Psychological Disorders

Savannah, Kayleigh, Ben, Creigh, Fatima

Identify the criteria for judging whether behavior is psychologically disordered.

  • Behavior is considered disordered when it is unusual or unaccepted, distressful, or dysfunctional.

  • Deviant behavior is one that does not occur in other people in a specific culture.

  • Distressful is when a person feels anxiety, sadness, or pain.

  • Dysfunctional behavior is when a person is not acting properly, and is different from the normal social behavior.

  • Most people reflect one or two of these criteria. They usually don’t represent all types of psychologically disordered behavior.

  • Mental health workers view psychological disorders as harmful thoughts, feelings, or actions

Contrast the medical model of psychological disorders with the biopsychosocial approach to the disordered behavior.

The medical model of abnormal psychology treats mental disorders in the same way as a broken arm; there is thought to be a physical cause. Supporters of the medical model consequently consider symptoms to be outward signs of the inner physical disorder and believe that if symptoms are grouped together and classified into a ‘syndrome’ the true cause can eventually be discovered and appropriate physical treatment administered.

The idea that mental states are influenced by many interacting processes, such as bodily processes, personality dispositions and life events, is a very old one. The biopsychosocial approach addresses the complexity of interactions between different domains of functioning and argues that it is the interaction of domains that illuminate important processes. Supporters of the biopsychosocial model suggest that there is now considerable evidence that from the day we are born, the quality of our social relationships has a major impact on a host of physiological systems, including cardiovascular, immune and hormonal ones. The way these mature in the contexts of loving, abusive or neglectful environments affects dispositions for affect regulation. There is a growing notion on the importance of the quality of attachment relationships to brain maturation and that internal working models of attachment (models that can increase vulnerability to later disorders) reflect physiological as well as psychological differences. Negative experiences for example, such as parental unresponsiveness, coldness and abuse are associated with various stress responses, which can ultimately lead to abnormal behavior.

Describe the goals and content of DSM-IV.

  • Published in 1994 by the American Psychiatric Association

  • referred to as the “bible” of psychiatric diagnostics because it contains definitions, symptoms, and characteristics of disorders that are recognized by by clinicians around the world

  • It contains a structured interview technique that clinicians can use to come to a diagnosis.

  • They ask questions posed at five different axes

    • Axis 1- the principal disorder (needs immediate attention)

    • Axis 2- personality disorder (shaping current response according to axis 1)

    • Axis 3- any medical or neurological problems (confusing asthma with panic attack)

    • Axis 4- the major psychological stressors

    • Axis 5- codes the “level of function” during the assessment

Discuss the potential dangers and benefits of using diagnostic labels.

  • The benefits of using diagnostic labels include the ability to convey a large amount of information within it. Another advantage of using diagnostic labels comes about during the research to psychopathological syndromes etiology. Researching and obtaining information on a particular mental disability would be close to impossible without a standard in which to choose participants for the study, and assess individuals. Without diagnostic labels, it is hard to understand what exactly a psychologist would be looking for when assessing certain subjects. Diagnostic labels give a psychologist background information on the patient.

  • The dangers in diagnostic labels is the tendency to use the “all or nothing” thinking. Another concern with diagnostic labels is the way in which one is diagnosed. There are multiple systems used in the process of diagnosing and individual, and it is extremely important to use proven and reliable methods in diagnosis. If proper methods are not taken into consideration, a patient could potentially be misdiagnosed. The use of diagnostic labels has the potential to open up serious civil violations or lapses in treatment. Diagnosing the problem is one thing, however treating it is another. A good clinician will not only determine the problem, but use the diagnosis as a tool in determining and providing the proper treatment.

Define anxiety disorders, and explain how these conditions differ from normal feelings of stress, tension, or uneasiness.

Stress and other conditions mentioned are caused by an existing stress-causing factor or stressor. Anxiety is stress that continues after that stressor is gone.

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: anxiety or worry that lasts only 6 months
  • Specific Phobia: fear of an object or situation
  • Social Phobia : Feeling of anxiety when facing with certain social interaction. The result is a person tends to avoid certain types of social gatherings.
  • Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia: they have unexpected panic attacks. During a panic attack, a person has symptoms such as heart palpitations, sweating, trembling, dizziness, chest pain, and fear of losing control, going crazy, or dying. Agoraphobia is losing control in public places.
  • Obsessive-compulsive Disorder: Obsessions are ideas, thoughts, impulses, or images that are persistent and cause anxiety or distress. A person usually feels that the obsessions are inappropriate but uncontrollable.Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that help to prevent or relieve anxiety.
  • Post–traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A person with this disorder re-experiences a highly traumatic event and avoids stimuli associated with the trauma.