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Abnormal Psychology. Psychological Disorders How common are they?. 1994: Michigan Institute for Social Research Nearly ½ of people age 15-54 have experienced at least one bout with psych disorder Psych disorders peak between ages 25 and 34 Only 1 out of 4 ever receive help

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psychological disorders how common are they
Psychological DisordersHow common are they?
  • 1994: Michigan Institute for Social Research
    • Nearly ½ of people age 15-54 have experienced at least one bout with psych disorder
    • Psych disorders peak between ages 25 and 34
    • Only 1 out of 4 ever receive help
    • Many are mild, thus recover without help
    • Most common disorders
      • Major depressive episode, alcohol dependence, social phobia, simple phobia
psych disorders in the u s
Psych Disorders in the U.S. ….
  • Psych disorders are often culturally based…
    • Examples p. 8
  • Michigan study…
    • ¼ of Americans met criteria for mental illness within prior year
    • ¼ of those had serious disorder
  • U.S. posed to rank #1 in mental illness…
  • So what is a mental illness and what criteria qualify somehow as mentally ill…?
what is abnormal psych
What is Abnormal Psych??
  • Abnormal Psychology
    • Study of people who suffer from psychological disorders
    • Behavior and or thoughts
    • From depression, substance abuse, learning difficulties to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
what constitutes abnormal
What constitutes Abnormal?
  • 4 Criteria to characterize as abnormal
    • Unjustifiable (irrational) : can’t justify / doesn’t make sense
    • Maladaptive: Harmful / disturbing to the individual
    • Atypical (unusual): not shared by members of population
    • Disturbing (irrational): Disturbing to others
  • All or most not required to be diagnosed


