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Psychological Disorders

Unit 14
Introduction Psychological Disorders
Anxiety Disorders
Mood Disorders
Personality Disorders
Dissociative Disorders
Somotoform Disorders
Psychotic Disorders
Introduction to Psychological
• Psychological Disorder
– A harmful dysfunction in which behavior is
judged to be
• Atypical
• Disturbing
• Maladaptive
• and Unjustifiable

Historical Perspective
• Perceived Causes
– Movements of the sun or moon.
• Full moon == lunacy
– Evil spirits
• Ancient Treatments
– Exorcism, caged like animals, beaten, burned,
castrated, mutilated, blood replaced with
animal’s blood.
Biological Perspective
• “The Medical Model”
– Mental disorders as physical
– Brain abnormalities
– Chemical imbalances
– Birth difficulties
– High heritability
Psychodynamic perspective
• Sigmund Freud
• Unconscious conflicts and drives
• Early childhood trauma
• Therapy helps person become aware of
underlying conflicts
• Cognitive Perspective • Behavioral
– Conscious thoughts
– Learned maladaptive
– Learned maladaptive patterns of behavior
thought patterns cause cause mental disorder
mental disorders
Socio-Cultural Perspective
• Larger culture important to development of
mental disorders

• Supporting evidence from “culture-bound

– Anorexia and Bulimia in North America and
Western Europe
• Bio-Psycho-Social
– assumes that
Biological biological,
sociocultural, and
psychological factors
combine and interact to
produce psychological
Psychological Sociological disorders

Psychological disorder
• Predisposing causes • Precipitating causes
– In place before onset – Immediate events that
– Make person bring on the disorder
susceptible – Loss
– Inherited characteristics – Perceived threat
– Learned beliefs – When predisposition
– Sociocultural beliefs high, precipitating event
may be small
• Maintaining causes
– Consequences of the disorder keep disorder going once it begins
• Sometimes positive consequences, like extra attention from friends,
family & care professionals
• Sometimes negative consequences, like loss of friends, stigma, etc
Classifying Disorders
– Neurotic disorders
• Disorders that are distressing, but still allow one to
function in society
– Psychotic disorders
• A person loses contact with reality, experiencing
irrational ideas and distorted perceptions
Rates of Psychological Disorders
• 2.1 million inpatient admissions to US
hospitals and psychiatric units.
• Another 2.4 million have sought outpatient
• 15% of Americans are judged by health care
professionals as needing some psychiatric
help in the course of a year.
Rates of Psychological Disorders
• No known culture is free of schizophrenia
and depression.

• WHO reports that 400 million worldwide

suffer from a psychological disorder.

• Incidence of serious psychological disorders

is doubly high among those below the
poverty line.
Rates of Psychological Disorders
• 75% of people who will ever have a
psychological disorder experience the first
symptoms by age 24.
– Antisocial personality disorder and phobias
appear by a median age of 8 and 10.
Anxiety Disorders

• Generalized Anxiety Disorder
– A person is continually tense, apprehensive,
and in a state of autonomic nervous system

• Panic Disorder
– Anxiety disorder marked by minutes-long
episode of intense dread in which a person
experiences terror and accompanying chest
pain, choking, or other frightening sensations

• Phobias
– A persistent, irrational fear and avoidance of a
specific object or situation.

Percentage 90
of people 80
surveyed 70
Snakes Being Mice Flying Being Spiders Thunder Being Dogs Driving Being Cats
in high, on an closed in, and and alone a car In a
exposed airplane in a insects lightning In a crowd
places small house of people
place at night

Afraid of it Bothers slightly Not at all afraid of it

• Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
– Characterized by unwanted repetitive thoughts
(obsessions) and/or actions (compulsions)
– Obsessions
• Concern with dirt, germs of toxins - 40%
• Something terrible happening (fire, death, etc) – 24%
• Symmetry, order, or exactness – 85%
– Compulsions
• Excessive hand washing/ cleaning – 85%
• Repeating rituals – 51%
• Checking doors, locks, etc – 46%
Explaining Anxiety Disorders
• Learning Perspective • Biological Perspective
– Fear Conditioning – Evolution/ Natural
– Stimulus
Generalizations – Genes/ temperament

– Reinforcement – Physiology

– Observational – anterior cingulate

Learning cortex

– amygdala
Dissociative and Personality
Personality Disorders
• Disorders characterized by inflexible and
enduring behavior patterns that impair
social functioning.
– Histrionic Personality Disorder
– Narcissistic Personality Disorder
– Borderline Personality Disorder
– Antisocial Personality Disorder
• Histrionic Personality Disorder
– characterized by a pattern of excessive
emotionality and attention-seeking, including
an excessive need for approval and
inappropriate seductiveness, usually beginning
in early adulthood.

