Psychology Chapter 18

Chapter 18 Section 1:  What are Psychological Disorders?

  • Introduction
    • Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes.
    • Psychological Disorders:  a pattern of behavior or a mental process that causes serious personal suffering or interferes with a person’s ability to cope with everyday life.
    • Many people believe psychological disorders are uncommon and don’t affect a lot of people.
      • Many people are not admitted to mental hospitals most do not seek help from professionals.
    • In fact, almost 1/3 of the adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of psychological disorder.
  • Identifying psychological disorders
    • Deciding whether a behavior is normal or abnormal can be difficult.
      • Normal generally refers to what is average for the majority of people.
      • Abnormal refers to deviation from the norm.
    • People with psychological disorders do not differ much from “normal” people.
      • The primary difference is the exaggeration of certain behaviors or mental processes.
        • Example:  Laughing
          • Normal – laughing is a normal healthy response to a humorous situation.
          • Abnormal – laughing  all the time or at inappropriate situations.
  • Symptoms of Psychological Disorders
    • Introduction
      • Several behavior patterns and mental processes may suggest that an individual as a psychological disorder.
        • The word suggest is important because diagnosing an individual with a psychological disorder is often difficult, and diagnoses are not always simple or straightforward.
      • Psychologists uses several criteria to determine whether a person’s behavior indicates the presence of a psychological disorder:
        • Typicality - How typical the behavior is of people in general.
        • Maladpativity - Whether the behavior is maladaptive.
        • Emotional Discomfort - Whether the behavior causes the individual emotional discomfort.
        • Socially Unacceptable Behavior - Whether the behavior is social unacceptable.
    • Typicality – the degree to which behavior is average or typical of the behavior of people in general.
      • Problems with typicality:
        • Just because something is not typical does not make it abnormal.
          • Ex. Picasso was not a typical person, but he was not considered abnormal.
      • Maladaptivity – the behavior impairs an individual’s ability to function adequately in Behavior that causes misery and distress rather than happiness and fulfillment may be considered maladaptive.
        • Example:  Alcohol abuse
          • Alcohol abuse often has strong negative effects on the drinker’s health, work, and family life.
          • Abuse of alcohol may discourage the drinker from seeking healthier solutions to the problem of anxiety as well as create additional problems of its own.
      • Behavior that is hazardous to oneself or others is considered maladaptive.
        • Example – threatening to attack other people.
    • Emotional Discomfort – psychological disorders can cause this.
      • Example: depression
        • People who are depressed often suffer feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt, and extreme sadness.
        • They may lose interest in things they use to enjoy.
        • Such feelings can be stressful and can lead to thoughts of suicide.
    • Social Unacceptable Behavior – behavior that violates a society’s accepted norms.
      • This is dependent on the particular society or culture in which it occurs.
        • Something considered normal in one culture may be considered abnormal in another culture.
          • Culture-bound syndromes:  clusters of symptoms that define or describe an illness in a particular culture.
  • Classifying Psychological Disorders
    • Most psychologists agree that it is important to have a widely agreed upon classification of psychological disorders.
      • This helps individuals to be correctly diagnosed and treated.
    • The most widely used classification system is the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) which is published by the APA (American Psychological Association).  The most recent version was printed in 2000.
      • Diagnosis is based on observable signs and symptoms, not on presumed causes.
    • The DSM is constantly under revision as psychologists learn new things every day.
  • Exit Ticket: Page 412 “Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity”
    • Students will read and answer 1 of the 2 Thinking Critically Questions.
  • Chapter 18 Sections 2 - 7
  • For the remainder of this chapter it will be your responsibility to become an expert on one section/type of disorder.  Working in groups of 3 you will be assigned a section to become an expert on.  You will be expected to read your section and answer the questions that go along with your section.  On Monday one person from your group will become a “floater.”  They will move from group to group and share the information with other groups.  This way everyone will get all the notes for this chapter.  On Tuesday there will be a quiz on chapter 18.
  • Section 2:  Anxiety Disorders - Pages 415 - 417
  •  LT:  I can distinguish among the anxiety disorders and outline the theories that explain them.
  • Define Anxiety:  a general state of dread or uneasiness that occurs in response to a vague or imagined danger.
  • How is anxiety different then fear? – fear is response to a danger or threat while anxiety is typically characterized by nervousness, inability to relax, and concern about losing control.
  • What are some physical signs and symptoms of anxiety? – trembling, sweating, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, increased blood pressure, flushed face, and feeling of faintness of light-headedness.
  • Are anxiety disorders common? – yes, they are among the most common of all psychological disorders in the U.S.
  • Complete the chart:


Types of Anxiety Disorders



Diagnosis (how do psychologists diagnose this disorder?

Examples or symptoms of this disorder .

Phobic Disorder

Phobia:   an excessive, irrational fear of out proportion to the actual danger.

Simple Phobia:  an anxiety disorder characterized by a persistent irrational fear of a specific object or situation.

Social Phobia:  an irrational fear of social situations in which one may be exposed to close scrutiny of others.

The fear must lead to avoidance behavior that interferes with the affected person’s normal life.

