Range from mild disorders (such as adjustment disorders) to more severe and chronic disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
A maladaptive reaction to an identified stressor
occurs shortly following exposure to the stressor
Characterized by academic, occupational, or social problems that exceed those normally caused by stressor.
Resolved if person learns how to cope or stressor is removed
Examples: (end of relationship, life transitions,
Criteria for Determining “Abnormal” Behavior
2. Faulty perception or interpretation of reality
3. Significant personal distress
4. Self-defeating behavior
6. Social unacceptability in a given culture
Classifying Psychological Disorders
Psychological disorders are classified via the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 4 th Edition –Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR).
The DSM-IV-TR uses a multiaxial system of assessment. It provides information about a person’s overall functioning (not just a diagnosis).
5 Axis of DSM-IV-TR
Axis 1: Clinical Syndromes/Psychological Disorders that Impair Functioning
Axis II: Personality Disorders
Axis III: Medical Conditions
Axis IV: Psychosocial and environmental factors
Axis V: Global assessment functioning (GAF)
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Acute Stress Disorder
Specific Phobia: an excessive, irrational fear of a specific object or situation, such as snakes or heights. Examples include claustrophobia (fear of tight or enclosed spaces) and acrophobia (fear of heights).
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Acute Stress Disorder
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A prolonged maladaptive reaction to a traumatic event that is characterized by intense fear , avoidance of stimuli associated with the event, and re-living of the event .
Exposure to trauma in the form of physical attacks, combat, medical emergencies, accidents, terrorist attacks or witnessing a death can lead to PTSD.
Acute Stress Disorder: Characterized by feelings of intense anxiety and feelings of helplessness during the first month following exposure to a traumatic event.
Causal Factors in Anxiety Disorders.
classical conditioning and by observational learning .
unconscious conflicts originating in childhood.
anxiety is maintained by exaggerating the consequences of threatening events.
Biological Views : Genetic factors
genetics may cause predisposition but development of disorder depends on many other factors (such as a warm and loving family, level of stressful events, coping ability, etc.).
Dissociative and Somatoform
Dissociative Disorders: A class of psychological disorders involving changes in consciousness or self-identity .
Somatoform Disorders: A class of psychological disorders in which people have physical complaints that cannot be explained medically or attribute their physical problems to grave causes despite lack of medical evidence.
Role of disorders is to shield self from anxiety.
Dissociative and Somatoform Disorders
Dissociative Identity Disorder
Dissociative Amnesia : Loss of personal memories or self-identity; skills and general knowledge are usually retained. The loss of memory is not due to an organic problem (such as a blow to the head).
Ex. a soldier who, following a stressful combat experience, cannot remember what happened for several hours.
Dissociative Fugue: Dissociative disorder in which one experiences amnesia, then flees to a new location. The new personality is often more outgoing than the “real” identity. Following recovery, the events are not recalled.
Example of Dissociative Amnesia and Fugue (Nurse Betty):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8p4nK1RE5M0&feature=related (0-2:00 and 4:15-4:40 and 5:38-6:20)
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID): a person appears to have two or more distinct identities which may alternate in controlling them. Some psychologists feel that people with DID have constructed these alternate personalities as roles they play to act out confusing emotions.
Depersonalization Disorder: one experiences persistent or recurrent feelings that one is not real or is detached from one’s own experiences or body.
Causal Factors in Dissociative Disorders
Suffered terrible sexual or physical abuse in childhood, usually before the age of 5.
Psychodynamic theorists: dissociative disorders are a result of massive repression
Learning theorists : learned to redirect their thinking away from troubling memories in order to avoid feelings of shame, anxiety and guilt.
Conversion Disorder: A disorder in which anxiety or unconscious conflicts are “converted” into physical symptoms that often have the effect of helping the person cope with anxiety or conflict.
Learning theory: Conversion symptoms represent learned responses that are reinforced by avoidance of painful or anxiety-evoking situations.
Cognitive factors: Evidence is emerging that points to cognitive factors such as distorted thinking patterns.
Major Depression with Psychotic Features
Major Depression : A mood disorder in which the person may have a dampened mood, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, and lack of interest or pleasure. In extreme cases, people suffering from major depression may experience psychotic behaviors.
Psychotic: Relating to a break with reality, as manifested by delusional thinking or hallucinations.
Example (Girl Interrupted) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPt42e5ZKDw (1:45-3:15)
Women are two times more likely to be diagnosed with depression than men.
Women have greater stress than men (multiple demands of childbearing, childrearing and financial support of the family).
