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Flashcards in Abnormal psychology/ disorders Deck (94):


Based on atheoretical descriptions of symptoms of various disorders; organized into 18 classifications of disorders


Neurodevelopmental disorders

those linked to the development of the nervous system (e.g. AD/HD, Autism spectrum, Tourette's)



inattentive, easily distracted, can't maintain focus on task, daydreams, difficulty following instructions. hyperactive, fidgets, squirms, dashes around, always in motion, talks nonstop;

characterized by developmentally atypical inattention and/or impulsivity and hyperactivity. Short attention span, difficulty staying on task or organizing tasks, unable to follow instructions or requests.. hyperactivity in running, fidgeting, and restlessness. Impulsivity in inability to delay gratification, impatience, and frequently interrupting others.


Autism Spectrum

a range of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by impairment of social skill and communication skills as well as repetitive behaviors. includes autism, Asperger's syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS); children with autism may not cuddle, make eye contact, and may display little or no facial expressions, impairment in language skills, both receptive and expressive, also tend to be oversensitive to sensory stimuli.


Tourette's disorder

characterized by multiple motor tics (e.g. eye-blinking, skipping, deep knee bends) or one or more vocal tics (e.g. grunts, barks, sniffs, snorts, coughs, utterance of obscenities). Tics are sudden, recurrent, and stereotyped. Duration of disorder is life long, but periods of remission may occur.



relatively recent term (1911 by Bleuler). characterized by gross distortions of reality and disturbances in the content and form of thought, perception, and affect. Could have delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thought, inappropriate affect, and catatonic behavior


Symptoms of schizophrenia

divided into positive and negative types. Positive: behaviors, thoughts, or affects added to normal behavior (e.g. delusions and hallucinations, disorganized speech, and disorganized or catatonic behavior). These are either on the psychotic dimension or the disorganized dimension. Negative symptoms are those that involve the absence of normal or desired behavior (e.e.g flat affect, blunted emotional expression)


delusions (and types)

false beliefs, discordant with reality, that are maintained in spite of strong evidence to the contrary , e.g. delusions of reference, persecution, or grandeur. Delusions of reference may involve an individuals belief that others are talking about them, that common elements in the environment are direction at them.Delusions of persecution involve the belief that the person is being deliberately interfered with, discriminated against, plotted against, or threatened. Delusions of grandeur involve the believe that they are a remarkable person, like an inventor, historical figure, etc. Or involve thought broadcasting, which is belief that one's thoughts are broadcast directly from one's head to the external world, and thought insertion, that thoughts are inserted into one's head



perceptions that are not due to external stimuli but have a compelling sense of reality.


disorganized thought

characterized by the loosening of associations (e.g. speech in which ideas shift from one subject to another unrelated subject in a way that a listener wouldn't be able to follow the train of thought, or word salad).


catatonic motor behavior

various extreme behaviors characterized by reduced movement/activity or maintaining a rigid posture, refusing to be moved. Sometimes, catatonic behavior may include useless and bizarre movements not caused by any external stimuli



study of the distribution of disorders in a population; prevalence (proportion of active cases of a disorder), incidence (occurrence of new cases of a disorder).



anxiety disorders


Serotonin and dopamine

Depression and schizophrenia






Apprehension about a future threat, involves physiological arousal (fight or flight) and increases preparedness.


Anxiety disorders in DSM-5

Most common psychiatric disorders: specific phobias, social phobias, panic disorder (with and without agoraphobia), generalized anxiety disorder


Anxiety risk factors

Genetic (twin studies suggest heritability for phobias, GAD, PTSD and panic disorder); Neurobiological (overactive fear circuit, neurotransmitters serotonin, GABA, norepinephrine); Personality (behavioral inhibition, temperament, neuroticism); Cognitive (perceived control, attention to threat); Social (negative life events that often precede disorder onset)


Anxiety common treatment

Emphasize exposure- face the situation or object that triggers anxiety; medications (anxiolytics, benzodiazepenes (e.g. valium, xanax), antidepressants (e.g. SSRIs))


Phobic disorders

phobia- persistent and disproportionate fear of some specific object or situation that presents little or no actual danger; Marked by anxiety, avoidance, persistence (6 mo. or more), distress/ impairment. 16% of women and 7% of men; Causal factors: traumatic conditioning of fear, cognitive biases, evolutionary origins, genetic and temperamental factors.


