
  • Medication
    • Prevalence of medication in the community
    • Questions about the long term value of medication
    • Overmedication problems
      • Problem 1: too many people prescribed medication
      • Problem 2: too much medication being prescribed
    • Addiction problems
  • Psychosurgery
    • Treatment of severe mental problems (OCD, anorexia, chronic pain)
    • Removal of tumors, growths, etc.
    • Lobotomies and trephination, corpus callosum severing
  • Electro-convulsive therapy
    • Was used to treat a number of different mental disorders in the past
    • Still sometimes used as a last resort treatment for depression
    • Questions about whether or not this treatment is humane
    • Little is known about why it works
psychological approach psychotherapy
Psychological approach (psychotherapy)
  • Psychotherapy: a treatment of psychological disorders by methods that include a personal relationship between a trained therapist and a client.
    • Based on the belief that a number of mental disorders can be treated through a therapeutic/conversational approach.
    • Main goal: changing some aspect of our thinking/thought processing to treat a mental disorder.
  • Based on identifying unconscious thoughts and emotions and bringing them to consciousness to help people understand their thoughts and actions.
    • Exploration of present and past
    • Different techniques
      • Free associations
      • Dreams
      • Hypnosis
    • Interactive, expensive, and long process
behavior therapy
Behavior Therapy
  • A treatment technique that begins with clear, well-defined behavioral goals, and then attempts to achieve those goals through learning and the strengthening of behavioral connections.
    • Classical conditioning
    • Operant conditioning
    • Used only for specific disorders
      • e.g. anxiety disorders, drug abuse, and anorexia/bulimia
cognitive therapy
Cognitive Therapy
  • A treatment technique that seeks to improve people’s psychological well-being by changing their thoughts and beliefs.
    • Rational-emotive behavior therapy – assumes that thoughts lead to emotions. The problem therefore is not the unpleasant emotions themselves, but the irrational thoughts that lead to them.
    • Cognitive-behavioral therapy – a form of behavioral therapy that also includes an emphasis on changing one’s interpretation of their situation that they are experiencing.
humanistic therapy
Humanistic Therapy
  • Based on the belief that mental disorders are based on an incongruence of selves
  • Assumes that patients are the only ones that can detect and reach their full potential
    • Person-centered therapy
      • Pioneered by Carl Rogers
      • Incorporate total acceptance and unconditional positive regard of the patient in therapy sessions
other kinds of psychotherapy
Other Kinds of Psychotherapy
  • Family systems therapy
  • Eclectic therapy
  • Brief therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Self-help groups
  • Hypnosis
  • Virtual reality therapy?
therapy related questions
Therapy related questions
  • Read the text in order to look at answers to the key questions listed below.
    • Does therapy help?
    • What is the best therapy technique?
    • Why even see an experienced therapist?
    • What is essential for a successful therapy experience?
that s all for today
That’s all for today…
  • In the next class, we’ll be discussing specific disorders.
  • See you then.