Abnormal Psychology and Therapy P-8

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Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin

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Abnormal Psychology and
Mychal Ellis, Izzy Dawes, and Stacy Schonhardt
Defining Abnormal
- Behavior that is deviant, maladaptive, or personally
distressful over a relatively long period of time.
-Deviant: Strays from what is acceptable.
-Maladaptive: Interferes with a person’s ability to
-Personal Distress: Behavior is found to be troubling to
the person.
-American Psychiatric Association defines as a
mental illness that affects a person’s brain and can
affect the way the individual thinks, behaves, and
interacts with others
Approaches to Abnormal Behavior
Biological Approach
Psychological Approach
-organic internal causes
-contributions of experiences, thoughts,
emotions, and personality characteristics
-focus on brain, genetic factors, and
neurotransmitter functioning as
-medical model: psychological
disorders are medical diseases with a
biological origin
-rewards and punishers in environment
-social cognitive focus on observational
learning, cognitions, and beliefs
Approaches to Abnormal Behavior
-emphasize social contexts
-gender, ethnicity,
socioeconomic status, family
relationships, and culture
-socioeconomic plays stronger
role than ethnicity
-can be influenced by
~biological (genes)
~psychological (experience)
~sociocultural (gender)
-factors can act alone but often
they work in combination
-none more important than
Classifying Abnormal Behavior
- Universal understanding
- Easier to predict the diagnosis of a certain disorder, who is
susceptible, stages of the disorder, and the outcome of
- Giving the disorder a name can provide comfort to the
~However labeling disorders can create an unnecessary
- a mark of shame that may cause others to avoid or
to act negatively toward an individual
DSM-IV Classification System...What is that?
- It’s the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders of course!
-DSM-IV:the major classification of psychological
disorders in the United States.
~Published by the American Psychiatric
~Basis of classification: individual's history and
highest level of functioning in the previous year
~Five axes of classification
-A1: All diagnostic categories
except personality disorders and mental retardation
-A2: Personality disorders and
mental retardation
~Based on the medical model
~Lack of focus on strengths
-A3: General medical conditions
-A4: Psychosocial and
environmental problems
-A5: Current level of functioning
List of Disorders
Anxiety Disorders
-Anxiety disorders: Psychological disorders involving
fears that are uncontrollable, disproportionate to the
actual danger the person might be in, and disruptive of
ordinary life
Are Psychological Disorders a Myth?
-Are these diseases all made up in your head? Or are they real
illnesses that need drugs to be treated
-ADHD was used to debate that question
-a “consensus statement” signed by 75 psychiatrists and
psychologists, declaring that ADHD is a real psychological disorder
with a biological basis in the brain, associated with a number of
problems, including dropping out of school, teen pregnancy, and
antisocial behavior
-critics argued that the biological basis of ADHD is not unique to
ADHD but is a pattern shared with other childhood disorders
-No definite answer to this question
Generalized Anxiety
-Generalized anxiety disorder: Psychological disorder marked by
persistent anxiety for at least 6 months and in which the individual
is unable to specify the reasons for the anxiety
-Worried most of the time
-Biological causes: genetic predisposition, deficiency in the
neurotransmitter GABA, sympathetic nervous system activity, and
respiratory system abnormalities
-Other causes: harsh self-standards, overly strict and critical parents,
automatic negative thoughts when stressed, history of
uncontrollable traumas or stressors (such as an abusive parent)
Panic Disorder
-Panic disorder: Individual experiences recurrent, sudden onsets of
intense apprehension or terror, often without warning and with no
specific cause
-Outcomes: severe palpitations, extreme shortness of breath, chest
pains, trembling, sweating, dizziness, and helplessness
-Charles Darwin suffered from intense panic disorder
-Biological causes: genetic predisposition, overly active autonomic
nervous system, problems with norepinephrine or GABA
-In US women are twice as likely as men to have panic attacks
Phobic Disorder (Phobia)
-Phobia: Anxiety disorder characterized by an irrational,
overwhelming, persistent fear of a particular object or
-Pinpoint the source of anxiety
-Fear becomes phobia when a situation is so dreaded
individual goes to any length to avoid it
-Social phobia: an intense fear of being humiliated or
embarrassed in social situations
-Phobia is largely considered a learned fear
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
-OCD: Individual has anxietyprovoking thoughts that will not go
away and/or urges to perform
repetitive, ritualistic behaviors to
prevent or produce some future
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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
-PTSD: disorder that develops through
exposure to a traumatic event that has
overwhelmed the person’s ability to
~Difficulties with memory
~Feelings of apprehension
~Reduced emotions
Defining Dissociative
-Dissociative Disorders: Psychological disorders that involve a sudden
loss of memory or change in identity due to the dissociation (separation) of
the individual’s conscious awareness from previous memories and thoughts
~dissociation: psychological states in which the person feels disconnected
from immediate experience
-Through dissociation, an individual mentally
protects his or her conscious self from the
traumatic event.