Zoophobia, claustrophobia, acrophobia, arachnophobia.

Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia

Panic Attack:  an episode of intense dread in which a person experiences terror and other frightening sensations.

Agoraphobia:  a fear of crowded, public places.

Reoccurring and unexpected panic attacks

Fear of crowded places

Genearalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder:  an excessive or unrealistic worry about life circumstances that lasts for at least six months.

The worries must be present during most of a six month period.

Worries focus on work, finances, interpersonal problems, accidents, or illness.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessions:  a recurring thought or image that seems to be beyond control.

Compulsions:  an apparently irresistible urge to repeat an act or engage in ritualistic behavior.

The need to do something even if they know it is unjustified.

Constantly washing hands.

Checking and rechecking locks.

Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder: a disorder that follows a distressing event outside the range of normal human experiences and is characterized by intense fear, avoidance of stimuli associated with the event, and reliving of the event.

Person needs to experience a traumatic event and  have symptoms that can last for months or years.

Flashbacks, nightmares, feelings of numbness, avoidance of stimuli, increased tension.

  • Section 3 Dissociative Disorders – Pages 420-421
  • LT:  I can describe the four dissociative disorders.
  • Define Dissociation: a split in consciousness.
  • When is dissociation considered normal? – someone may be engrossed in a book or TV
  • When is dissociation considered abnormal? – when dissociation occurs as a way to avoid stressful events or feelings, it is considered to be a sign of a psychological disorder.
  • What does dissociation have to do with stress? – it is believed that dissociation occurs when individuals are faced with urges or experiences that are very stressful.  By dissociating they are able to remove themselves from the source of stress and lessen their feelings of anxiety.
  • What is dissociative amnesia? – characterized by a sudden loss of memory usually followed by a particularly stressful or traumatic event.
  • How long does dissociative amnesia last? – it can last from a few hours to a few years.
  • What is dissociative fugue? – characterized by forgetting personal information and past events, but also by suddenly relocating from home or work and taking on a new identity.
  • What do people who experience dissociative fugue do?  - when individuals with dissociative fugue travel away from their home or workplace they make take on a new name, residence, and occupation.  They may become socially active in their new identity and not appear to be ill in any way.
  • Do people who experience dissociative fugue remember their fugues?  - no, they no longer remember what happened in their fugue state.
  • What is another name for dissociative identity disorder? – Multiple personality disorder.
  • What is dissociative identity disorder?  - this involves the existence of two or more personalities in a single individual.
  • Are the personalities in a person with dissociative identity disorder aware of one another? – the various personalities may or may not be aware of one another.
  • What are some differences between personalities within a person with dissociative identity disorder? – each personality is likely to be different from the others in several ways including such observable traits as voice, facial expressions, age, gender, and physical characteristics.  The personalities may even have different allergies or eye prescriptions.  They also behave differently from one another.
  • How does a person develop dissociative identity disorder? – people with this disorder were severely abused in childhood.  They typically suffer severe physical, sexual, and/or psychological abuse.  It can be brought on by other types of trauma as well.
  • Define depersonalization:  a dissociative disorder characterized by persistent or recurrent feelings that one is unreal or is detached from one’s own experiences or body.
  • How do people with depersonalization disorder describe themselves?  - they describe feeling as though they are outside their bodies observing them at a distance.
  • Section 4 Somatoform Disorders – Pages 421-422
  • LT:  I can explain somatization, and list the symptoms of two somatoform disorders.
  • Define somatization:   the expression of psychological distress through physical symptoms.  People with somatoform disorders have psychological problems (such as depression) but experience inexplicable physical symptoms (such as paralysis).
  • Do people with somatization “fake” their illness? – no, they honestly feel pain or believe they cannot move their limbs.
  • What is conversion disorder?  People with conversion disorder experience a change in or loss of physical functioning in a major part of their body for which there is no known medical explanation.
  • Give an example of something a person with a conversion disorder may experience – they may suddenly develop the inability to see at night or to move their legs, even though no medical explanation can be found for their sudden physical disability.  These behaviors are not faked.
  • Are people who experiencing a conversion disorder concerned about their symptoms?  No, this can help with diagnosis of a conversion disorder.
  • What is hypochondriasis more commonly known as? – Hypochondria
  • What is hypochondria? –a person’s unrealistic perception with thoughts that he or she has a serious disease.
  • Section 5 Mood Disorders – pages 423-425
  • LT:  I can identity several theories that attempt to explain mood disorders.
  • Define depression:  a psychological disorder characterized by extreme sadness, inability to concentrate and feelings of helplessness, and dejection
  • Define bipolar disorder:  a disorder in which a person’s mood inappropriately alternates between extremes of elation and depression.
  • What disorder is the most common of all the psychological disorders? – Major Depression.  It has been estimated that depression affects more than 100 million people worldwide and that between 8 and 18 percent of the general population will experience depression in their lifetime.