• Narcissistic Personality Disorder
– "a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for
admiration, and a lack of empathy."

• Borderline Personality Disorder
– "a pervasive pattern of instability of
interpersonal relationships, self-image and
affects, as well as marked impulsivity,
beginning by early adulthood and present in a
variety of contexts."

• Antisocial Personality Disorder
– "The essential feature for the diagnosis is a
pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation
of, the rights of others that begins in childhood
or early adolescence and continues into

Dissociative Disorders

• Dissociative Amnesia
– Loss of memory.
– Selective memory loss often brought on by
extreme stress
• Dissociative Fugue
– Flight from one’s home & identity accompanies
• Skeptics wonder if it’s strategic
Dissociative Disorders
• Dissociative Identity Disorder
– Person exhibits two or more distinct and
alternating personalities (dba. Multiple-Personality
– Supporting evidence
• Distinct brain & body states, handedness changes, different
– Contrary evidence
• Increasing diagnoses, increasing personalities
Somotoform Disorders
• Physical disorders which have
psychological causes.

– Hypochondria

– Conversion Reactions

Mood Disorders

• More than 32,000 suicides a year;
425,000 self-inflicted injuries per year
• 40-50% of college students have thought about
15% have attempted suicide.
• 1 out of 80 college students is the survivor of a
loved one’s suicide.
• 78% of all suicides are by men
– Firearms are most common for men; poison for women
• 17% of high school students have thought about suicide
• 2nd leading cause of death for 25-34 year-olds;
3rd leading cause of death for 15-24 year-olds
Common Characteristics
1. Unendurable 5. An attempt to end
psychological pain consciousness

2. Frustrated 6. Constrictions of
psychological need options

3. The search for a 7. Ambivalence

8. Communication of
4. Helplessness and intent (80%)
9. Departure

10. Lifelong coping

Warning Signs of Suicide
• Talking about suicide • Visiting or calling
• Statements about people that one cares
hopelessness, about but hasn’t
helplessness, or communicated with
worthlessness recently
• Preoccupation with • Making arrangements;
death setting one’s affairs in
• Suddenly happier,
calmer • Giving things away
• Loss of interest in
things one cares about 43
Mood Disorders
• Major Depressive • Prevalence:
Disorder 10-25% chance for women;
5-12% for men.

– A person, for no • Median age of onset: 25

apparent reason,
experiences two or more • Average Duration: 9
weeks of depressed months
moods, feelings of
worthlessness, and • 70% recurrence w/i 5 yrs;
diminished interest or 80% chance w/i 8 yrs
pleasure in most • 76% of patients respond to
activities anti-depressants
Mood Disorders
• Bipolar Disorder
– Major depression is sometimes followed by a manic
episode: hyperactive, wildly optimistic state
– dba. Manic Depressive

Depressed state Manic state Depressed state

Explaining Mood Disorders
• Biological Perspective • Social-Cognitive
– Genetic influences Perspective
• 50% chance twin will have
similar mood disorder – Negative thoughts feed
– The Brain negative moods
• High norepinephrine
during manic state; low – Negative mood feeds
norepinephrine during negative thoughts
• Low serotonin during
• Smaller frontal lobes in
depressed people

Psychotic Disorders
• Schizophrenia
– Symptoms
• Disorganized thinking
• Disturbed perceptions
• Inappropriate emotions and actions
– Types
• Positive & Negative
• Chronic & Acute
Compare to Infantile Autism
• Social isolation
• Stereotyped behaviors
• Resistance to any change
• Abnormal responses to sensory stimuli
• Insensitivity to pain
• Inappropriate emotional expression
• Disturbances of movement
• Poor development of speech
• Specific, limited intellectual problems
Psychotic Disorders
Subtypes of Schizophrenia

Paranoid: Preoccupation with delusions or hallucinations

Disorganized: Disorganized speech or behavior, or flat or inappropriate


Catatonic: Immobility (or excessive, purposeless movement),

extreme negativism, and/or parrotlike repeating of
another’s speech or movements

Undifferentiated Schizophrenia symptoms without fitting one of the

or residual: above types
Understanding Schizophrenia
• Brain abnormalities
– Dopamine overactivity
• More receptors; extra dopamine can induce (ie
– Brain anatomy
• Low frontal lobe activity
• Spaces in brain filled with fluid
• Smaller than average thalamus
Understanding Schizophrenia
• Genetic factors
– 1 in 100 chance of developing schizophrenia.
– 1 in 10 if parent or sibling developed.
– 1 in 2 if identical twin develops it.