Panic Disorder + agoraphobia

characterized by the occurrence of unexpected panic attacks, marked by brevity and intensity, worry and avoidance of situations in which a panic attack may occur; Marked by presence of recurrent PAs followed by at least one month of persistent worry of having further attacks or significant behavioral change related to the attacks; with agoraphobia- avoidance of situations in which escape would be difficult or embarrassing (e.g. being outside the home alone, in a plane, etc.)


Social Anxiety Disorders

Disabling fears of one or more discrete social situations in which a person fears that they may be exposed to the scrutiny or potential negative evaluation of others


Generalized anxiety disorder

involves chronic, excessive worrying (other symptoms: restlessness, poor concentration, irritability, muscle tension, easily fatigued); possible biological factors (neuroticism-common genetic predisposition for GAD and MDD), neurotransmitters GABA, serotonin and norephinephrine, HPA axis.


OCD and Related Disorders

OCD, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Hoarding Disorder, Trichotillomania, Excoriation (Skin-Picking)


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Traditionally conceptualized as an anxiety disorder, characterized by anxiety/fear and attempts at controlling and escaping from anxiety/fear. Recurrent obsession and compulsions: obsessions are unwanted and intrusive thoughts or images that are irrational or uncontrollable and compulsions are repetitive behavior or mental actions designed to neutralized obsessions, provide relief and prevent feared event. Obsessions tend to be ego-dystonic, themes are cross-culturally consistent. Effects both genders equally. Serotonin strongly implicated, maybe brain abnormalities in caudate nucleus and orbitofrontal-subcortical hyperactivity.


Hoarding Disorder

Persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, fear of losing something important or need to keep all items; unlike OCD, thought is not intrusive.



Recurrent pulling out hair, efforts to stop/control fail, theoretically an anxiety disorder (controls, abates feelings of anxiety; but motivations appear to vary)


Excoriation (skin picking)

Recurrent picking or scratching at skin or scabs, behavior is quite routine and perhaps without intrusive thought.


Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Preoccupation with and extreme distress over imagined or exaggerated defect in appearance. Constant examination of self in mirror (or avoids mirror entirely), some people become housebound or have plastic surgery.


Trauma and stress-related disorders

New category in DSM-5: Reactive attachment disorder, disinhibited social engagement disorder, PTSD, acute stress disorder, adjustment disorders



Repeated reexperiencing/ intrusions, avoidance, negative cognitions and mood (e.g. inability to remember important aspects of trauma, persistent negative beliefs about ones self or others or the world, distorted cognitions about cause or consequence of trauma that lead to blame, negative emotional state, etc.), arousal and reactivity (hypervigilence, startled response, problems with concentration, etc.)


Acute Stress Disorder (ASD)

Similar symptoms to PTSD, have more emphasis on dissociation. Duration varies (short term reactions, symptoms can occur between 3 days and 1 month after trauma). Often a precursor to PTSD (66%).


Etiology of PTSD

Nature of trauma, neurobiological (smaller hippocampal volume, increased receptor sensitivity to cortisol), behavioral, psychological (perception of control, avoidance coping, dissociation, memory suppression), nature of and proximity to stressor, psychosocial factors (appraisal of stressor, personality, cognitive ability), sociocultural factors (social support, stigma, readjustment), biological (HPA axis, locus coeruleus, norepinephrine-sympathetic-system)


Depressive Disorders + Bipolar and Related Disorders

Major Depressive Disorder, Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia) + Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Cyclothymia



Dysphoria, sadness, anhedonia (loss of interest or pleasure), other symptoms.


Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)

Depressed mood for most of the day , for more days than not, for at least two years; similar symptoms to depression


Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

very severe form of PMS, about 3-5% of women would meet criteria for this,


Beck's Negative Triad (Depression)

Negative view of world, negative view of self, negative view of future leads to: Depressed mood, paralysis of will, avoidance, suicidal wishes, increased dependency


Risks for MDE onset/ relapse

Multiple prior MDEs, double depression (MDD and dysthymia), long duration of individual MDEs, family history of affective disorder, residual symptoms, comorbid anxiety or substance abuse, female, never married or divorced, unemployment or disability, poverty


Bipolar related disorders

three building blocks: Major depressive episode, manic episode, hypomanic episode


Manic episode

elevated or irritable mood and increased goal-directed activity, grandiosity, decreased need for sleep, more talkative, racing thoughts, distractibility, excessive involvement in activities with high risk for consequences + impairment or hospitalization


Hypomanic episode

same symptoms as mania, change in functioning, shorter duration, no clinically-significant impairment or hospitalization of psychotic features


Bipolar I

has manic episode


Bipolar II

Hypomanic episode, MDE, no history of full mania



symptoms of hypomania and depressive symptoms, no history of depressive, manic, or hypomanic episode, distress or impairment is present


Neurotransmitters in BP

dopamine enhanced during mania (dopamine agonists and precursors trigger manic symptoms e.g. amphetamines/ L-dopa); serotonin/ glutamate


Suicide and Psychopathology

90% of suicides related to mental illness; depression most strongly linked to ideation; anxiety impulse-control and substance disorders linked to plans and attempts


Suicide risk factors

previous suicidal behavior, precipitant stressors, impulsivity, hopelessness, aspects of current suicidality


Joiner's Theory of Suicidality

Social-interpersonal theory: thwarted belongingness, perceived burdensomness create desire for suicide + capacity for suicide can = an attempt


Somatic symptom disorder

involves physical symptoms and complaints suggesting the presence of medical condition, contain no evidence of physical pathology; not intentionally produced or under voluntary control; individuals seek medical, not psychological treatment; excessive thoughts, feelings, or behaviors related to somatic symptoms or related health concerns: disproportionate and persistent thoughts about seriousness, high levels of anxiety, excessive time/energy devoted


Illness Anxiety Disorder

preoccupation with having/ acquiring a serious illness, somatic symptoms may or may not be present, high level of anxiety about health, excessive health-related behaviors or maladaptive avoidance


Factitious disorder

"Previously Munchausen's" falsification of physical of psychological signs or symptoms, or induction of injury or disease, associated with identified deception; presents themselves to others as ill, impaired, or injured; deceptive behavior is evident even int eh absence of obvious external rewards, can be by proxy


David Southall

Filmed suspected cases waiting to be seen (his patients), parents suffocated, poisoned, or attempted to break bones. 33 parents prosecuted, 23 diagnosed with factitious disorder by proxy


Dissociative disorders

sudden disruption in the continuity of consciousness, memory, identity


Dissociative amnesia

inability to recall important personal information: usually about a traumatic experience, not ordinary forgetting, not due to physical trauma, may last hours or years; usually remits spontaneously and memory returns in bits and pieces


Dissociative Fugue

amnesia plus flight; sudden, unexpected travel with inability to recall one's past: assume new identity (may involve new name, job, personality characteristics), more often of brief duration, remits spontaneously


Depersonalization/ derealization disorder

Perception of self is altered- feelings of detachment or disconnection: watching self from outside, emotional numbing. unusual sensory experiences: limbs feel deformed or enlarged, voice sounds different or distant


Dissociative identity disorder (DID)

Two or more distinct and fully developed personalities (alters), each with unique behaviors, memories, and friendships. Memory gaps common for periods of time when alters are in control. rare disorder (diagnosis is controversial). other symptoms: headaches, hallucinations, self harm, suicide attempts