-Have a problem in pulling together emotional
Dissociative Amnesia and Dissociative
-Dissociative Amnesia: Dissociative
disorder characterized by extreme
memory loss that is caused by
extensive psychological stress.
~Person only forgets aspects of their
own identity and autobiographical
- 28-year-old didn’t
acknowledge her newborn after
giving birth, and she didn’t
know her own identity.
-Dissociative Fugue: Dissociative
disorder in which the individual not
only develops amnesia but also
unexpectedly travels away from home
and sometimes assumes a new
~Different because of the tendency
to run away.
Dissociative Identity
-Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID): Formerly called multiple personality
disorder, a dissociative disorder is which the individual has two or more distinct
personalities or identities, each with its own memories, behaviors, and
-most dramatic and least common dissociative disorder
-One identity dominates one time, and another takes over at another time.
~the shift occurs during distress, or sometimes the person can control it.
-Research suggests it’s a coping mechanism to deal with extremely traumatic
events, where the person creates a new identity to protect the original.
-Schizophrenia: Severe psychological disorder characterized by highly disordered thought processes,
referred to as psychotic because they are so far removed from reality.
~Positive symptoms (added beyond normal behavior):
-Hallucinations: sensory experiences in the absence of real stimuli
-Delusions: false, unusual, and sometimes magical beliefs that are not part of an individual's culture
-Incoherent thoughts
-Referential thinking: ascribing personal meaning to completely random events
-Catatonia: State of immobility and unresponsiveness lasting for long periods of time
~Negative symptoms (social withdrawal or behavior defects):
-Flat affect: the display of little or no emotion- a common negative symptom of schizophrenia
-Inability to set goals
~Cognitive symptoms:
-Difficulty paying attention
-Difficulty remember information
-Heredity: Partially caused by genetic
~Children of a parent affected= 13%
~Identical twins= 48%
-Structural Brain Abnormalities:
~Enlargement of brain ventricles
~Small prefrontal cortex (thinking,
planning, etc.
~Indicates problems in prenatal
-Neurotransmitter Regulation
~Excess Dopamine (“Feel Good”)
~Psychotic thoughts don’t go away
immediately with drop in Dopamine
Causes- Psychological
-Stress can contribute
model: View of
emphasizing that a
combination of
biogenetic disposition
and stress causes the
Causes- Sociocultural
-Not a cause, effects
~Developing nations
have a better outcome for
individuals affected with
~Keeping normalcy leads
to better outcomes
(marriage, kids, holding a
A sample of a Schizophrenic episode:
Case Study
From: Linda
My son, was diagnosed as a parnoid/disorganized schizophrenic in Sept of 1995. The first signs we saw were:
1. He wouldn't eat, everything tasted "funny" or he thought I was putting something in the food to make it taste "funny". He wouldn't even eat McDonalds food, which he
always loved. Below are the the first signs that we saw over a 9 - 10 month period, before he received treatment.
2. He lost 50 lbs during this time (6 - 7 months). I took him to our family doctor who did a series of tests, including a drug test, all came back negative. (Started in Jan 95)
3. He then started to zone out for long periods of time (1 - 2 hours). He wouldn't blink very often or change his expression. I would ask him if anything was wrong and he'd
just shake his head no. He then started to laugh during these times for no reason.(Started in May 95)
4. He would sit and stare at his hands for hours, when I would ask him what was wrong with his hands, he would say they are different then they use to be.
5. During this entire period, his grades in school went from C's - D's to all F's. The school
would call and say he would get up and walk out of class and just roam the halls.
6. Starting in June 95, he started getting very aggressive, talking to himself and laughing in his room. He would get very upset and run out of his room, down the stairs and
outside. He started doing this everyday. It started really going downhill from there.
7. He would never say he was hearing voices, but it was very apparent he was. God told him what numbers to play for the lottery, if I bought a ticket I would win millions. He
heard other voices, I would hear him talking to them.
8. He started talking in a language we did not understand, after research I found these to be called "word salads". He would call me by a name that no one understood, he said
I was from a different planet sent here to kill him. He told his siblings they were from his planet and they were here to protect him from me. He would come out of his
room, scream at all of us in the foreign language, and tell us we all were going to die. 6. Would no longer watch T.V., just listened to Pink Floyd "The Wall" over and over
again. In fact he broke his cd player by doing this.