  • “Deviant, Distressful, Dysfunctional”
dsm iv
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
    • Resource to diagnose patients (only)
    • Symptoms of everything considered to be psychological disorder
    • 16 clinical syndromes
    • Weakness: assumption / labeling of mental illness based on symptoms…
rosenhan study
Rosenhan Study
  • Dangers of labeling patients with disorders
    • 8 participants who faked symptoms
    • All acted completely normal except for testifying to hearing voices (3 words)
    • All diagnosed with Schizophrenia and discharged as “Schizophrenia in remission”
    • Average stay in institutions- 18 days
perspectives on causes
Perspectives on Causes…
  • Psychoanalytic theorists
    • Unconscious conflicts (traumatic events during psychosexual stages)
  • Behaviorists
    • History of reinforcement
  • Cognitive theorists
    • Maladaptive ways of thinking
  • Humanistic theorists
    • A person’s feelings, self-esteem, self-concept
  • Biomedical theorists
    • Hormonal / neurotransmitter imbalances, brain structure, genetic abnormalities
an eclectic approach
An Eclectic Approach
  • Specific fields are not exclusive to their theories
  • Consider any/ all theories as potential influence to a specific illness
6 major types of disorders
6 Major Types of Disorders…
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Somatoform disorders (psych issue causes physiological problem)
  • Dissociative disorders (disruption in conscious processes)
  • Mood / affective disorders (extreme / inappropriate emotions)
  • Schizophrenic disorders: (Disordered, distorted thinking)
  • Personality Disorders: (Maladaptive behavior that affects functioning)
don t get paranoid
Don’t Get Paranoid…
  • Intern’s Syndrome
    • Tendency to see in oneself the characteristics of a disorder one is studying.
anxiety disorders
Anxiety Disorders
  • When do we classify it as a disorder?
    • Distressing, persistent anxiety or maladaptive behaviors to reduce anxiety
  • Think of one of one of the most stressful moments or events in your lifetime. Choose three adjectives to describe how you felt and three physical characteristics that you experienced.
    • Heart palpitations, sweaty palms, dizziness, ringing in ears, muscular tension, sleeplessness....
types of anxiety disorders
Types of Anxiety Disorders
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
    • Constant low-level anxiety (nervousness)
    • 2/3 are women
    • Patient can’t identify its cause and thus can’t deal with or avoid it.
    • Often accompanied by depression
    • Tense, jittery, muscular tension, agitation, sleeplessness, difficulty concentrating (fidgeting, twitching, trembling)
panic disorders
Panic Disorders
  • Acute episodes of intense anxiety without provocation (panic attack)
  • Tend to increase in frequency (minutes long)
  • 1 in 75 (smokers 2-4 x more likely)
  • Heart palpitations, shortness of breath, choking sensations, trembling, dizziness…
  • “feels like a heart attack”
  • Charles Darwin (age 28)
  • Focuses anxiety on a specific object, activity or situation.
    • Irrational fear that disrupts behavior
    • Identify these phobias:
      • Agoraphobia
      • Social phobia
      • Androphobia
      • Coulrophobia
      • Cynophobia
      • Didaskaleinophobia
obsessive compulsive disorder
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • OCD
  • Persistent obsessive (uncontrollable) thoughts lead to compulsive (uncontrollable) actions
  • Obsession creates anxiety / reduced by compulsive behavior
  • Cleanliness, security, symmetry, organization
  • Often late teens, early twenties (2-3%)
  • Howard Hughes
post traumatic stress disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • PTSD
  • Cause: experiencing / witnessing a traumatic event (fear, helplessness, horror)
  • Nightmares, flashbacks, social withdrawal, insomnia
  • Combat veterans, disaster or accident survivors, sexual assault victims, 2/3 of prostitutes
  • Basic trust erodes, sense of hopelessness
  • 15% of Vietnam vets (45% for heavy combat)
  • 1 in 6 Iraqi combat infantry veterans
theories explaining anxiety disorders
Theories Explaining Anxiety Disorders
  • Brainstorm with a partner.
  • How would the Psychoanalytic theorist explain the cause of anxiety disorders?
  • Create an example.
    • Unconscious conflict
    • Conflict of id, ego, superego
    • Anxiety disorder is the outward manifestation of an internal, unconscious conflict
theories explaining anxiety disorders1
Theories Explaining Anxiety Disorders
  • How would the behavioral theorist explain the cause of anxiety disorders?
  • Learned response: Classical, or Operant learning
  • Provide an example for each. (Pick a specific anxiety disorder for the example.)
  • Chronically anxious, ulcer-prone rats by unpredictable electric shock
theories explaining anxiety disorders2
Theories Explaining Anxiety Disorders
  • How would the cognitive theorist explain the cause of anxiety disorders?
  • Dysfunctional , maladaptive ways of thinking
  • Example:
  • GAD the result of unreasonably high standards set for oneself: thus constant anxiety from impossibility of meeting goals
theories explaining anxiety disorders3
Theories Explaining Anxiety Disorders
  • Biological Perspective
  • Natural Selection
    • Fear of spiders, snakes, storms, heights etc. increase survival (genetic)
  • Genes
    • Twin studies (together and apart)
  • The Brain
    • OCD: Anterior cingulate cortex: monitors actions, checks for errors (hyperactive region- like a hiccup…)
theories explaining anxiety disorders4
Theories Explaining Anxiety Disorders
  • Two biggest perspectives today:
    • Behavioral (learning) and biological
mood disorders
Mood Disorders
  • Experiencing extreme or inappropriate emotions.
    • Two major forms:
      • Major depression (unipolar depression)
      • Bipolar Disorder (manic depression)
major depressive disorder
Major Depressive Disorder
  • “common cold” of psychological disorders
  • Biggest cause of therapy (mental health services)
  • 2 weeks or more (with absence of clear reason)
  • Fatigue, loss of appetite, feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, disinterestedness, changed sleeping patterns
  • SAD: Seasonal-Affective Disorder
facts about major depressive disorder
Facts about Major Depressive Disorder
  • Women are nearly 2 x more likely to have it
  • Leading cause of disability worldwide (5.8 % of men, 10.5% of women)
  • Most major depressive episodes self-terminate
  • Stressful events often precede depression
  • Rate is increasing with each new generation
bipolar disorder
Bipolar Disorder
  • Depressed and manic episodes (alternate)
  • Depression- typical characteristics
  • (1% of pop. , equal between genders, yrs. 20-30)
  • Manic- high energy (and often highly illogical)
    • Overly active, elated, outspoken, less sexual inhibition
    • Often reckless, poor judgment
    • Mild cases can produce creative genius
famous folks with disorders

Abraham Lincoln

Winston Churchill

Meriwether Lewis

Emily Dickenson

Isaac Newton


Woody Allen

Buzz Aldrin

Drew Carey

Harrison Ford

Beyonce Knowles


Walt Whitman

Ernest Hemingway

Virginia Wolf

Mark Twain

Edgar Allen Poe

Kurt Cobain

Mel Gibson

Ozzy Osbourne

Robert Downey Jr.

