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Human Behavior Problems and Diseases. Copyright 2010. Topics to be Covered:. Common brain problems Specific nervous system diseases Alcoholism and drug abuse. What Can Happen to the Brain:. Chemical messengers (transmitters) in the brain can be enhanced or suppressed.

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human behavior problems and diseases

Human Behavior Problems and Diseases

Copyright 2010.

topics to be covered
Topics to be Covered:
  • Common brain problems
  • Specific nervous system diseases
  • Alcoholism and drug abuse
what can happen to the brain
What Can Happen to the Brain:
  • Chemical messengers (transmitters) in the brain can be enhanced or suppressed.

Change the anatomy and modify neural pathways

  • Cells and/or fiber tracts may die

Damage to brain can make us behave badly, cripple us, or even destroy our personality and sense of self.

major brain problems
Major Brain Problems:
  • Addiction – compulsive behavior or cravings
  • Alzheimer's disease- causes death of nerve cells, first in the outer parts of brain (cerebral cortex) that gives us our personality and our ability to think
  • Depression - severe state of feeling bad that is continuous most of the day, every day
  • Stroke - interruption of blood supply to brain, due either to hemorrhage or to blocked arteries
  • Epilepsy - random episodes of convulsions
  • Trauma - concussion, ruptures of nerve tracts due to mechanical forces (such as sports injuries, car crashes, etc.)
  • Schizophrenia - complex, abnormal behaviors and thought disorders
  • Parkinson's disease- continuous trembling that progresses to poor ability to move

People Affected

by Brain Disorders Are:

  • from all regions 
  • all countries 
  • all societies
  • women and men at all stages of life 
  • among the rich and poor
  • among people living in urban and rural areas
many people have brain behavior problems
Many People Have Brain & Behavior Problems
  • Recent analyses done by World Health Organization show that about 10% of peoplein the world suffer from a

mental disorders attributable to diseases of the nervous system.

    • This calculates to be about

450 million people

some nervous system diseases are common in children children
Some Nervous System Diseases Are Common in Children Children
  • Clinical Depression
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Autism
Depression is a serious medical illness that can lead to suicide!

Clinical Depression is feeling

"down" and "low" and “hopeless" for weeks at a time.

Feeling "down in the dumps" or "blue" for a few days is NOTdepression.

you can do things to prevent depression
You Can Do Things to Prevent Depression!
  • People can change how they respond to bad events
  • Two basic “explanatory styles” for dealing with bad happenings:
    • Optimism: belief that the problem is temporary, an isolated case, and not caused by an inevitable personal deficiency
    • Pessimism: belief that the problem is permanent, a generalizable problem, and is caused by an inevitable personal deficiency
forms of depression
Forms of Depression:

Most Common:

Major Depressive Disorder

Dysthymic Disorder -low grade depression

Less Common:

Psychotic Depression

Postpartum Depression

Seasonal Affective Disorder

no single known cause of depression
No Single Known Cause of Depression :
  • Most likely, it comes from a combination of
    • Genetic
    • Biochemical
    • Environmental
    • Psychological factors
signs and symptoms of depression
Signs and Symptoms of Depression:
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed
depression and other illnesses often co exist
Depression and Other Illnesses Often Co-exist:
  • Other illnesses may
    • precede the depression
    • cause it
    • and/or be a consequence of it
  • Mechanisms behind depression and other illnesses differ for every person and situation.
  • Research has indicated that the co–existence of mood disorders and substance abuse (alcohol, drugs) is common among the U.S. population.
research indicates that depressive illnesses are disorders of the brain
Research Indicates that Depressive Illnesses are Disorders of the Brain
  • It has been shown that the brains of people who have depression look different than those of people without depression.
  • Parts of the brain function abnormally, like those responsible for regulating mood, thinking, sleep, appetite and behavior.
  • Also, important neurotransmitters appear to be out of balance.

Discuss the differences in these two pictures.

post traumatic stress disorder ptsd
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):
  • PTSD develops after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened.
  • Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include:
    • violent personal assaults
    • natural or human-caused disasters
    • accidents
    • military combat

Firefighters at the site of The World Trade Center attacks.

ptsd symptoms
PTSD Symptoms:

Symptoms can include but are

not limited to:

  • Persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal
  • Feel emotionally numb, especially with people they were once close to
  • Sleep problems
  • Feeling detached or numb
  • Easily startled
ptsd symptoms in children
PTSD Symptoms in Children:

Symptoms in children may include:

  • Bedwetting, when they’d learned how to use the toilet before.
  • Forgetting how or being unable to talk.
  • Acting out the scary event during playtime.
  • Being unusually clingy with a parent or other adult.
lasting affects of ptsd
Lasting Affects of PTSD:
  • In PTSD, the natural “fight-or-flight” response is changed or damaged.
  • People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they’re no longer in danger.

The brain is like a machine, all the parts need to work properly!

triggering ptsd
Triggering PTSD:

“PTSD often smolders at a sort of sub-threshold level,” said Barry Fisher, MD, medical director of the behavioral medicine clinic at Highland Drive VA Hospital in Pittsburgh.

“A current life stressor—losing a job, getting divorced—can tip the balance, because it brings anxiety and triggers thoughts about the last time the person felt he was in a life-threatening situation.”

autism occurs early in chldhood
Autism Occurs Early in Chldhood
  • Autism is a neurological disorder that impacts the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction and communication skills.
  • Experts estimate autism occurs in one of every one-hundred births and 1 to 1.5 million Americans are living with autism.
  • It is the 2nd most common developmental disorder. Ranges in severity.
autism has serious consequences
Autism Has Serious Consequences
  • Causes severe and pervasive impairment in thinking, feeling, language, and the ability to relate to others.
  • Can be diagnosed as early as 18 months of age.
autism symptoms are easy to spot
Autism Symptoms Are Easy to Spot:

Possible Indicators:

  • Does not babble, point, or make meaningful gestures by 1 year of age
  • Does not speak one word by 16 months
  • Does not combine two words by 2 years
  • Does not respond to name
  • Loses language or social skills


  • Poor eye contact
  • Doesn't seem to know how to play with toys
  • Excessively lines up toys or other objects
  • Is attached to one particular toy or object
  • Doesn't smile
  • At times seems to be hearing impaired
psychology is the study of the mind
Psychology Is the Study of the Mind
  • Psychology is an academic and applied discipline which involves the scientific study of human or animal mental functions and behaviors.
many mental functions are studied by psychologists
Many Mental Functions Are Studied by Psychologists
  • Psychologists study such phenomena as
    • Perception
    • Cognition
    • Attention
    • Emotion
    • Motivation
    • Personality
    • Behavior
    • Interpersonal relationships
psychology includes treatment
Psychology Includes Treatment
  • Two approaches: medicines, “cognitive” therapy, often in combination
  • Medications: adjust levels of neurotransmitters
  • Cognitive therapy aims to identify troubling emotions, their causes, and how to think through a solution.
alcoholism is not rare
Alcoholism Is Not Rare:
  • Signs:
    • Drinking excessive amounts frequently
    • Inability to curb drinking despite medical, psychological, or social complications
    • Increased tolerance to alcohol
    • Occurrence of withdrawal symptoms when the person stops drinking
  • People Affected:
    • 7.4% of U.S. population, mostly young people
addiction is a compulsive behavior
Addiction is a Compulsive Behavior:

Two basic kinds:

  • Psychological - you do it because you like how it feels = positive reinforcement
  • Physical - you do it because your body now requires it for normal function
    • Degree of physical addictiveness scale (worst to least): nicotine, cocaine, amphetamines, narcotics, alcohol)

Most addictions begin as psychological