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Abnormal Psychology

Concepts and Diagnosis

Examine the concepts of normality and abnormality. Abnormality: deviation from social norms, dysfunctional behavior, deviation from ideal mental health, and statistical infrequency. Rosenhan and Seligman (1989) suggested that dysfunctional behavior can be judged based on 7 criteria:
I. Personal distress: experiencing unpleasant emotional experiences such as guilt, anxiety and depression to an excessive degree. II. Maladaptiveness: behavior that interferes with the ability to meet everyday responsibilities and cope with everyday demands III. Irrationality: behavior which has no rational basis and is unconnected to reality IV. Unpredictability: behavior which is impulsive and seemingly uncontrollable and disrupts the lives of others V. Statistically infrequent: abnormal behavior is shown by a minority and the majority VI. Observer discomfort: breaking the unwritten and unspoken rules by which most people abide and the violation of which makes others feel uncomfortable


Violation of moral and ideal standards: behavior can be considered abnormal if it violates moral standards even when most people in a particular group or culture practice that behavior

Marie Jahoda (1958) instead of trying to define what is abnormal she tried to define what is normal. Jahoda identified six components of ideal mental health based on a review of literature. I. Positive attitude toward own self II. Growth, development and self actualization III. Integration IV. Autonomy V. Accurate perception of reality VI. Environmental mastery

Discuss validity and reliability of diagnosis.

Classification of mental disorders involved identification of groups/patterns of behavioral/mental symptoms. This allows a prognosis to be made, professionals to more easily identify groups of similar sufferers, and suitable treatments to be administered to similar symptoms.
The major systems of diagnosis include the DSM and ICD.

DSM: - defines a mental disorder as clinically significant syndrome associated with distress, loss of functioning, an increased risk of death/pain, or an important loss of freedom. - strength- utilizes multi-axial diagnosis and encourages a diagnosing clinician to use a more holistic approach to understanding the person. - undergoes constant revisions and adapts to changes in thinking overtime ICD: -more commonly used internationally than the DSM and it covers a wide range of diseases and conditions for the sake of classification rather than diagnosis

Discuss cultural and ethical considerations in diagnosis. Cultural Factors: Cultural bound syndromes (CBS) syndromes that dont fit easily into the categories and classifications of supposedly universal disorders

Psychological Disorders
Describe symptoms and prevalence of one disorder from two of the following groups:

Affective disorders (disorders related to mood) Ex. Major depressive disorder DSM-IV criteria for diagnosing major depressive disorder are 5 or more of the following

symptoms present during the same 2 week period: depressed mood loss of interest or pleasure significant weight loss/gain, or decrease/increase in appetite insomnia or hypersomnia psycho-motor agitation or retardation fatigue/ loss of energy feelings of worthlessness/excessive guilt diminished ability to think of concentrate/indecisiveness recurrent thoughts of death, suicide 3 categories of clinical depression: 1) major depressive disorder 2) dysthymia (constant but generally less severe sympttoms, depression lasts for longer than 2 years) 3) bipolar disorder

eating disorders anxiety disorders

Analyze etiologies of one disorder from two of the following groups: anxiety disorders affective disorders eating disorders

Discuss cultural and gender variations in prevalence of disorders.

Implementing Treatment

Examine biomedical, individual, and group approaches to treatment.

Evaluate the use of biomedical, individual, and group approaches to the treatment of one disorder.

Discuss the use of eclectic approaches to treatment.

Discuss the relationship between etiology and therapeutic approach in relation to one disorder.