a. Identify criteria that distinguish normal from disordered behavior, include: the criteria of distress, deviance, and dysfunction.
b. Describe methods used to diagnose and assess psychological disorders, include: the current version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the MMPI, and projective tests.
c. Analyze various psychological disorders and identify appropriate treatments, include: anxiety disorders, bipolar and depressive disorders, personality disorders, somatic disorders, and schizophrenia.
d. Analyze the challenges associated with labeling psychological disorders and the impact of diagnosis on patients.
e. Compare the biomedical, psychoanalytical, cognitive, and behavioral and humanistic approaches to the treatment of psychological disorders.
The question is: by whose standards are you “normal” or “abnormal” ? Depending on the society we live in, a behavior can be considered either normal or abnormal. In Japanese culture, honor is taken seriously, thus any incident that hurts one’s pride is worthy of self-killing or suicide. In the United States, however, the first thought that comes to mind whenever someone kills himself is: clinical depression.
Thus, culture determines whether one’s behavior or suspected “psychological pathology” is abnormal or not. “Milder” and “somewhat accepted” bizarre behaviors, for instance, may be called “eccentric” instead of “abnormal.” An artist who paints with his own saliva, for instance, may be considered “eccentric” instead of “abnormal.”
In general, the four common features of an “abnormality” are: deviance, distress, dysfunction, and danger.
Any deviation from accepted norms in a society (or a culture) is considered abnormal. For instance, in western countries, talking to one’s self is enough to raise a red flag. However, in eastern countries where mysticism is considered an important part of life, talking to one’s self or appearing to have a different personality may be considered “the residence of a spirit in the body of a medium.” In psychological term, interestingly, the person is experiencing dissociative personality disorder. But in certain cultures, he might be considered a successful shaman.
Acting unusually doesn’t automatically make one “abnormal.” For instance, a solo world traveler rides his bike to 100 countries worldwide. We may think it’s “abnormal” but as long as it doesn’t give distress to the individual and others around him, it is simply “eccentric” instead of “abnormal.” When interviewed, the solo bike rider may even feel proud of his achievement as the first person who travels the world on a bicycle.
Another test of “abnormality” is whether a behavior causes a dysfunction in everyday activities. Grieving may take a while to pass, but a clinical depression doesn’t seem to pass and the person is likely to withdraw from everyday activities and to stop communication with family members and friends at some point.
Whenever an individual poses a risk of danger to herself or others, then it’s most likely that she is “abnormal.” However, this variable doesn’t occur in every case of “abnormality,” as many psychological pathologies don’t result in suicide or homicide. Though it’s an exception instead of a rule, any threat to “kill” or “harm” one’s self or others is definitely a vivid red flag. By understanding what constitutes an “abnormal” behavior, we should be able to observe ourselves and others in light of living the Good Life.
Reference: Comer, Ronald J. Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology. New York, NY: Worth Publishers. Defined by Jennie S. Bev, MS
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder defined by a persistent and excessive fear of an object or situation.
The phobia typically results in a rapid onset of fear and is present for more than six months.
The affected person goes to great lengths to avoid the situation or object, to a degree greater than the actual danger posed.
Phobia is not always related to an underlying condition. It may be caused by:
Self- care steps that may be helpful in some less- serious cases -
Mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in emotion, thinking or behavior (or a combination of these). Mental illnesses are associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities.'
Mental illness is common. In a given year:
Mental illness is treatable. The vast majority of individuals with mental illness continue to function in their daily lives.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a disorder in which people have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions). The repetitive behaviors, such as hand washing, checking on things or cleaning, can significantly interfere with a person’s daily activities and social interactions.
Many people have focused thoughts or repeated behaviors. But these do not disrupt daily life and may add structure or make tasks easier. For people with OCD, thoughts are persistent and unwanted routines and behaviors are rigid and not doing them causes great distress. Many people with OCD know or suspect their obsessions are not true; others may think they could be true (known as poor insight). Even if they know their obsessions are not true, people with OCD have a hard time keeping their focus off the obsessions or stopping the compulsive actions.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children. ADHD also affects many adults. Symptoms of ADHD include inattention (not being able to keep focus), hyperactivity (excess movement that is not fitting to the setting) and impulsivity (hasty acts that occur in the moment without thought).
An estimated 8.4 percent of children and 2.5 percent of adults have ADHD.1,2 ADHD is often first identified in school-aged children when it leads to disruption in the classroom or problems with schoolwork. It can also affect adults. It is more common among boys than girls.
Many ADHD symptoms, such as high activity levels, difficulty remaining still for long periods of time and limited attention spans, are common to young children in general. The difference in children with ADHD is that their hyperactivity and inattention are noticeably greater than expected for their age and cause distress and/or problems functioning at home, at school or with friends.
Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.
Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:
Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder that affects about one percent of the population.
When schizophrenia is active, symptoms can include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, trouble with thinking and lack of motivation. However, with treatment, most symptoms of schizophrenia will greatly improve and the likelihood of a recurrence can be diminished.
While there is no cure for schizophrenia, research is leading to innovative and safer treatments. Experts also are unraveling the causes of the disease by studying genetics, conducting behavioral research, and using advanced imaging to look at the brain’s structure and function. These approaches hold the promise of new and more effective therapies.
The complexity of schizophrenia may help explain why there are misconceptions about the disease. Schizophrenia does not mean split personality or multiple-personality. Most people with schizophrenia are not any more dangerous or violent than the general population. Most people with schizophrenia live with their family, in group homes or on their own.
Bipolar disorders are brain disorders that cause changes in a person’s mood, energy and ability to function. Bipolar disorder is a category that includes three different conditions — bipolar I, bipolar II and cyclothymic disorder.
People with bipolar disorders have extreme and intense emotional states that occur at distinct times, called mood episodes. These mood episodes are categorized as manic, hypomanic or depressive. People with bipolar disorders generally have periods of normal mood as well. Bipolar disorders can be treated, and people with these illnesses can lead full and productive lives.
The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is a psychological test that assesses personality traits and psychopathology. It is primarily intended to test people who are suspected of having mental health or other clinical issues.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association provides a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders. It is used in the United States and in varying degrees around the world, by clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and policy makers.
The current version is the DSM-V (fifth edition). It is organized into a five-part 'axis' system, with the first axis incorporating 'clinical disorders' and the second covering personality disorders and intellectual disabilities. The remaining axes cover related medical, psychosocial and environmental factors, as well as assessments of functioning for children.
PG · 1991 · 1hr 39min
Introduction to Psychological Disorders
What About Bob? portrays realistic psychological disorders from a comedic perspective, through the main character, Bob Wiley. Despite the gross exaggeration of some of Bob’s dysfunctional traits, the film does an exceptional job conveying the reality of these disorders and the affects associated with them.
The movie Sybil (1976) is based on true story of Sybil Dorsett (as a code name for Shirley Mason), who is an art teacher suffering from dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality disorder). She lived between 1923–1998 years and she was diagnosed by an American psychiatrist Cornelia B. Wilbur.
NR · 1976 · 3hr 18min
Dissociative Identity Disorder
View a video of choice and an assignment
Choose wisely! It is a project grade.
PG-13 · 2001 · 2hr 15min
PG-13 · 2001 · 2hr 12min
Autism Spectrum Disorder
PG-13 · 1996 · 1hr 45min
TV-PG · 1957 · 1hr 31min
Dissociative Identity Disorder
R · 1988 · 2hr 13min
R · 1999 · 2hr 7min
Borderline Personality Disorder
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