Hormonal differences can also contribute to the differences between men and women.
Societal norms for gender roles may also impact our ability to detect depression in men and children (ex. Irritability and anger rather than sadness).
Bipolar Disorder: A mood disorder in which mood alternates between two extreme poles (elation or manic and depression).
In the manic phase , the person may show excessive excitement or silliness, engage in risky behaviors, experience a flight of ideas and speak very rapidly.
Genetic Factors: Heredity plays a key role in schizophrenia. The more closely related two people are by blood, the more likely they are to share the disorder.
Other Biological Factors: Complications during childbirth, being born during the winter (predictive of viral infection) and poor maternal nutrition are also linked to schizophrenia.
Dopamine Theory: According to the dopamine theory, people with schizophrenia overutilize the neurotransmitter dopamine.
Personality Disorders: Enduring patterns of maladaptive behaviors that are sources of distress to the individual or others. Diagnosed after age 18.
Personality disorders cause difficulties in social, personal or occupational functioning.
The DSM-IV-TR lists 10 specific types of personality disorders that are organized in three clusters: Odd or eccentric (Cluster A) behavior, behavior that is overly dramatic , emotional or erratic (Cluster B) and behavior that is anxious or fearful (Cluster C).
Cluster A: Personality Disorders
Paranoid Personality Disorder
Schizoid Personality Disorder
Schizotypal Personality Disorder
Features: Odd or eccentric behavior.
Paranoid personality disorder : A personality disorder characterized by persistent suspiciousness, but not involving the disorganization of paranoid schizophrenia.
Example (Conspiracy Theory)
Schizoid personality disorder : A personality disorder characterized by social detachment or isolation.
Schizotypal personality disorder: A personality disorder characterized by difficulty forming close relationships and oddities of thought and behavior, but not involving bizarre behaviors associated with schizophrenia .
Cluster B: Personality Disorders
Borderline Personality Disorder
Histrionic Personality Disorder
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Anti-Social Personality Disorder
Features: Overly dramatic, emotional or erratic behaviors
Borderline Personality Disorder : A personality disorder characterized by failure to develop a stable self-image, by a pattern of tumultuous moods and stormy relationships with others, and by difficulties controlling impulsive behaviors.
Example (Fatal attraction) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfiA-Rb7UR4 (0:30-1:47).
Histrionic Personality Disorder : A personality disorder characterized by overly dramatic and emotional behavior; by excessive needs to be the center of attention; and by constant demands for reassurance, praise, and approval.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder : A personality disorder characterized by an inflated or grandiose self-image and extreme needs for admiration.
Example (Charles Manson): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9jRDHGabp8&feature=player_embedded
Antisocial Personality Disorder : A personality disorder characterized by a pattern of antisocial and irresponsible behavior, a flagrant disregard for the interests and feelings of others, and lack of remorse for wrongdoing.
Avoidant personality disorder: A personality disorder in which the person is generally unwilling to enter relationships without assurance of acceptance because of extreme fears of rejection and criticism.
Example (UP): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDkt-LdwAkk
Dependent personality disorder : A personality disorder characterized by excessive dependence on others and difficulties making independent decisions.
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder: A personality disorder described by excessive needs for attention to detail and demands for orderliness, as well as perfectionism and highly rigid ways of relating to others.
Causal Factors in Personality Disorders
Most of the theoretical explanations come from the psychodynamic model. Traditional Freudian theory focuses upon faulty resolution of the Oedipal complex.
Learning theorists suggest the childhood experiences can contribute to maladaptive ways of relating to others in adulthood.
Cognitive theorists find that antisocial adolescents interpret social information in ways the bolster their misdeeds.
Genetic factors are implicated in some personality disorders such as schizoid personality disorder.
Suicide is the 8 th leading cause of death in the United States.
Most suicides are linked to mood disorders, especially depression and bipolar disorder. Other factors include feelings of hopelessness, serious medical illness and schizophrenia.
High risk groups include teenagers and young adults, college students, women, European Americans (versus African Americans), Native-American teenagers and older people who are separated or divorced.
Tips if a person refuses to seek help:
Keep the person talking.
Be a good listener.
Suggest that something other than suicide might solve the problem, even if it is not evident at the time.
Emphasize as concretely as possible how the person’s suicide would be devastating to you and to other people who care.
Ask how the person intends to commit suicide.
Do not tell people threatening suicide that they’re acting stupid or crazy.
Suggest that the person go with you to obtain professional help now.