  • Major depression is diagnosed when an individual experiences five or more of the nine symptoms of depression.  What are the nine symptoms of depression? – persistent depressed mood, loss of pleasure in most activities, significant gain/loss of weight, change in sleeping patterns, speeding up/slowing down of emotional/physical reactions, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or unfounded guilt, trouble concentrating or making decisions, thoughts of death/suicide.
  • Why is it so important for people with major depression to get treated?  - as many as 15% severely depressed individuals eventually commit suicide.
  • How is bipolar disorder characterized? – dramatic ups and downs in moods.  Periods of mania can change into depression quickly and for no apparent reason.
  • What is mania? A mood characterized by extreme elation and hyperactivity.
  • What are some common traits of mania? – inflated self-esteem, inability to sit still or sleep, pressure to keep talking and switching topics, racing thoughts, difficulty  concentrating.
  • Section 6 Schizophrenia – pages 426-429
  • LT:  I can describe the subtypes and causes of schizophrenia.
  • Define schizophrenia:  a group of severe psychotic disorders characterized by distortions in thinking, perception, emotion, and behavior.  There is a loss of contact with reality.
  • When does schizophrenia generally appear?   - Typically it first appears in young adulthood, but it may occur at other ages.
  • What are the most obvious symptoms of schizophrenia? – hallucinations, delusions, and thought disorders.  Most of the time hallucinations are auditory (hearing voices.)
  • What is a delusion of grandeur?  - belief by a person with schizophrenia that they are superior to other people.
  • Besides having trouble organizing mental processes, what other symptoms to people with schizophrenia have? – social withdrawal, loss of social skills, and loss of normal emotional responsiveness.
  • Define catatonic stupor:  an immobile, expressionless, coma-alike state associated with schizophrenia.
  • What is paranoid schizophrenia? – people with paranoid schizophrenia have delusions or frequent auditory hallucinations centered on a single theme.
  • Give an example of paranoid schizophrenia. – an individual with paranoid schizophrenia may be convinced the people are plotting against them even when there is no evidence of this.
  • What is disorganized schizophrenia? – people with this are incoherent in their thoughts  and speech and disorganized in their behaviors.
  • How is disorganized schizophrenia different from paranoid schizophrenia?  People with disorganized have hallucinations and delusions, but they tend to be fragmentary and unconnected, unlike the more ordered and systematic delusions of those with paranoid schizophrenia.
  • How do people with disorganized schizophrenia deal with emotion? – they are either emotionless or show inappropriate emotions. They may act silly and giddy and then giggle and speak nonsense. 
  • Do people with disorganized schizophrenia care about hygiene?  Why or why not? No, they may neglect their appearance and hygiene and even lose control of their bladders or bowels.
  • What are the symptoms of catatonic schizophrenia? – lack of movement, holding unusual, uncomfortable body positions for long periods of time. 
  • What is way flexibility? – a condition in which other people can mold those experiencing catatonic schizophrenia into strange poses they will continue to hold for hours.
  • Section 7 Personality Disorders – pages 429 – 431
  • LT:  I can distinguish personality disorders from other psychological disorders.
  • What are personality disorders? – patterns of inflexible traits that disrupt social life or work and/or distress the affected individual.
  • When do personality disorders show up? By late adolescence
  • What do personality disorders affect?  All aspects of the individuals personality including thought processes, emotions, and behavior.
  • What is the difference between personality disorders and other psychological disorders? – psychological disorders are episodes of illness that an individual experiences and can be distinguished from an individual’s personality.  Personality disorders are enduring traits that are major components of the individual’s personality.
  • What is paranoid personality disorder? – people with paranoid personality disorder tend to be distrustful and suspicious of others and to interpret others’ motives as harmful or evil.  They tend to perceive other people’s behavior as threatening or insulting even when it is not.
  • Are people with paranoid personality disorder easy to get along with?  Why or why not? No, they are difficult to get along with because they are argumentative, yet cold and aloof.  They often lead isolated lives.
  • How are people with paranoid personality disorder different than those with paranoid schizophrenia? Those with the personality disorder are not confused about realty. 
  • What is schizoid personality disorder? People with schizoid personality disorder have no interest in relationships with other people.  They also lack emotional responsiveness.  They do not become attached to other people and tend to be loners with few if any friends.
  • How are people with schizoid personality disorder different from people with schizophrenia? People with schizoid personality disorder do not have delusions or hallucinations.  They stay in touch with reality.
  • What is antisocial personality disorder? People with this disorder show a persistent behavior pattern of disregard for, and violation of the rights of others.  Typically they do not feel guild or remorse for their antisocial behaviors, and continue the behaviors despite threat of social rejection and punishment.
  • What are some signs of antisocial personality disorder? A person with antisocial personality disorder may run away from home, hurt other people or animals, lie or steal.  In adulthood the person may be aggressive and reckless, have a hard time holding a job, fail to pay bills, or break the law.
  • What is avoidant personality disorder? People with this disorder desire relationships with other people, but are prevented from forming these relationships by tremendous fear of the disapproval of others. Thus they act shy and withdrawn in social situations always afraid they will say or do something foolish or embarrassing.
  • Which is more severe social phobia or avoidant personality disorder?  Avoidant personality disorder become it is more sever and all-encompassing.