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Flashcards in Mental Disorders Deck (39)
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What is the DSM?

The DSM, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, lists all medically recognized mental disorders, along with standard criteria for diagnoses.

The DSM is now in its 5th edition (DSM-V)


a mental illness

A mental illness is a medical condition that involves disruption in a person's thinking, behavior, mood, or social interaction, to the point of severely decreasing his/her ability to function in everyday life.



Psychosis is a general term for a mental state that involves a loss of contact with reality, generally involving hallucinations or delusions. 



Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder whose main feature includes a loss of touch with reality, or psychosis. 

Schizophrenia is extremely difficult to treat. 


What are the major symptoms of schizophrenia?

The major symptoms of schizophrenia include:

  1. Delusions
  2. Hallucinations
  3. Paranoia
  4. Reduced emotional expressiveness
  5. Disorganized speech
  6. Difficulty planning tasks or thinking through decisions


Approximately what percentage of the population of the United States suffers from schizophrenia?

About 1% of adults in the United States suffer from schizophrenia at some point in their lives.


Are there any known causes of schizophrenia?

There are no known causes of schizophrenia. 

There are, however, multiple possible schizophrenia correlates including:

  • A disconnection between brain regions 
  • Issues with the neurotransmitters glutamate and dopamine
  • Brain abnormalities, although none are universal
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Experiencing a traumatic event


a mood disorder

A mood disorder is any mental disorder in which disturbances in mood are the main feature.


What are three examples of mood disorders?

  1. Bipolar disorder
  2. Major depressive disorder 
  3. Dysthymia


major depressive disorder 

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a mood disorder characterized by persistent low mood, feelings of worthlessness, and an inability to experience pleasure or find meaning in life.


Which brain irregularities are observed in people with depression?

People that have depression tend to show:

  1. Reduced activity in several brain regions, particularly the prefrontal cortex
  2. Overactive amygdala
  3. Reduced volume of the hippocampus


Approximately what percentage of the population of the United States suffers from depression?

About 16.5% of the adult population of the United States is afflicted with depression at some point in their lives.


What role does stress play in major depressive disorder?

Prolonged stress leads to a high level of glucocorticoids in the blood. In large amounts, glucocorticoids prevent neurogenesis (the formation of new cells) in the hippocampus, as well as other brain regions.

In effect, the more stress a person experiences, the more shrunken their hippocampus will become.

The reduced size of the hippocampus is a common brain abnormality among people with depression.


What three neurotransmitters seem to be related to major depressive disorder?

  1. Serotonin
  2. Norepinephrine
  3. Dopamine



Dysthymia is a mood disorder characterized by chronic depression in which symptoms are not as severe as major depressive disorder.


bipolar disorder

Bipolar disoder is a type of mood disorder that is characterized by quick fluctuations between a depressed phase and a highly manic phase. 


What are the symptoms of the manic phase of bipolar disorder?

Symptoms of the manic phase of bipolar disorder include:

  1. Racing thoughts 
  2. Extreme talkativeness 
  3. Reckless behavior
  4. Little need for sleep
  5. Elevated mood and/or extreme irritability


a personality disorder

A personality disorder is a mental disorder characterized by a persistent pattern of rigid, inflexible behavior that deviates from the cultural norms or social expectations, particularily relating to others.

A person with a personality disorder tends to think his/her behavior is normal and appropriate.


antisocial personality disorder

Antisocial personality disorder is a type of personality disorder marked by a lack of empathy and a disregard for right and wrong.

People with antisocial personality disorder are often good at flattery and manipulation; they often lie, cheat, and steal, rarely showing remorse.


Is antisocial personality disorder more common in males or females?


However, not much more is known because sufferers rarely feel the need to seek help. 


What are two childhood warning signs of antisocial personality disorder?

  1. An extreme impulse to set fires
  2. A cruelty to animals 


avoidant personality disorder 

Avoidant personality disorder is a personality disorder marked by anxiety and reluctance to connect with others. 

People with avoidant personality disorder exhibit feelings of inadequacy, shyness due to anxiety, and their feelings are easily hurt.


Approximately what percentage of the population suffers from avoidant personality disorder?

About 1% of the population suffers from avoidant personality disorder at any given time.

Avoidant personality disorder affects males and females equally.


What personality disorder is commonly referred to as sociopathy or psychopathy?

Both are essentially synonymous with antisocial personality disorder. 


borderline personality disorder 

Borderline personality disorder, (BPD), is a personality disorder marked by extremely unstable mood and impulsive behavior.

People with BPD exhibit extreme distress in response to real or perceived abandonment, an intolerance of being alone, feelings of emptiness and boredom, and self-injury.


Is borderline personality disorder more prevalent in males or females?

BPD is much more common in females than in males.


an anxiety disorder

An anxiety disorder is a group of disorders characterized by intense and inappropriate anxiety, especially in response to neutral stimuli, to the point of interfering with daily functioning. 


What are five examples of anxiety disorders

Five examples of anxiety disorders are:

  1. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  2. Generalized anxiety disorder 
  3. Panic disorder
  4. Social anxiety/phobia
  5. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)


a panic disorder 

A panic disorder is an anxiety disorder that involves frequent panic attacks, even when there is no immediate threat. 


a panic attack

A panic attack is a brief (15-20 minute) burst of intense fear and anxiety felt by people that suffer from panic disorder.

During a panic attack the person might experience dizziness, chest pain, nausea, sweating, shaking, and the feeling that one is about to die.