Discovering , topic 9: Abnormal psychology

  • Created by: Chookie
  • Created on: 19-05-17 16:54
What is a characterisation of mental disorders?
abnormal behaviour, thoughts and feelings
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What is abnormal psychology?
The area of psychology which studies and treats mental disorders and focuses on abnormal behaviour that is maladaptive
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What causes mental disorders?
an interaction of genetics, environmental factors and cognitive factors. Though no-one knows how much each factor plays a role
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What causes mental disorders according to the psychodynamic perspective?
intrapsychic conflict. (conflict between the id, superego and the ego). When the conflict becomes too great, our defence mechanisms fail and we engage in maladaptive behaviour in order to cope.
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What causes mental disorders according to the medical approach?
Specific abnormalities in the brain and nervous system. Mental disorders are a disease and should be diagnosed and treated as such. However it is difficult to trace mental disorders to specific physiological abnormalities.
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What is the dominant approach to classifying and treating mental disorders?
The medical approach
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What is the cognitive-behavioural perspective on mental disorders?
That mental disorders are caused by learned maladaptive behaviour patterns. they are best understood by looking at environment factors and cognitive factors (faulty thinking)
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What is the humanistic perspective on mental disorders?
We act to gain positive regard from others, this can lead to maladaptive behaviour. Unconditional positive regard allows us to grow and become our best selves.
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What is the socio cultural perspective on mental disorders?
What is considered abnormal in some cultures is not considered abnormal universally. some mental disorders appear to only manifest in certain cultures (anorexia, koro). This is called culture bound syndrome,
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What is the diathesis-stress perspective on mental disorders?
It combines elements of other approaches. Genetic factors and early life experiences create a diathesis (predisposition) towards a particular mental disorder. Later in life, stressors can overwhelm our ability to cope, causing the disorder to manifes
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What does DSM stand for?
The diagnostic and statistical manual
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What does the DSM-V aim to do?
provide a description about the relevant mental disorder. It was devised to provide a reliable, universal set of categories.It includes diagnostic categories with criteria designed to be explicit as possible.
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What are the 5 DSM axes?
1. major clinical syndromes 2. personality disorders 3. physical disorders 4. severity of stress 5. overall level of functioning using the global assessment of functioning scale to assess quality of life.
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What is the global assessment of functioning scale (GAF)?
It assesses quality of life. It is a 100 point scale. A score of 100 = no impaired functioning, 50 = serious impairment, 10 = impairment that could cause injury.
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What are some disadvantages of classification? (1-5)
1. it does more harm than good, we shouldn't label people. 2. once labelled patients are perceived to have all the characteristics of the label 3. the label explains nothing 4. the reliability of the label is questionable. 5 disorders keep expanding
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What are some disadvantages of classification? (number 6)
6. negative connotations/prejudice that effects employment, accommodation and social interaction
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Why do we classify people?
1. It is important for people to recognise they aren't okay before the development of a successful treatment for a disorder. 2.The treatments for each disorder vary and it its important to know how to treat each one. 3. accurate prognosis-identify
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For most of its history psychology has been founded on the assumption of healthy normality why is this bad?
The idea that if you are suffering then you are abnormal isn't good. A lot of people suffer from mental disorders. 1in5 depression. 30% of adults suffer from some disorder,
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What is maladaptive behaviour?
it is designed to cope with psychological distress but often fails to do so. It can cause people harm or to harm others and has a negative impact on their ability to live their life effectively.
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What is positive psychology and "third wave" philosophies
instead of asking why do people fail, it asks what makes some individuals succeed despite more unfavourable circumstances. increases psychological resilience.
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What does the disease model of mental illness focus on?
weaknesses, overcoming deficiencies, avoiding pain, running from unhappiness, neutral state is a goal, tensionlessness is ideal
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What does the health model of mental illness focus on?
strength, building competencies, seeking pleasure, pursuing happiness, no ceiling, creative tension is ideal
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What is the electisism treatment for mental illness?
it is an eclectic approach. Therapists are trained with a variety of approaches and methods and they use clinical judgement to select the best methods for each child
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What is the psychoanalysis approach to treating mental illness?
to help patients gain insight into their unconscious drives and motivations. use clues like freudian slips, dream analysis and encourage patients to speak freely without censorship to interpret these causes and guide a patient
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What is the humanistic approach to treating mental illness?
Client centred therapy (CCT). Help patient realise their own unique potential for personal growth. Psych problems are a result of growth being blocked, no continuity between actual and ideal selves. Therapists give clients positive regard /reflect
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What are behavioural approaches to treating mental illness?
selection by consequence. Behaviour is the problem. Use conditioning to change behaviours. Systematic desensitisation treat phobias, modern applied behaviour analysis treat autism.
