Psychology abnormality

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  • Created by: Emily
  • Created on: 24-05-13 17:46

Defining Psychological Abnormality:

1)       Deviation from social norms  

·         Change overtime e.g. homosexuality

·         Social control e.g. Japan

·         Depends on context

·         Cultural relativity

·         Useful for Identifying unexpected or abnormal behaviour

2)       Failure to function adequately

·         Not always ‘abnormal’ e.g. Eccentricity

·         Cultural factors e.g. Discrimination against minority groups

·         Difficult to define – affects social and work roles; loss of control, irrational, observer discomfort.

3)       Deviation from ideal mental health

·         Positive attitudes to self; self-identity

·         Self-actualisation; meet potential

·         Resistance to stress

·         Personal autonomy

·         Accurate perception of reality

·         Ability to adapt to the environment

·         Subjective (Jahoda, 1958)

·         Very few match all six criteria

·         Culturally specific e.g. personal autonomy, self-actualisation.

·         No single adequate definition

·         Easier for some conditions than others

·         DSM and ICB use a combination of approaches.


·         Diagnosis and classification of disorders

·         Knowledge of aetiology or causes

·         Implications for treatment

·         Implications for prognosis or outcome

·         Parrallels with physical/medical illnesses.

DSM Axes:

1)       I Clinical syndromes

2)       II Developmental disorders and personality disorders

3)       III Physical disorders and conditions

4)       IV psychosocial stressors

5)       V Global assessment of functioning at present and during the past year

DSM-IV Classification:

-          Disorders of childhood and adolescence

-          Deilirium, dementia, amnesias

-          Substance related disorders e.g. drug abuser

-          Schizophrenia and other psychoses

-          Mood disorders e.g. Depression

-          Anxiety disorders e.g. OCD

-          Somatoform disorder e.g. stress causing chest pains, tiredness, dizziness

-          Dissociative disorders e.g. Dissociative identity disorder (DID)

-          Sexual and gender identity disorders e.g. cross dressers

-          Eating disorders e.g. Anorexia

-          Sleep disorders e.g. Nacolepsy

-          Impulse control disorders e.g. Paraphilias

-          Personality disorders e.g. Narcissistic personality disorder

Unipolar depression:

Five out of eight (for at least 2 weeks

-          Sad, depressed mood

-          Loss of pleasure in usual things

-          Sleeping problems

-          Appetite changes

-          Loss of energy

-          Guilt and worthlessness

-          Problems in concentration

-          Thoughts of death and suicide.

Bipolar disorder – manic depression:

Depression plus Mania

-          Increased activity level

-          Rapid speech

-          Racing thoughts

-          Inflated self-esteem

-          Less sleep than normal

-          Distractibility

-          Risky activities.


Must include 2 out of 5:

-          Delusions

-          Hallucinations

-          Incoherence

-          Catatonic behaviour

-          Flat or inappropriate affect (emotion)

Pre-1970: Presence of one or more core symptoms

Post-1970: presence of at least two symptoms, symptoms for at least one week, signs of disturbance for at least           6 months


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