Etiology of DID, two theories

Posttraumatic model: DID results from severe psychological and/or sexual abuse from childhood

sociocognitive model: DID a form of role-play in suggestible individuals, occurs in response to prompting by therapists or media, no conscious deception


eating disorders

anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder


Anorexia nervosa

restriction of energy intake: unable to maintain 85% of expected weight for frame, height. extreme weight loss or failure to gain weight during period of growth, restricted diet. intense fear of weight gain: increases as weight diminishes. Disturbance in the way in which one's body shape or weight is experienced, undue influence on self-evaluation, or denial of seriousness of current low weight. Restricting and purging subtypes


Bulimia nervosa

Recurrent inappropriate compensatory behavior in order to prevent weight gain, such as self induced vomiting etc. Self evaluation unduly influenced by body shape and weight. Recurrence of bingeing and purging Weight is usually normal, easy to conceal


Binge Eating Disorder

same as BN but without purging; impaired control, stress. Binges: more rapidly, uncomfortably full, eating when not hungry, eating alone, disgusted, depressed, guilty


Eating disorders neurotransmitters

serotonin (plays role in satiation, regulation of mood and impulsivity, esp. in BN) and norepinephrine (diminished, maybe due to malnutrition, but could play a role in maintenance), SSRIs used in treatment.


Personality disorders

long-standing patterns of thought, behavior, and emotions that are maladaptive for the individual or for people around him/her


Personality disorders diagnostic difficulties

not sharply defined, diagnostic criteria less precise, inferred traits rather than behavior, low reliability and validity, categories not mutually exclusive, substantial comorbidity, little prospective research, little research on etiology, categorical vs. dimensional approach


Personality disorder clusters

Cluster A seem odd or eccentric: paranoid, schizoid, schizotypal
Cluster B seem dramatic, emotional, or erratic: antisocial, borderline, histrionic, narcissistic
Cluster C appear anxious or fearful: avoidant, dependent, obsessive-compulsive


Five factor model to personality

neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, conscientiousness


Paranoid Personality Disorder (cluster A)

Pervasive and unjustified mistrust and suspicion. causes are unclear (may result from early learning that people and the world is dangerous).


Schizoid personality disorder (cluster A)

Pervasive pattern of detachment from social relationships, very limited range of emotions in interpersonal situations, causes unclear.


Schizotypal personality disorder

behavior and dress is odd and unusual, most are socially isolated and may be highly suspicious of others, magical thinking, ideas of reference, and illusions are common. risk of developing schizophrenia is high in this group. (maybe it is a phenotype of a schizophrenia genotype?)


Avoidant personality disorder (cluster c)

extremely sensitive to opinions of others, highly avoidant of most interpersonal relationships, are interpersonally anxious and fearful of rejection. causes unclear (but maybe early development- a difficult temperament produces early rejection).


Dependent personality disorder (cluster c)

excessive reliance on others to make major and minor life decisions, unreasonable fear of abandonment, tendency to be clingy and submissive in interpersonal relationships. Causes unclear but linked to early disruptions in learning independence.


Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (cluster c)

excessive and rigid fixation on doing things the right way. tend to be highly perfectionistic, orderly, and emotionally shallow. obsessions and compulsions are rare.


Borderline personality disorder (cluster b)

patterns of unstable moods and relationships. impulsivity, fear of abandonment, coupled with poor self-image. Self-mutilation and suicidal gestures are not uncommon. Causes: runs in families, may be related to early trauma and abuse


Histrionic Personality disorder (cluster b)

patterns of behavior that are overly dramatic, sensational, and sexually provocative. often impulsive and need to be the center of attention. thinking and emotions are perceived as shallow. causes unknown
(maybe a sex-typed variant of antisocial personality?)


Narcissistic Personality Disorder (cluster b)

exaggerated and unreasonable sense of self-importance, preoccupation with receiving attention, lack sensitivity and compassion for other people, highly sensitive to criticism, tend to be envious and arrogant. causes unknown.