“Famous Folks with Disorders”
explaining mood disorders
Explaining Mood Disorders

Biological Perspective

  • Whole-body disorder
  • Genetic predispositions (runs in families), biochemical imbalances
  • Neurotransmission
    • Norepinephrine (increases arousal, mood)
      • Too little = depression
      • Too much = mania
    • Serotonin
      • Too little = depression (Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil) / Exercise!
explaining mood disorders1
Explaining Mood Disorders

Social-Cognitive Perspective(Cognitive-Behavioral)

  • Aaron Beck: Cognitive Triad
    • Depression stems from unreasonably negative ideas about oneself, one’s setting and one’s future
    • (Thus depression is mostly cognition based, not mood based)
  • Martin Seligman
    • Learned Helplessness (prior events convince a person of the inability to control future) = passivity and depression
    • More prevalent in Western societies
      • Epidemic hopelessness due to individualism and decline of commitment to family and religion
the social cognitive dilemma
The Social-Cognitive Dilemma
  • Chicken and Egg Argument
  • Does learned hopelessness, self-defeating beliefs and negative explanatory styles cause depression, or does depression cause them…???
depression s vicious cycle
Depression’s Vicious Cycle
  • Characteristics, factors of depression tend to promote each other in a wicked cycle…
    • helplessness, lethargy, sorrow, isolation, dismissal, failure
somatoform disorders
Somatoform Disorders
  • “soma” = body
  • Psychological problem manifested in a physiological symptom (IOW: physical problem without a physical cause)
  • Common among those claiming disability
  • Two major disorders:
    • hypochondriasis: imagined or exaggerated illnesses (no medical cause)
    • Conversion disorder: involves motor or sensory problems with no biological explanation / cause
      • Conversion blindness, conversion paralysis
explaining somatoform
Explaining Somatoform
  • Psychoanalytic
    • Outward manifestations of unconscious conflict
  • Behaviorists
    • Reinforcement for behavior (can’t work or sympathy / attention)
clinical distinction
Clinical Distinction…
  • Somatoform patient: unconscious of psychological causes (does not seek to maintain role of patient)
  • factitious patient: Consciously creating the symptoms, …prolonging role of patient
  • Malingering patient: consciously creating symptoms,…end goal (often financial)
dissociative disorders
Dissociative Disorders
  • Disruption in conscious processes (lose identity)
  • Usually from traumatic event
  • Famous films: Sybil, Three Faces of Eve, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
types of dissociative disorders
Types of Dissociative Disorders
  • Psychogenic Amnesia: Amnesia with no physiological basis
    • biologically induced amnesia = organic amnesia)
  • Fugue = Psychogenic Amnesia + unfamiliar environment (fugue = flight / loss of identity and flee)
types of dissociative disorders1
Types of Dissociative Disorders
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)
    • AKA Multiple Personality Disorder
    • Usually from traumatic event / overwhelming stress(high % report child abuse)
    • often at young age (3-5 years)
    • Self-protection / coping mechanism
    • Distinctive identities for different events (toddler to adult)
    • Norm- 3-6 identities (2 to qualify)
    • Almost entirely confined to N. America
    • Very controversial as medical diagnosis
explaining dissociative disorders
Explaining Dissociative Disorders
  • Psychoanalytic theorist:
    • Extremely traumatic event so repressed that causes split in consciousness
  • Behaviorist
    • putting event out of mind is reinforcing (to feel better)
  • Disordered / distorted thinking
    • Breakdown in selective attention (Can’t filter out information)
  • Disturbed perceptions
    • Delusions: beliefs that have no basis in reality
      • Delusions of persecution = paranoia
      • Delusions of grandeur = greatness
    • Hallucinations: Perceptions in the absence of sensory stimulation
  • Inappropriate actions / emotions
things to consider
Things to consider…
  • Most severe of psych disorders
  • Usually starts in late teens / early twenties
  • 1 out of every 100 people have Schizophrenia
types of schizophrenia
Types of Schizophrenia
  • Disorganized Schizophrenia
  • Paranoid Schizophrenia
  • Catatonic Schizophrenia
  • Undifferentiated Schizophrenia
  • Acute vs. Chronic Schizophrenia
    • What’s the difference?
    • Acute: Abrupt display of symptoms- can be short duration and never return or become longterm issue
    • Chronic: Long-term struggle with Schizophrenia
disorganized schizophrenia
Disorganized Schizophrenia
  • Odd use of language (Word Salad = fragmented speech
      • Neologisms: made up words
      • Clang associations: string together nonsense words that rhyme
  • Inappropriate effect:
    • Laugh in sorrowful setting
    • Flat effect: no emotional response at all
paranoid schizophrenia
Paranoid Schizophrenia
  • Delusions of persecution
  • “out to get me”
catatonic schizophrenia
Catatonic Schizophrenia
  • Engage in odd movements
  • Remain motionless for hours (odd positions / poses / Waxy flexibility
  • parrot-like repeating of speech, movement
undifferentiated schizophrenia
Undifferentiated Schizophrenia
  • Disordered thinking, but no symptoms of other types of Schizophrenia
schizophrenic symptoms 2 types
Positive Symptoms

