Psychopathology

Deviation from social norms
Social norms are implicit rules about how we ought to behave in society. Anything that violates these are abnormal.
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Statistical deviation
If behaviour is statistically unusual, it is classed as abnormal.
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Deviation from ideal mental health
A list of criteria that we would consider normal, and therefore an absence of any of these would help us define abnormality.
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Failure to function adequately
Inability to carry out everyday tasks and lead what would be considered a 'normal' life.
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What is a phobia?
A mental disorder characterised by high levels of anxiety in response to a particular stimulus. You go out of your way to avoid it. It interferes with normal everyday life.
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What are specific phobias?
Fear of a specific object or person.
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What are social phobias?
Fear of humiliation in public places.
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What is agoraphobia?
Fear of public places.
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What are the emotional characteristics of phobias?
Fear that is marked and persistent; excessive and unreasonable; anxiety and panic; can be triggered by the thought of it.
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What are the behavioural characteristics of phobias?
Avoidance; freeze; faint; faint-or-flight response.
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What are the cognitive characteristics of phobias?
Irrational thoughts; an insight.
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What is depression?
A mood disorder. It involves a prolonged and fundamental disturbance of mood and emotion.
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What is the criteria for clinical depression?
Poor/increased appetite; sleep difficulty/too much; tiredness; slow reactions/agitated; loss of interest; guilt; concentrating difficulty; suicidal behaviour.
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What are the emotional characteristics of depression?
Sadness; empty; worthless; low self-esteem; loss of interest; anger; hopeless.
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What are the behavioural characteristics of depression?
Reduced/increased level of activity; reduced energy; tiredness; agitated & restless; insomnia; loss of appetite/too much.
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What are the cognitive characteristics of depression?
Irrational thoughts; guilt; worthlessness; suicidal thoughts; an insight.
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What is OCD?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety-related condition where a person experiences frequent intrusive and unwelcome obsessional thoughts, often followed by repetitive compulsions, impulses or urges.
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What is the OCD cycle?
Obsessions - Anxiety - Compulsions - Relief.
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What are the emotional characteristics of OCD?
Anxiety; distress; embarrassment; shame.
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What are the cognitive characteristics of OCD?
An insight; recurrent, intrusive thoughts; themes: ideas, doubts, impulses, or images; uncontrollable.
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What are the behavioural characteristics of OCD?
Compulsive behaviours; repetitive & unconcealed; have to perform the actions.
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Behavioural causes of phobias
Classical conditioning - associate the object with being frightened. Operant conditioning - learning through reinforcement or punishment.
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Little Albert (Watson & Raynor)
11 months old. No fear towards white, furry objects. Frightened by loud noises. White rat (NS) - baby (NR). Loud noise (UCS) - fear (UCR). Loud noise & white rat (UCS & NS) - fear (UCR). White rat (CS) - fear (CR).
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Evaluation of the behaviourist explanation of phobias: evidence
Little Albert: no other explanation for why he develops that phobia.
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Evaluation of the behaviourist explanation of phobias: useful
Takes the blame off you, it's just an abormal behaviour. Allows you to lead to a successful treatment.
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Evaluation of the behaviourist explanation of phobias: individual differences
Everyone has a different phobia in a different way. They don't have the same experiences.
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Evaluation of the behaviourist explanation of phobias: biological
Does not take into account biological. You might inherit being more anxious.
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Evaluation of the behaviourist explanation of phobias: ignores cognitive
Ignores cognitive; thought processes. Free will; choice.
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Treatment for phobias: systematic desensitisation - step 1
Patient is taught how to relax their muscles completely.
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Treatment for phobias: systematic desensitisation - step 2
Therapist and patient together construct a desensitisation hierarchy - a series of imagined scenes, each one causing a little more anxiety than the previous one.
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Treatment for phobias: systematic desensitisation - step 3
Patient gradually works their way through desensitisation hierarchy, visualising each anxiety-evoking event while engaging in the competing relaxation response.
