Psychopathology A3

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LENKA MILOJEVIC
AS-Level Psychology
Page 1
PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
DEFINITIONS OF ABNORMALITY (AO1 + AO3)
Definition 1: Statistical inferquency
- Behaviour that is rarely seen as
normal.
- Defining abnormality in terms of
STATISTICAL
INFREQUENCY
‘statistics’ — the number of
times something has been
done.
- Often given in percentages
EXAMPLE
IQ and intellectual disability
disorder
- The average is 100.
- Individuals below 70 are
diagnosed due to statistical
infrequency (2%).
over the general population.
EVALUATION
• REAL-LIFE APPLICATION - It’s a useful
and required part of clinical assessment.
It’s good for diagnosing a lot of disorders
that include comparison to some statistical
norms.
• POSITIVE INFREQUENCY - Engaging in
rare behaviour styles doesn’t necessarily
mean a person requires treatment (e.g. IQ
of over 130 isn’t undesirable). Shows that
statistical infrequency isn’t enough to make
a diagnosis.
• LABELING - Some people with disabilities
might live normal lives and not need a label
emphasising their shortcomings.
Definition 1: Statistical inferquency
- Based on social context.
- Societies and groups make
DEVIATION FROM
SOCIAL NORMS
collective ‘judgements’ about
‘correct’ behaviours
- Has cultural context as there
are very few behaviours that
are considered universally
abnormal.
- Has historical context (e.g.
homosexuality)
EXAMPLE
Antisocial personality
disorder (APD)
- formerly known as
‘psychopathy’
- failure to conform to ‘lawful
and culturally normative
ethical behaviour’
EVALUATION
• NEVER ENOUGH - Deviation isn’t the sole
explanation to mental disorders (e.g. APD
is an example, but it doesn’t take into
consideration harming others)
• CULTURALLY RELATIVE - what is
considered abnormal varies from culture to
culture (e.g. somewhere it’s ok to hear
voices, in the UK it’s not)
• HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES - Too much
reliance on this definition can lead to it. The
question of eccentric vs. abnormal.
Diagnoses were sometimes used for social
control (nymphomania = women attracted
to working class men; drapetomania =
black slaves trying to escape)
Definition 3: Failure to function adequately
- Inability to cope with everyday
FAILURE TO
FUNCTION
ADEQUATELY
living and function adequately (e.g.
not being able to keep a job,
relationship, maintain hygiene…)
- Rosenham and Seligman
proposed signs of failure to cope:
1) Personal distress
2) Irrational/dangerous behaviour
3) Disregard interpersonal rules
EXAMPLE
Intellectual disability discorder
- Even if somebody has a
statistically rare low IQ, they
can’t be diagnosed unless
that doesn’t tamper with their
ability to function.
EVALUATION
• PATIENTS’ PERSPECTIVE- Takes into
account the patient’s feelings and experience.
• ECCENTRIC VS ABNORMAL- People who do
extreme sports or live alternative lifestyles may
be considered abnormal this way.
• SUBJECTIVITY - In spite of checklists and
standardised procedure, there’s a question of
whether psychiatrists should be allowed to
judge the distress/suffering of a patient
LENKA MILOJEVIC
AS-Level Psychology
Page 2
EVALUATION
EXAMPLE
- Any form of mental state that is
different from the normal/ideal
mental state
- Marie Jahoda provided a list of
Never keeping a job
- May be a sign of deviation
• CULTURALLY RELATIVE- Some of Jahoda’s
HOWEVER…
1. No symptoms or distress
2. Rational and good selfperception
3. Self-actualisation
4. Coping with stress
5. Realistic view of the world
6. Good self-esteem and lack
guilt
7. Independent
8. Successfully work, love, enjoy
leisure
- This could also be a sign of
failure to function adequately.
classifications are specific to Western European
and North American (individualist) cultures
where self-actualisation is valued over
community.
• UNREALISTIC - Most people deviate from ideal
mental health, at times at least.
• REAL-LIFE APPLICATION - Makes it clear to
which ideal people should strive to achieve.
Behavioural characteristics
Emotional characteristics
Cognitive characteristics
Specific types of DSM
categories
1) Panic
1) Fear + Anxiety
1) Selective attention to the
phobic stimulus
- behaviours like crying, screaming,
- fear is the immediate
1) Specific phobia: fear of an
object (e.g. animal or body
part), or a situation (e.g.
flying, having an injection)
running away from the phobic
stimulus
2) Avoidance
PHOBIAS
range, applicability etc. Covers most of the
reasons someone would seek help from mental
health services.
from ideal mental health.
criteria:
DEVIATION FROM
IDEAL MENTAL
HEALTH
• COMPREHENSIVE - The definition has a good
- considerable effort to avoid coming
into contact with the phobic stimulus
- may make life difficult depending on
experience
- fear leads to anxiety
- the phobic person cannot tear
their attention away from the
phobic stimulus in its presence
2) Unreasonable responses
-
2) Irrational beliefs
- e.g. social phobias may involve
unreasonable responses, widely beliefs such as ‘if I blush people
disproportionate to the threat
will think I’m weak’
posed
what the stimulus is
2) Social anxiety (social
phobia): phobia of social
situations (e.g. using a public
WC, speaking in public…)
3) Agoraphobia: phobia of
being outside or in public
places
3) Endurance
- Sufferer remains in the presence of
the stimulus and endures the stress
Behavioural characteristics
Emotional characteristics
Cognitive characteristics
Specific types of DSM
categories
1) Activity levels
1) Lowered mood
1) Poor concentration
1) Major depressive disorder:
severe but short-term
- They have less energy, get lethargic
- More than feeling lethargic.
- Sufferers would describe
- Difficulty in simple decision
a lot.
- In severe cases they might not get out
of bed.
themselves as ‘worthless’ or
‘empty’.
making.
- Unable to stick with a task.
2) Absolutist thinking
DEPRESSION
2) Disruption of sleep
2) Anger
- Insomnia (reduced)
- Hypersomnia (increased)
- Aggression
- Self-harm
3) Eating behaviour
- Increase or decrease
- Weight gain/weight loss
- ‘black and white’
- An unfortunate situation seen
as an absolute disaster
2) Persistent depressive
disorder: long-term or
recurring; includes sustained
major depression and
dusthymia (persistent mild
depression)
3) Disruptive mood
dysregulation disorder:
childhood temper tantrums
4) Premenstrual dysphoric
disorder: disruption to mood
prior to and/or during
menstruation
LENKA MILOJEVIC
OBSESSIVECOMPULSIVE
DISORDER
AS-Level Psychology
Page 3
Behavioural characteristics
Emotional characteristics
Cognitive characteristics
Specific types of DSM
categories
1) Compulsions
1) Anxiety + Distress
1) Obsessive thoughts
1) OCD: repetitive behaviour
and obsessive thinking
- Ritualistic monotone behaviour
- Reducing stress
- Repeated actions
- Overwhelming anxiety
- Distress, fear at obsessive
- 90% have these
- Recurring intrusive thoughts
2) Avoidance
2) Guilt + Disgust
- Managed by avoiding contact with
- Irrational guilt over minor
situations that trigger anxiety.
thoughts
(e.g. being contaminated by
germs, dirt)
moral issues
- Disgust towards
oneself/something external
2) Awareness of surplus
anxiety
- In spite of insight, they
experience catastrophic thoughts
and are hypervigilant (overaware) of their obsession
BEHAVIOURAL APPROACH TO EXPLAINING PHOBIAS
UCS→ UCR
NS→ NR
NS + UCS→ UCR
CS→ CR
THE TWO-PROCESS MODEL by Hobart Mowrer
1. CLASSICAL CONDITIONING (ACQUISITION)
2. OPERANT CONDITIONING (MAINTENANCE)
2) Trichotillomania: obsessive
hair pulling
3) Hoarding disorder:
compulsive gathering of
possession and inability to par
with things regardless of their
value
4) Excoriation disorder:
compulsive skin picking
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