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What is cognitive behavioural therapy?
Tries to change the content of the patients negative thoughts. Mental disorders are caused by maladaptive schemas, scripts, self-talk, attributions and perceptions. CBT trains Ps. to have skills to question assumptions and break cycles of negativity.
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What is anxiety?
A feeling of apprehension or doom accompanied by certain physiological reactions - increased heart rate, sweaty palms, tightness of the stomach.
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What are 5 anxiety disorders?
Generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder
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What is generalised anxiety disorder?
It is an excessive worry about all matters relating to the individuals life.These worries must occur most days over a period of at least 6 months
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What are the symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder?
restlessness, being easily fatigued, muscle tension, difficulty concentrating irritability and sleep disturbance
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how many of the anxiety disorders are general anxiety?
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According to Borkovec's model what causes generalised anxiety disorder?
The strong need to anticipate all outcomes in order to prevent failure
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According to Evsenck's model what causes generalised anxiety disorder?
Attempts to explain both pathological and normal worries. 'alarm function;'. Worry serves to prepare an individual for future behaviour. It prompts the individual to anticipate future situations and their solutions.
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According to the two-factor model (Andrews) what causes generalised anxiety disorder?
Vulnerability to anxiety due to high trait anxiety and poor coping skills. Also perceived loss of control.
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According to information-processing models l what causes generalised anxiety disorder?
People with high trait anxiety and those with GAD show attentional biases. They spend more time processing threat or anxiety-related stimuli than people with low levels of anxiety.
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What is panic disorder?
The fear of fear. Individuals who experience fear are threatened by the presence or the potential presence of fear-related physical states.
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What happens to those who experience panic disorder?
They experience attacks of acute anxiety: terror attacks that can last from a few seconds to a few hours.
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What is the life time prevalence of panic disorder?
4%, equally likely to appear in men and women.
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When does panic disorder start?
in early adulthood, it rarely begins after the age of 35 years
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What are the symptoms of panic disorder?
shortness of breath, sweating, racing heartbeat, physical tension, cognitive disorganisation, dizziness, 'jelly' legs. Between episodes individuals suffer from anticipatory anxiety, fear of having a panic attack.
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What causes a panic attack with panic disorder?
They can occur without an apparent cause or they can be associated to a particular situation
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What evidence is there that genetics causes panic disorder?
The concordance rate is higher for identical (compared to fraternal) twins. 30% of first-degree relatives of a person with panic disorder also have panic disorder. Possibly the result of a single dominant gene.
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What else do people with panic attacks suffer from?
Hypersensitivity to bodily sensations (eg lactic acid from muscles). Such individuals react with alarm to sensations that would not disturb most people
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According to Clark's model what causes panic disorder?
The misinterpretation of bodily events. Two components. Hypervigilance: repeatedly checking for changes in bodily sensations. Avoidance strategies: it relates to the individual avoiding behaviours which they believe will aggravate bodily sensations.
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According to McNally what causes panic disorder?
anxiety-sensitivity. Pre-existing beliefs lead to incorrect attributions.
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What is a phobia?
An unreasonable, excessive or irrational fear of specific objects or situations./
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What is a phobic disorder?
When you have a phobia and it causes great distressed or major interference with life and anxiety out of proportion to danger or threat. This must have been ongoing for 6 months.
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What is agoraphobia?
The fear of open spaces.
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What % of phobic disorders does agoraphobia account for?
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Does agoraphobia occur more in women or men?
It occurs three times as often in women as in men
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At what age do people tend to get agoraphobia?
In their early twenties
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What are the symptoms of agoraphobia?
It is often associated with panic attacks, people with the disorder often spend a majority of their time indoors
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What is social phobia?
The fear of public scrutiny, ensnarement and humiliation. It often leads to mild impairment, however, the situations which they can function in is severly limited.
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What causes social phobia?
The have an attention bias to threat-related stimuli. It is proposed that socially phobic individuals allocate excessive attention towards mental representations of how they are perceived by others.
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What are two examples of specific phobias?
Arachnophobia (fear of spiders) and claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces) . Animals are a common phobia
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What is often a cause of a specific phobia?
A specific traumatic event
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What is the easiest form of phobia to treat?
A specific phobia
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What are the stats relating to a spider phobia?
It occurs in 1/3 of women and 1/4 of men