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Treatment for phobias: systematic desensitisation - step 4
Once the patient has mastered one step in the hierarchy, they are ready to move onto the next.
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Treatment for phobias: systematic desensitisation - step 5
Patient eventually masters the feared situaton that caused them to seek help in the first place.
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Evaluation of systematic desensitisation: effectiveness supported by research
McGrath (1990) reported that about 75% of patients with phobias respond to SD.
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Evaluation of systematic desensitisation: strengths of behavioural therapies
Fast and require less effort on the patient's part than other psychotherapies. Useful for people who lack insight into their motivations or emotions.
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Evaluation of systematic desensitisation: effective with some phobias, but not all
Ohman (1975) suggest that SD may not be as effective in treating phobias that have an underlying volutionary survival component, than in treating phobias which have be acquired as a result of personal experience.
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Evaluation of systematic desensitisation: symptom substitution
If the symptoms are removed, the cause still remains, and the symptoms will simply resurface, possibly in another form.
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Evaluation of systematic desensitisation: individual differences
Not for every patient.
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Treatment for phobias: flooding therapy
The first step is patient is taught how to relax their muscles completely. Then the patient masters the feared situation that caused them to seek help in the first place. This is one long session.
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It lasts for 2-3 hours because...
A person's fear has a time limit as adrenaline levels naturally decrease, a new stimulus response link can be learned between feared stimulus and relaxation.
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Evaluation of flooding therapy: ethics
Traumatic for some patients.
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Evaluation of flooding therapy: symptom substitution
If symptoms are removed, the cause still remains, and the symptoms will simply resurface, possibly in another form.
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Cognitive explanation for treating depression: Beck's negative triad (1967)
Negative views about the world - negative views about the future - negative views about oneself.
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Cognitive explanation for treating depression: Beck's negative triad (1967)
It suggests that depressed people have acquired a negative schema during childhood. May be caused by them not being able to have rational or positive thoughts. Negative schemas are activated by past epxeriences that were negative.
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Cognitive explanation for depression: Beck's negative triad (1967)
The pessimistic view becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and leads to cognitive bias.
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Cognitive explanation for depression: Ellis' ABC model (1962)
It is not what happens to someone that causes depression, but how they deal with it. (A) activating event; (B) belief; (C) consequence.
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Cognitive explanation for depression: Ellis' ABC model (1962)
Negative event (A) - rational belief (B) - healthy negative emotion (C). Negative event (A) - irrational belief (B) - unhealthy negative emotion (C)
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Cognitive explanation for depression: Ellis' ABC model (1962)
Mustabatory thinking - thinking that certain ideas or assumptions must be true in order to be happy.
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Evaluation of cognitive explanations: supporting research - Hammen & Krantz (1976)
Found that depressed participants made more errors in logic when asked to interpret written material than non-depressed participants.
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Evaluation of cognitive explanations: supporting research - Bates (1999)
Found that depressed participants who were given negative automatic thought statements become more and more depressed, supporting the view that negative thinking leads to depression.
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Evaluation of cognitive explanations: triggers?
It is not always triggered by a negative event.
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Evaluation of cognitive explanations: incomplete?
Cognitive sounds incomplete - why do the irrational thoughts turn into depression.
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Evaluation of cognitive explanations: blame
Blames the client rather than situational factors. The cognitive approach suggests that it is the client who is responsible for their disorder.
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Cognitive approach to treating depression 1
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) aims to change the way a client thinks. It focuses on challenging the negative thoughts about oneself, the world and the future.
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Cognitive approach to treating depression 2
Rational emotional behavioural therapy (REBT). (A) - activating event; (B) - beliefs; (C) - consequences; (D) - disputations; (E) - effective new beliefs; (F) - feelings.
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Cognitive approach to treating depression 3
Challenge irrational thoughts. Homework tasks to build self-esteem and reality. