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Abnormal Psychology

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Meghan Durkee

on 5 May 2015

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Transcript of Abnormal Psychology

What is it? What isn't it?
Abnormal Psychology
What is Abnormal?
"Normal" is a bad word.
It's bad because what is normal to one isn't normal to another. What is normal in one culture is abnormal in another culture.
So how can psychology classify something as "normal"?
Let's explore that criteria...
Anxiety Disorders:
Originally called neuroses.
Dissociative & Somatoform Disorders
People with these disorders may show multiple personalities, have amnesia that cannot be explained by physical causes, or assume a completely new self-identity.
Types of Mood Disorders:
Depressive Disorders
Bipolar Disorders
Major Depressive Disorder:
feel sad and may experience feelings of worthlessness, changes in sleep or appetite, lethargy, and loss of interest in pleasurable activities.
Seasonal Affective Disorder:
people experience severe depression in the fall and winter, followed by elevated moods during the spring and summer. This can be treated with exposure to strong artificial light or being outside in natural light on sunny days during those seasons.
Dysthymic Disorder:
tend to be dispirited or "down in the dumps" for five years or longer. More common in women, as is major depressive disorder.
Personality Disorders
DID is its own classification of a disorder. These disorders are classified according to a rigid pattern of behavior.
What about other personality disorders?
Paranoid personality disorder:
high levels of suspiciousness of the motives ad intentions of others, but without the outright paranoid delusions associated with paranoid schizophrenia.
Schizoid Personality Disorder:
aloof and distant from others, with shallow, or blunted emotions.
Schizotypal personality disorder:
persistent difficulties establishing close social relationships, holding beliefs or showing behaviors that are odd or peculiar, but not clearly as psychotic.
Borderline personality disorder
: a failure to develop a stable, self-image, together with a pattern of tumultuous moods and stormy relationships with others and lack of impulse control
Let's look at an example
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Name comes from Greek, meaning "split brain"

More common in men than women.
Men also develop it earlier than women
Men experience it more severely
To be considered "abnormal" in a field of psychology, psychologists depend on a combination of the following criteria:
Behavior only experienced by a few. This is not the same as "exceptional" behavior in regards to talent or intelligence, but behavior that doesn't seem to make sense and is "unusual" or confusing.
Social Deviance.
All societies establish norms and standards. If the behavior is the extreme opposite or has strong tension with the societal norms, it can fall under the category of "abnormal."
Emotional distress.
Anxiety or depression are considered "abnormal" when inappropriate, excessive, or prolonged relative to a person's situation. PTSD or PPD are examples of how this is abnormal.
Maladaptive behavior.
If it causes personal distress, self-defeating, or is associated with health, social or occupational problems.
Violent or dangerous behavior that is out of context of the social environment can be "abnormal."
Faulty perceptions or interpretations of reality
. Hallucinations and delusions that represent a faulty reality are big signals of abnormal psychosis.
There is a system to classify psychological disorders. You will be handed a copy of that chart now to review and study.
Before we go on, let's see first hand the humanity in psychological disorders.
The most common are phobias, panic disorders, generalized anxiety disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorders.
irrational or excessive fears of particular objects or situations.
3 Types:
Social phobias
Specific phobia
Agoraphobia (venturing into open spaces, going out in public).
Panic Disorders
Intense physical symptoms that include: profuse sweating, nausea, numbness or tingling, flushes or chills, trembling, chest pain, shortness of breath, and pounding of the heart.
Can happen very suddenly, but can last a few minutes to more than an hour. They seem to come out of nowhere, but when the person comes down, they can usually identify the source of panic.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Experience persistent anxiety that doesn't link to any person or object.

People tend to worry about everything.