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What is the evolutionary preparedness hypothesis as a cause of phobias?
We are biologically predisposed to respond selectively to certain stimuli in our environments. Classically conditioned phobias in the lab have shown that spider stimuli are the most difficult to extinguish, more than non-threatening stimuli,
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What is the fear of contamination hypothesis as a cause of phobias?
some stimuli achieve their fear relevant status through direct or indirect associations with fear of contamination of disease (e.g slugs, cockroaches)
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What are obsessions?
Persistent, uncontrollable thoughts (dirt and germs, something terrible might happen to a loved one, symmetry)
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What are compulsions?
Behaviours that the individual cannot keep from performing (cleaning (eg excessive and ritualised hand=washing), repeating rituals, checking, ordering and counting.
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What is obsessive compulsive disorder?
When you have obsessions and compulsions
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What does compulsive behaviour serve as a defence against?
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What is the issue with compulsive behaviour?
The need to perform compulsive behaviour becomes more and more demanding of time, until it interferes with daily life
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Are people with OCD aware that their thoughts and behaviours are pointless ?
Yes. They often wish they can stop
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What is the lifetime prevalence rate of OCD?
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Is OCD higher in men or women?
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What are the four categories most compulsions fall into?
Counting, Checking, Cleaning and Avoidance
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What is suggested as a cause for OCD?
Obsession serve as devices to occupy the mind and displaced painful thoughts.
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How do obsessions help to reduce anxiety?
Because if you have negative thoughs and then turn to alternative patterns of thought (obsessions) which then helps to reduce anxiety this thought patterns are reinforced
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Is the original reason for turning to obsessions no longer exists do the obsessive thoughts still exist?
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What is the infallibility model as an explanation for OCD?
The strive for perfection coupled with a fear of being perceived as incompetent by others. Obsessive thought and compulsive behaviours can then reduce the anxiety associated to the fears.
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What is the genetic model as an explanation for OCD?
Family studies find that OCD is associated with a neurological disorder called Gilles de la Tourette's syndrome. This syndrome is characterised by muscular and vocal tics. OCD and GdlT are related.
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How would you treat generalised anxiety disorder?
With anti-anxiety drugs and CBT
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How would you treat panic disorders?
With CBT relaxation, anti-anxiety drugs and antidepressants
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How would you treat phobias?
Systematic desensitization modelling and CBT
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How would you treat PTSD?
Drugs, although this varies in success
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How would you treat OCD?
With behavioral therapy and drugs that increase the amount of serotonin in the brain
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What is the most common psychosis?
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How would you treat OCD?
With behavioral therapy and drugs that increase the amount of serotonin in the brain
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What is the most common psychosis?
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What is the most serious of mental disorders?
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How much of the population does schizophrenia affect?
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What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?
Distortion of thought, perception and emotion, bizarre behaviour and social withdrawal. Also cognitive impairment such as impaired verbal fluency, impaired semantic memory and impaired performance on frontal lobe tasks
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What are the two types of symptoms in schizophrenia?
Positive and negative symptoms
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What some positive symptoms of schizophrenia?
Thought disorders, hallucinations and delusions. Symptoms found in schizophrenics.
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What are some negative symptoms of schizophrenia?
Normal behaviours that are absent in schizophrenics flattened emotional response, poverty of speech and social withdrawal
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What do the positive symptoms of schizophrenia represent?
A thought disorder disorganised and irrational thinking
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What sort of delusions do schizophrenics suffer from? (positive symptoms)
Delusions of grandeur and persecution are the most common
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What sort of hallucinations do schizophrenics suffer from? (positive symptoms)
Mostly auditory
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What is the inappropriate affect positive symptom which schizophrenic might suffer from? (positive symptoms)
Emotional responses that are inappropriate for the circumstances such as laughing at a Funeral
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What is social withdrawal? (a negative symptoms schizophrenics might suffer from)
Limited speech and action, poor hygiene, apathy, lack of initiative
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What is the flat effect? (a negative symptoms schizophrenics might suffer from)
When there is no emotional response at all
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Are negative symptoms just confined to schizophrenia?
No they occur in many neurological disorders ,specifically ones that involve damage to the frontal lobes. This suggests that the frontal lobe functioning may be impaired in schizophrenia
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What is the predominant view of what causes schizophrenia?
The diathesis-stress model (there are neurochemical causes, neurological causes, genetic causes and triggers) . The disorder is therefor seen to arise from one or more biological inherited the dispositions that are activated by environmental stress
