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Psychological disorders

-Disorders reflecting abnormalities of the mind.

-Disturbances in thoughts, feelings, and emotions that are persistent and uncontrollable.
-Symp. are associated with significant distress or impairment
-Symp. are from internal dysfunction (biological, psychological, both)


Medical Model

the conceptualization of psychological abnormalities as diseases that, like biological diseases, have symptoms, causes, and possible cures.
-diagnosis, symptoms, syndrome.


Intervention-causation fallacy

involves the assumption that if a treatment is effective, it must address the cause of the problem.



Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

-A classification system describing diagnostic criteria, symptoms, ways to distinguish one disorder from another
-Help clinicians communicate and target treatment


For each disorder, the DSM-V gives:

-Most common symptoms
-Typical age of onset
-Predisposing factors
-Course of disorder
-Prevalence of disorders
-Sex ratio
-Cultural issues



the co-occurrence of two or more disorders in a single individual.



World Health Organization Disability Assessment Scale

-36 item, self administered measure of illness disability over past 30 days, applicable to any illness


Problems with DSM-V

-Danger of Over-Diagnosis
-Power of Diagnostic Labels
-Confusion of serious mental disorder (Schizophrenia) with less significant problems (caffeine-induced sleep disorder)
-Illusion of Objectivity and Universality


Diathesis-stress model

a model suggesting that a person may be predisposed for a mental disorder that remains unexpressed until triggered by stress.
-Nature AND Nurture


Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

-Long lasting feelings of apprehension and doom
-Chronic excessive worry accompanied > 3 of the following symptoms:
-Restlessness or keyed up or on edge
-concentration problems or mind goes blank
-muscle tension
-sleep disturbance.


Panic Disorder (PD)

recurring attacks of intense fear/panic/terror.
-Followed by > 1 of these symptoms for > 1 month :
-Attacks followed by persistent concern about having another attack.
-Worry about implications of attack.
-Significant change of behavior related to attacks.


Phobic Disorders

disorders characterized by marked, persistent, and excessive fear and avoidance of specific objects, activities, or situations.


Specific phobia

irrational fear of a particular object or situation that markedly interferes with an individual’s ability to function.
-Animals (snakes, spiders)
-Natural Environments (height, dark, storms)
-Situations (bridges, elevators)
-Blood, injections, injury
-Other (illness, death)



-(fear of public places)
-Anxiety in places or situation where escape might be hard or embarrassing OR where help may not be available if you have a panic attack.
-Situations are avoided or endured with marked distress/panic attack.


Panic Attack

discrete period of time of panic in which > 4 symptoms develop abruptly and reach peak by 10 minutes


Social Phobia

-irrational fear of being publicly humiliated or embarrassed.
-Situations where they are being observed like eating in a restaurant, public speaking, party, performance
-Fear they will do or say something humiliating


Preparedness Theory

the idea that people are instinctively predisposed toward certain fears.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

-Obsessions: recurrent, persistent, unwanted thoughts or images
-Contamination, death, sex, disease, orderliness, disfigurement, aggression

-Compulsions: repetitive, ritualized, stereotyped behaviors that person feels must be carried out to avoid disaster
-Cleaning, checking, repeating, ordering, counting


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

-Recurrent, intrusive thoughts
-Negative alterations in cognitions or mood (neg beliefs about oneself or world, feeling alienated, blame of self or others, diminished interest)
-Alterations in arousal and reactivity (insomnia, irritability, impaired concentration)
-symptoms impair functioning
-More likely to develop PTSD if:
-Poor coping skills, previous trauma, low social support, lower IQ, smaller hippocampus, low SES


Depressive Disorders

Characterized by extreme and persistent periods of depressed mood.


Major Depression

>5 symptoms over 2 week period, must have depressed mood OR loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities (2x more common in women):
-Depressed mood
-Diminished interest or pleasure in activities
-Significant weight loss/gain OR decease/increase in appetite
-Insomnia or hypersomnia
-Psychomotor agitation or retardation (restless, slowed down)
-Fatigue or loss of energy
-Feelings of worthlessness or excessive inappropriate guilt
-Inability to concentrate, make decisions
-Recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal ideation with plan, suicide attempt



the same cognitive and bodily problems as in depression, but they are less severe and last longer – persisting for at least 2 years.


Double Depression

periodic major depression and dysthymia.


Postpartum Depression

after giving birth; biological, social & responsibility changes, lack of sleep/support


Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

recurrent depressive episodes in a seasonal pattern.


Why do people develop depression?

-Genetic component, runs in families
-Neurotransmitter differences (low serotonin)
-Brain structure differences (but correlated not necessarily causal)


Helplessness Theory

attribute negative experiences to causes that are internal (their fault), stable (unlikely to change), and global (widespread).



-#3 cause of death in HS & college students
-In US, women attempts 3-4x more, but men 3-4x more likely to succeed. WHY?
-Men do more violent things (gunshot to head) women do less violent things (down a bottle of pills)
-Risk Factors: hopelessness


Bipolar Disorder

an unstable emotional condition characterized by cycles of abnormal, persistent high mood (mania), and low mood (depression).


Bipolar I

major depression + manic episode


Bipolar II

major depression + hypomanic episode (not severe enough to cause marked impairment)


Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder

is characterized by at least 4 mood episodes.


