Abnormality and diagnosis

Summary of diagnosing and defining abnormality. Tell me if anything needs to be edited or added to it.

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  • Abnormality
    • Definitions
      • Statistical Infrequency
        • Two standard deviations outside of the mean is abnormal i.e. the top 2% and the bottom 2% of a bell curve showing results of an IQ test
        • + Objective
        • - Cutoff points are arbitrary
        • -Cultural relativism
        • -Labelling
      • Deviation from social norms
        • Every society has its own set of standards for acceptable behavior. If something moves away from this, it is abnormal
          • Labelling
          • +Takes into account desirability of behaviour
          • -Lack of temporal validity. What is normal while ago may not be normal now
      • Failure to function adequately
        • Suffering, Unpredictabe, Maladaptive, Observer discomfort, Vivid/unconventional, Violation of social/moral norms, Irrationality
          • -What is abnormal is not always dysfunctional
          • -Who gets to decide who/what is abnormal? Subjectivity
          • -Cultural relativism
      • Deviation from ideal mental health
        • Defines normality rather than abnormality. To be abnormal, someone must fail to meet some of these criteria:
          • Positive view of self, accurate perception of reality, autonomy, integration, master of their environment
            • -Cultural relativism
            • -Labelling
            • -Unrealistic. Who can actually achieve all this?
            • +Looks at normality rather than abnormality
    • Classification
      • DSM VI
        • Multi axial
          • 1= Clinical  disorder,      2= Personality disorder or mental retardation, 3= medical conditions leading to axis 1 or 2, 4= Psycho-social 5= General assessment of functioning
        • Published by A.P.A
          • 1) Reliability tested 2) Specialised teams
            • published by W.H.O
        • +User friendly, considers cultural differences & differential diagnosis. Updated more often than ICD-10
        • - some terms contradict ICD-10 and this affects reliability and it also lacks temporal validity
      • ICD-10
        • published by W.H.O
        • Chapter 5= mental disorders
        • 11 categories (these are the important ones): schizophrenia/typal, affective disorders and neurotic/ stress disorders
        • Z-codes
        • + Widely used by all health professionals and can be used in a lot of different situations i.e. other chapters
        • - Not as clear or detailed as DSM VI and also lacks temporal validity
      • DSM V
        • Uses ICD-10 codes and DSM VI features for cross reference, no longer uses multi-axial system and is updated fairly frequently as well as using online resources
  • Diagnosis
    • Biases
      • Gender
        • HPD= female associated, ASPD= male associated. Each gender was often misdiagnosed with their respective stereotyped disorder.
      • Cultural
        • African Americans given similar diagnosis to European Americans but they were given a worse prognosis based on nothing but their culture


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