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Is there evidence for a genetic cause of schizophrenia?
Yes. 50-70% concordance with identical twins, 10-20% concordance with fraternal twins. Children of Schizo are more likely to get it, even if adopted. Both parents have schizo chances are 30%. Environmental trigger?
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What are some neurochemical causes for schizophrenia?
Cocaine and amphetamine can cause symptoms of schizophrenia
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What drugs can reduce symptoms of schizophrenia?
Antipsychotic drugs
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What is the dopamine hypothesis for schizophrenia?
The positive symptoms of schizophrenia arise due to overactivity of dopamine synapses
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What is the evidence that dopamine causes the positive symptoms of schizophrenia?
Dopamine receptors are activated by cocaine and blocked by antipsychotic drugs
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What is the evidence for a neurological causes of schizophrenia?
Negative symptoms appear to be associated with damage to the brain and seemed to be produced by s loss of brain tissue
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What is found to be enlarged in the brain with schizophrenia patients?
Ventricular enlargement has been confirmed in over 50 studies
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How is damage to the prefrontal cortex associated with schizophrenia?
Decreased metabolism in frontal and temporal Cortex is linked to memory problems, also impaired performance on frontal lobe tasks
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How could neurodevelopmental impairment cause schizophrenia
Interference with normal prenatal brain development causes higher neuron density (squashed)
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What is an issue with giving antipsychotic medication to schizophrenics?
It has been shown to cause movement disorders
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Apart from antipsychotic medication what else can treat schizophrenia?
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What are mood disorders?
Disorders of emotion
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What are some mood disorders?
Major depression, Mania, bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
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What are the most severe mood disorders?
Bipolar and major depression
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What does bipolar involve?
A shift between periods of Mania (wild excitement) and depression
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What are symptoms of Mania?
Wild and unrealistic activity, grandiose plans, rapid speech and thought, inundated with ideas, hyperactivity
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How do individuals with Mania act?
Elated and self-confident. contradiction or interference causes anger
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What are five main symptoms of depression?
1/sad and apathetic mood 2.feelings of hopelessness 3.desire to be away from people 4.sleeplessness loss of appetite and sex drive 5.changing activity level - lethargy or agitation
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What is a possible cognitive cause of depression?
A vicious cycle of negative thinking and avoidant behaviour. learnt helplessness?
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According to the cognitive triad (Beck) what is the cause of depression?
Depression is caused by faulty cognition, people's thinking is characterised by self blame, over emphasis on negative aspects of life and pessimism. Pessimistic thoughts regarding the self, the present and the future.
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According to the diathesis-stress theory (Beck revised) what is the cause of depression?
Cognition is part of a set of interacting mechanism (biological, psychological and social). People possessed predispositions to depression that may be activated or triggered under certain circumstances
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According to the attributional style what is the cause of depression?
It is not the experience of negative events that cause individuals to become depressed, but people's attributions on how they view the event. Hopelessness theory , negative things happen because of me, positive things are down to luck
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What is evidence for the genetic cause of mood disorders?
Individuals who have first degree relatives with a serious mood disorder are 10 times likely more likely to develop these disorders
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What is the genetic evidence for the cause of bipolar disorder?
72% concordance for identical twins, 14% for fraternal twins
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What is the genetic evidence for the cause of major depression?
40% for identical and 11% for fraternal twins
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What could be the neurochemical cause of mood disorders?
Depleted serotonin but there are also suggestions that other neurotransmitters are responsible (GABA, dopamine and noradrenaline (norepinephrine))
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What evidence is there that geography is a cause of depression?
Depression is highest in densely populated areas
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minor depressions drugs useful for treating minor depression?
They are no better than a Placebo, (though placebos can have positive effects on minor depression)
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Is CBT good at treating depression?
It works on faulty logic to change perspective very effective
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What is acceptance and commitment therapy for treating mood disorders?
It works on diffusing thoughts from self and increasing action towards valued goals
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What drug is used to treat bipolar disorder?
Lithium carbonate
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What do many antidepressant drugs do?
Increase the availability of serotonin by suppressing it's reuptake
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Card 2


What is abnormal psychology?


The area of psychology which studies and treats mental disorders and focuses on abnormal behaviour that is maladaptive

Card 3


What causes mental disorders?


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Card 4


What causes mental disorders according to the psychodynamic perspective?


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Card 5


What causes mental disorders according to the medical approach?


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