Manic Episode

-abnormally high state of exhilaration, feeling powerful, full of plans based on delusional ideas, impulsive high risk behavior.
- Distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood lasting at least 1 week


Dissociative Disorder

-a condition in which normal cognitive processes are severely disjointed and fragmented, creating significant disruptions in memory, awareness, or personality that can vary in length from a matter of minutes to many years.
-dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality disorder)
-dissociative fugue
-dissociative amnesia.


Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)

-the presence within an individual of two or more distinct identities that, at different times, take control of the individual’s behavior. Inability to recall important personal information too extensive to be ordinary forgetfulness.
-Emerges as a means to cope with trauma
-People generally unaware of “alters” until therapy
-Controversial rise in diagnosis generated by clinicians, true rates are probably low


Paranoid Type

is characterized by auditory hallucinations and delusions about persecution or conspiracy. However, unlike those who have other subtypes of the disease, these individuals show relatively normal cognitive functioning.


Catatonic Type

involves a disturbance in movement. Some might stop moving (catatonic stupor) or experience radically increased movement (catatonic excitement). Also, these individuals might assume odd positions, continuously repeat what others are saying (echolalia) or imitate another person’s movement (echopraxia).


Disorganized Type

is a disruption of thought processes, so much so that daily activities (e.g., showering, brushing teeth) are impaired. Sufferers frequently exhibit inappropriate or erratic emotions. For instance, they might laugh at a sad occasion. Also, their speech becomes disorganized and nonsensical.


Undifferentiated Type

includes several symptoms from the above types, but the symptoms don’t exactly fit the criteria for the other kinds of schizophrenia.


Residual Type

is diagnosed when a person no longer exhibits symptoms or these symptoms aren't as severe.



“personality loses its unity”, a disorder characterized by the profound disruption of basic psychological processes; a distorted perception of reality; altered or blunted emotion; and disturbances in thought, motivation, and behavior.
Five Types of disorder based on primary characteristics


Schizophrenia Positive Symptoms

additions to normal behavior
-Disorganized, incoherent speech
-Grossly disorganized inappropriate behaviors


Schizophrenia Negative Symptoms

loss of normal traits/behaviors
-Emotional flatness
-Can’t speak fluently
-Cant care for self
-Catatonic stupor



false belief system & thoughts, often bizarre and grandiose, maintained despite irrationality.
Identity, paranoid, thoughts inserted into head by someone else, broadcasts over TV, celebrity loves them. NO insight they have lost control of their minds



false sensory experience that feels real
Hear voices, see things, smell things
Common to commit suicide to avoid voices


Disorganized, incoherent speech

ideas shift rapidly and incoherently from one to another unrelated topics.
Word salad: illogical jumble of ideas


Grossly disorganized inappropriate behaviors

Inappropriate for situation, ineffective in attaining goals, often with specific motor disturbance
Childlike silliness, violent agitation, collect garbage, wear 3 coats


What causes Schizophrenia

Dopamine Theory
-Excess of dopamine in brain

Genetic Predisposition
-See chart, 1% lifetime risk in general population, 50% identical twins, 40% two Sz parents, 12% one Sz parent

Brain Structure Differences
-Enlarged ventricles, ↑ brain tissue loss over time

Diathesis-stress Model
-Disturbed Home Environment Example:
-Sz bio mom + disturbed adoptive home = high risk of Sz
-Sz bio mom + healthy adoptive home = moderate risk
-No Sz bio mom + disturbed adoptive home = low risk

Prenatal Environment
Malnutrition, viral infection, birth complications : ↑ risk


Personality Disorder

disorder characterized by deeply ingrained, inflexible patterns of thinking, feeling, or relating to others or controlling impulses that cause distress or impaired functioning.
-10 different PDs


Odd/eccentric cluster

-Paranoid PD
-Schizoid PD
-Schizotypal PD


Dramatic/erratic cluster

-Antisocial PD
-Narcissistic PD
-Borderline PD
-Histrionic PD


Anxious/inhibited cluster

-Avoidant PD
-Dependent PD
-Obsessive-Compulsive PD


Paranoid Personality Disorder

a pattern of distrust and suspiciousness such that others’ motives are interpreted as malevolent. Delusions of being persecuted.


Schizoid Personality Disorder

pattern of detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of emotional expression. Loner, prefers to be alone.


Schizotypal Personality Disorder

pattern of acute discomfort in close relationships, cognitive or perceptual distortions, and eccentricities of behavior. Talk to self or not respond in communication. Might be mild form of Schizophrenia


Antisocial Personality Disorder

pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others, present in childhood. Impulsive, less sensitive to fear.
-Serial killers; con men; abuse others emotionally, physically or financially; break the law,
-Psychopath: inability to feel normal emotions, no remorse, no shame, guilt.


Narcissistic Personality Disorder

a pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, lack of empathy. Preoccupied with fantasies of their own importance, power, and brilliance. Demand special treatment.


Borderline Personality Disorder

pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, affects; marked impulsivity.
-Idealize then devalue partner, try to avoid real or imagined abandonment
-Cutters, threaten to commit suicide
-Emotionally volatile, anger to euphoria
-I hate you, don't leave


Histrionic Personality Disorder

pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking.
-Operatic, uses sexuality, provocative dress, exaggerated illness. Overly lively, dramatic, enthusiastic, flirtatious. Emotions as if on stage.


Avoidant Personality Disorder

pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation. Wants social contact but fears criticism and rejection so avoid social situations.


Dependent Personality Disorder

pattern of submissive and clinging behavior related to an excessive need to be taken care of.


Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

-pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and control.
-Won’t delegate tasks, stubborn, inflexible in terms of morality, can’t complete tasks because of own perfectionism.