Psychology Psycho-pathology

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  • Psycho-pathology
    • Definitions of abnormality.
      • Statistical Deviation
        • Any relatively usual behaviour or characteristic can be thought of as 'normal' and any behaviour that is different to this is 'abnormal'.
        • IQ example= normal distribution is that a cluster of people will be around the average and a few below and above. Avg IQ is 100. Most people range from 85-115. 2% are below 70 and these people have a diagnosis of intellectual disability disorder.
      • Deviation from Social Norms
        • We notice when people behave in a way that is different to what we expect. We make a collective judgement as a society about what is right.
        • Norms specific to culture: social norms may be different for each generation and every culture. e.g. homosexuality is viewed as abnormal in many places but is normal to us now.
      • Failure to Function Adequately
        • When someone is unable to cope with ordinary demands of day-to-day living, they fail to function adequately.
        • When is someone FTFA?
          • Rosenhan and Seligman proposed signs to determine when someone is not coping.
            • 1) when someone doesn't conform to standard interpersonal rules e.g. eye contact.
            • 2) experiencing severe personal stress.
            • 3) when someones behaviour becomes irrational/dangerous.
      • Deviation from Social Norms
        • What does ideal mental health look like?
          • Jahoda suggested these criteria:
            • 1. We can cope with stress.
            • 2. We have a realistic view of the world.
            • 3. Have good self-esteem.
            • 4. Have inde-pendance
            • Can successfully work, love and enjoy our leisure.
    • Phobias
      • DSM-5 categories:
        • Phobias are categorised by excessive fear and anxiety, triggered by an object, place or situation. The fear is out of proportion to any real danger presented.
        • Specific Phobia: of an object e.g. body part, or situation e.g. flying.
        • Social Anxiety: of a social situation e.g. public speaking.
        • Agoraphobia: of being outside/ public place.
      • Behavioural Characteristics of Phobias:
        • Panic: may involve a range of behaviours like crying, screaming or running away. Children may react differently by freezing or clinging.
        • Avoidance: they tend to go about their day trying to avoid contact with the phobic stimulus- can make it hard to go about daily life.
        • Endurance: when the sufferer remains in the presence of the phobic stimulus but still experiences high levels of anxiety.
      • Emotional Characteristics of Phobias:
        • Anxiety: an unpleasant state of high arousal. Prevents the sufferer from relaxing and makes it difficult to experience any positive emotion.
          • Can be long term. Happens when we encounter or think about the phobic stimulus.
        • Emotional Responses are Unreasonable: we fear things like spiders despite it being harmless and our fear is wildly disproportionate to the danger being posed by a spider.
      • Cognitive Characteristics of Phobias:
        • Selective Attention to the Phobic Stimulus: keeping our attention on something really dangerous is a good thing as it will give us the best chance of reacting to threat, but it's not useful when the fear is irrational.
        • Irrational Beliefs: social phobias can involve beliefs like 'i must always sound intelligent'. This increases pressure on the sufferer to perform well in social situations.
        • Cognitive distortions: the phobics perceptions of the phobic stimulus may be distorted. e.g. an ophidiophobic may see snakes as alien and aggressive looking.
    • Depression
      • DSM-5 Categories:
        • Depressive disorders are characterised by changes to the mood.
        • Major Depressive Disorder: severe but often short-term.
        • Persistent Depressive Disorder: long-term/recurring.
        • Prementrual Dysphoric Disorder: disruption to mood prior to and /or during menstruation.
      • Behavioural Characteristics of Depression:
        • Anxiety Levels: sufferers have reduced energy levels, making them lethargic. Leads to withdraw from work, education and social life. Extreme cases= cant get out of bed. Opposite effect can happen where they struggle to relax.
        • Disruption to Sleep and Eating Behaviour: sufferers may experience reduced sleep or an increase in need for sleep. Similarly eating may increse or decrease, leading to weight gain or loss.
        • Aggression and Self-harm: sufferers can become verbally or physically aggressive, towards others and even the self. This includes self-harm often in the form of cutting/ suicide attempts.
      • Emotional Characteristics of Depression:
        • Lowered mood: patients desribe themselves as 'worthless' or 'empty'.
        • Anger: experience more negative than positive emotion. can lead to anger and aggression to the self.
        • Lowered Self-esteem: sufferers report low self-esteem, can be extreme where some say they begin to hate themselves.
      • Cognitive Characteristics of Depression:
        • Poor Concentration: unable to stick with a task or find it hard to make decisions. These interfere with the individuals work.
        • Dwelling on the Negative: inclined to pay attention to the negative aspects and ignore the positives. Also recall unhappy events rather than happy ones.
        • Absolutist Thinking: sufferers see things as black and white. When a situation is bad they see it as an absolute disaster.
    • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
      • DSM-5 Categories:
        • OCD disorders all have repetitive behaviour accompanied by obsessive thinking.
        • OCD: characterised by either obsessions (recurring thoughts, images etc.) and/or compulsions (repetitive behaviours such as hand washing). Most poeple with an OCD diagnosis have both.
        • Trich-tillomania: compulsive hair pulling.
        • Hoarding Disorder: compulsive gathering of possessions and the inability to part with anything.
        • Excoriation Disorder: compulsive skin picking.
      • Behavioural Characteristics of OCD:
        • Compulsions: there are 2 elements of compulsive behaviours:
          • Compulsions are repetitive: typically sufferers feel compelled to repeat a behaviour. Common example is hand-washing.
          • Compulsions reduce anxiety: 10% of sufferers show compulsive behaviour alone- no obsession just a general sense of irrational anxiety.
            • However for most people, compulsive behaviours are performed in an attempt to manage the anxiety produced by obsessions.
              • E.g. hand washing is carried out as a response to an obsessive fear of germs.
        • Avoidance: sufferers may be characterised by their avoidance as they attempt to reduce anxiety by keeping away from situations that trigger it.
      • Emotional Characteristics of OCD:
        • Anxiety and distress: OCD is an unpleasant emotional experience because of the powerful anxiety that accompanies it.The urge to repeat a behaviour creates anxiety.
        • Additional Depression: OCD is often accompanies by depression. Compulsive behaviour tends to bring some relief however this is only temporary.
        • Guilt and Disgust: OCD sometimes involves other negative emotions such as irrational guilt or disgust which may be directed at something external like dirt or the self.
      • Cognitive Characteristics of OCD:
        • Obsessive Thoughts: vary considerably but are always unpleasant.
        • Cognitive Strategies: people respond by adopting cognitive coping strategies. This may help manage anxiety but the person may seem abnormal to others.
        • Excessive Anxiety: sufferers are aware their obsessions and compulsions are not rational. However they they think about the worst case scenarios and tend to be hyper vigilant, keeping constant alertness on potential hazards.

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