Antisocial personality disorder (cluster b)

Have to be 18 y.o. before it can be diagnosed; predatory attitude toward other people, chronic indifference to and violation of the rights of one's fellow human beings, history of illegal or socially disapproved activity beginning before age 15 and continuing into adulthood, failure to show constancy and responsibility in work, sexual relationships, parenthood, or financial obligations. irritability and aggressiveness, reckless and impulsive behavior, disregard for the truth. (causes: maybe genetics, low serotonin, individual differences, modeling, etc.)



deeds are not motivated by any understandable purpose, shallow emotions, poor judgement and failure to learn from experience, ability to maintain a pleasant and convincing exterior, inadequate conscience development, irresponsible and impulsive behavior, rejection of authority, ability to impress and exploit others, inability to maintain good relationships.


substance abuse disorders

problems related to the use and abuse of psychoactive substances; produce wide-ranging physiological, psychological, and behavioral effects.


substance abuse

failure to fulfill major obligations, exposure to physical dangers, legal problems brought on by drug use, persistent social or interpersonal problems.


substance dependence

tolerance to drug action occurs, withdraw symptoms occur with cessation, person recognizes excessive use of the drug, much of their time is spent getting the drug or recovering from its effects, substance use continues despite physical or psychological problems caused by it.


Five main categories of substances

depressants (result in behavioral sedation e.g. alcohol, sedative, anxioltyic drugs), stimulants (increase alertness and elevate mood e.g. cocaine, nicotine, caffeine), opiates (primarily produce analgesia and euphoria e.g. heroin, morphine, codeine), hallucinogens (alter sensory perception e.g. marijuana, LSD), other drugs of abuse include inhalants, anabolic steroids, medications.


physical v behavioral dependence

physical dependence easy to treat, behavioral dependence when drugs become central reinforcement of life, life revolves around use of drug (e.g. social life, etc.), state-dependent learning


behavioral addictive disorders

gambling, internet, shopping, sex (hypersexual disorder), etc.


Alcohol Use Disorder

problematic pattern of alcohol use leading to impairment/distress as manifested by at least two symptoms: alcohol taken in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than was intended, persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to control, time spent in activities necessary to obtain alcohol, use it or recover from it, craving, recurrent use resulting in failure to fulfill major role obligations, continued use despite having persistent and recurrent social and interpersonal problems caused by it, important social, occupational, or recreational activities given up, recurrent use in situations in which it is physically dangerous, use is continued despite knowledge of having persistent and recurrent physical or psychological problems caused or exacerbated by its use, tolerance, withdrawal.


Paraphilia, gender dysphoria, sexual dysfunctions

paraphilias- recurrent, intense, sexually arousing fantasies, urges, or behaviors that involve nonhuman objects, suffering or humiliation of oneself or partner, children or non-consenting person. (fetishistic, transvestic, voyeuristic, exhibitionistic, etc.)

gender dysphoria- people who believe they are of the opposite sex and suffer from it, controversial diagnostic category, pathologizes natural variation in human behavior and carries stigma.

sexual dysfunction- disruption in sexual functioning



the hallmark of schizophrenia, a significant loss of contact with reality


Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder

childhood disorder: over-diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children, new diagnosis with restrictive criteria might diminish the over-diagnosis.


Conduct disorder

four groups of features: aggression to people/ animals, destruction of property, deceitfulness or theft, serious violations of rules. 15 year or younger, subtype callous-unemotional. 40% meet ASPD as adults.


Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)

argumentative/ defiant, angry/irritable, vindictive. 25% later meet criteria for conduct disorder, begins by age 8.


Neurodevelopmental disorders

intellectual disability, autism spectrum, communication, ADHD, learning disorders, motor disorders.



much more highly functioning, lack of severe self-injury or isolated repetitive behaviors, employed but socially isolated, awkward, and peculiar, mild variant of autism spectrum.


conversion disorder

unexplained symptoms affecting voluntary motor or sensory function. include paralysis when there is no neurobiological damage or even blindness when there is no evidence of damage to the visual system or brain.