Excesses in behavior, thought, mood

Negative Symptoms

Deficits, such as flat effect, or catatonia. (Absence of normal behavior)

Schizophrenic Symptoms: 2 Types
explaining schizophrenia
Explaining Schizophrenia
  • Biological
    • Dopamine hypothesis
      • Excessive levels = Schizophrenia (average 6x normal levels)
    • Enlarged brain ventricles
    • Genetic predispositions
    • Abnormality of 5th chromosome
  • Social-Cognitive
    • Double binds: contradictory messages = distorted ways of thinking
personality disorders notes dark green
Personality Disorders(Notes = Dark Green)
  • Enduring, maladaptive behavior that negatively affects one’s ability to function.
  • Usually less serious than other disorders.
  • Nurture based
personality disorder
Personality Disorder
  • Antisocial disorder (most serious)
    • No regard for others’ feelings / world as hostile / look out for oneself / absence of conscience
    • No fear, no shame
    • serial criminals, serial killers (worst case)
    • Electric shock: no increased anxiety in anticipation
    • Causes: Both Biological and Psychological
      • Nurture influential: hero or villain…
more personality disorders
More Personality Disorders
  • Borderline Personality
    • Disorder of emotions (intense instability) self-mutilation
    • Severe anxiety, depression
  • Dependant personality disorder
    • Overly dependant on attention, help from others
  • Paranoid Personality Disorder
    • Feel persecuted, very distrustful
  • Narcissistic Disorder
    • Self-love, grandiose self-importance, entitlement, failed relationships, “”narcissistic paradox”
  • Histrionic Disorder: (center of attention)
    • Overly dramatic behavior
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
    • Overly concerned with thoughts and behaviors
other personality disorders
Other Personality Disorders
  • Paraphilia: sexual attraction to things not normally seen as sexual (object, person, activity) Examples below:
    • Pedophilia / children
    • Zoophilia / animals
    • Fetish (objects, shoes, feet etc.)
    • Voyeur: watching others sexual activity
    • Masochist / having pain inflicted on oneself
    • Sadist: inflicting pain on others
  • More common in men (exception is masochism)
other personality disorders1
Other Personality Disorders
  • Eating Personality Disorders
    • Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia
  • Substance Abuse Disorder (Addictions)
    • Drugs, alcohol
  • Developmental Disorders
    • Autism, Attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Personality disorders are more minor than other disorders ( in thought and behavior)
  • Example
    • Paranoid personality disorder
      • Suspicion of persecution, but not the delusions, hallucinations of the Paranoid Schizophrenic