It's not as intense as a panic disorder or phobia, but there's constantly worry occurring in the person's brain.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Experience persistent obsessions and/or compulsions.
Nagging and uncontrollable thoughts.
Dissociative Identity Disorder
Each personality can have its own distinctive traits, manner of speech, and memories. In some cases, its own eyeglass prescriptions.
Dissociative Amnesia
Experience long losses of personal information and memories. Usually a traumatic or stressful experience trigger this.
Somatoform disorders
These disorders bridge the domains of physical and mental illness. People have physical complaints that cannot be explained medically.
Conversion disorders: a person suffers a loss of physical function, such as loss of movement in a limb, loss of vision, or loss of feeling in a hand or arm. But, no physical cause can account for these.
preoccupied that something terrible is wrong with their health.
They have physical complaints or symptoms, which they believe are signs of serious illness
Although doctors can reassure them that nothing is wrong, then they may go "doctor shopping" to find someone who will find something wrong.
Depressive Disorders
Bipolar Disorder
mood swings
that shift between periods of euphoric or elevated mood or manic episodes and periods of depession.
Manic episodes
are periods of either unusually elevated moods (doesn't mean happy always) and extreme restlessness. People having a manic episode tend to be aggressive or violent during an episode and lack censoring abilities.
Causes of Mood Disorders
Psychological Factors:
Psychodynamic Theory:
depression involves anger turned inward against the self
Behavioral Model:
changes in reinforcement levels, one must achieve balance in the effort one exerts and the reinforcement one receives; this evolves into a cycle, less motivated we feel, less effort we exert, less reinforcement we receive
Cognitive Theory:
the way one interprets events contributes to emotional disorders like depression; people who have a distorted way of thinking are likely to become more depressed.
Learned helplessness Model:
people become depressed when they come to believe they are helpless to control the reinforcements in their lives
There are biological contributors, but not enough is known yet about this contribution.
Investigators are studying the genetic relationship in genes with neurotransmitters in the brain, which is what anti-depressant medication support to balance out.
A personality disorder impairs a person's ability to adjust to the demands they face in the environment and that interfere with their relationships with others.
There is a lengthy list of disorders, but we'll concentrate on the following:
narcissistic personality disorder
paranoid personality disorder
schizoid personality disorder
borderline personality disorder
antisocial personality disorder
Antisocial personality disorder is the most widely studied.
These people are often referred to as "psychopaths" or "sociopaths."
They show a flagrant disregard for the rules of society
Lack concern for the welfare of others
They have contact with reality, they are not "psychotic"
They tend to act on impulse, do what they want, when they want
Are typically irresponsible and take advantage of others for personal gain
Lack remorse for mistreatment or misdeeds of others
Appeal untroubled by anxiety and undeterred by threats of punishment or actual punishment.
Antisocial personality disorders are associated with greater risk of criminal activity, but not all sociopaths are criminals.
People with antisocial personality development may display higher levels of intelligence than the average person and possess a lot of charm, which draws people in.

It's more common among men than women.
What causes this?
Abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex
Suggests this could be genetic
But, also environmental reasons:
Raised in neglect, abuse, rejection, use of harsh punishment, & lack of parental warmth
Histrionic personality disorder
: Dramatic and emotional behavior; excessive demands to be the center of attention; excessive needs for reassurance, praise, and approval.
Narcissistic personality disorder:
grandiose self-image and excessive needs for admiration
Avoidant personality disorder:
pattern of avoiding social relationships out of fear of rejection
Dependent personality disorder:
pattern of excessive dependence on others and difficulty making independent decisions
Typically develops late in adolescence. The symptoms vary culture to culture, but it exists across all cultures.
Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder.
An individual confuses reality with fantasy.
Hallucinations (hearing voices) and delusions (seeing things that aren't there) are common.

People may exhibit bizarre behavior, incoherent speech, and illogical thinking.
Disorganized Type:
confused behavior, incoherent speech, vivid and frequent hallucinations, inappropriate emotions or lack of emotional expression, and disorganized delusions that often have religious or sexual themes. They may giggle inappropriately, act silly, or talk nonsensically. They tend to neglect personal hygiene, may have difficulty controlling their bladders or bowels, and have significant problems relating to others.
Catatonic Type:
show bizarre movements, postures, or grimaces. Some persist in a motionless or stuporous state for hours and then abruptly switch into a highly agitated state. Others display highly unusual body movements or positions.
Catatonic Type:
May show no communication and lack of interaction with environment one moment and later report that they heard what was said to them in that moment. They may also show waxy flexibility where they mold their body into uncomfortable positions.
Paranoid Type:
The most common form, delusions accompanied by frequent auditory hallucinations. Delusions have themes of grandeur (thinking one is Jesus or can fly), persecution (being sought after by demons or the Mafia), or jealousy (believing a loved one is unfaithful despite absence of all evidence).
Genetic Factors: Twins and immediate family are more likely to show a likelihood that the person will have it. Many genes cause the disorder, not only one. Only 13% of people who developed schizophrenia had a parent with it.
Stressors: If genetics were the only factor, then the statistic would be 100%, which is why psychologists believe that significant stress in one's life triggers the gene's effects. These stresses may include brain trauma, child abuse or neglect, and persistent and intense family conflict.
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