9. Paced constantly or do just the opposite not get out of bed for hours during the day. (he would not sleep at night)
8. Started to hallucinate. The walls had bugs on them, we all looked different, my eyebrows were pointed upward and my ears had grown. He said things were moving when
they were not. During this time I was totally freaking out.
The above are a brief summary of what was happening, so many things occured during this period I can't remember or have blocked some of it out. I was able to admit him to
the hospital by telling him we were just going to the doctor for a check up. The psychiatrist we saw here in St. Louis only treats Schizophrenics and I had faxed him a long
letter explaining Rhett's behavior before our first visit. He had 3 security guards come to his office and escort Rhett to the ICU locked floor. When we arrived in the locked
unit, Rhett did sign himself in "Thank God".
Antianxiety Drugs
-Antianxiety drugs: Commonly known as tranquilizers, drugs that reduce anxiety by making
individuals calmer and less excitable
~Benzodiazepines: relief from symptoms of anxiety
~Nonbenzodiazepine: treat generalized anxiety disorder
-Provide temporary relief from anxiety and allow individuals to cope
Antidepressant Drugs
-Antidepressant drugs: drugs that
regulate mood
- Tricyclics
~ three-ringed molecular structure
~ increase the level of a certain
~ reduce symptoms in 60-70% of cases
~ four-ringed structure
~ noradrenergic and specific serotonergic
~ enhance brain levels of norepinephrine
and serotonin
- MAO Inhibitors
~ block the enzyme monoamine oxidase
~ this enzyme breaks down serotonin and
~ more potentially harmful to the body
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
~ interfere with the reabsorption of
serotonin in the brain
~ Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft
~ reduce depression symptoms with fewer
side effects.
-Lithium: The lightest of the solid elements in
the periodic table of elements, widely used to
treat bipolar disorder.
Antipsychotic Drugs
-Antipsychotic Drugs: powerful drugs that diminish agitated behavior, reduce tension, decrease hallucinations, improve social
behavior, and produce better sleep patterns in individuals with a severe psychological disorder, especially schizophrenia
~Neuroleptics: Most commonly used
-Used to treat Schizophrenia
-Block Dopamine
-Do not cure Schizophrenia, mute the symptoms
-Severe side effects
~Tardive dyskinesia: a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary random movements of the
facial muscles, tongue, and mouth, as well as twitching of the neck, arms, and legs
~Atypical antipsychotic medications
-Less side effects
-Impact Dopamine and Serotonin
-Treat Schizophrenia
-Clozaril (clozapine) and Risperdal (risperidone)
-Effective if taken in small doses overtime
-Effective with the combination of drug therapy and psychotherapy
Electroconvulsive Therapy
-Electroconvulsive therapy: also called shock therapy, a
treatment, commonly used for depression, that sets off a seizure in
the brain
~Still given to approx. 100,000 people/ year to treat depression
~Little to no discomfort today
~Applied to a specific part of the brain
~As effective as cognitive and drug therapy
~Memory loss is sometimes a side effect
-Deep brain stimulation: A procedure for treatment-resistant
depression that involves the implantation of electrodes in the brain
that emit signals to alter the brain's electrical circuitry.
~Treat OCD and depression
Antidepressants Increase Suicide Risk?
-Teen suicides seemed unplanned
-FDA study: 4,300 teens were given and antidepressant or placebo
~Increase in“adverse event reports” in treatment group—spontaneous statements
of thoughts about suicide reported by the participants or their parents
-FDA requires antidepressants to warn of the potential for adolescent suicide
~Doctors prescribed less antidepressants
-90% of people who attempt suicide have a psychological disorder with depression
being a characteristic
-Less suicidal thoughts were reported in a study of people taking Prozac
-Study showed a reduction in suicidal thoughts from 29% to 10% in adolescents
taking Prozac and completing drug therapy
Drug Chart
- Psychosurgery: A biological therapy, with irreversible effects, that involves removal
or destruction of the brain tissue to improve the individual’s adjustments.
- An instrument is inserted into the brain and rotated, severing the frontal lobe’s
connections with the thalamus (Antonio Moniz).
~worked for some, but left some in a vegetable-like state
-Walter Freeman started performing prefrontal lobotomies throughout the country.
- May be performed for patients with OCD, major depression, or bipolar disorder.
- Only used for EXTREME cases.
-Anxiety Disorders
-Approaches to
Abnormal Behavior
-Guided notes
-Drug chart
-List of disorders
-Critics of DSM
-Classifying Abnormal
-Defining Abnormal Behavior
-All slides about
- All of the dissociative Schizophrenia
-Antianxiety Drugs
disorder slides
-Antidepressant drugs -Antipsychotic Drugs
-Therapy Critical
-Pictures and GIFS

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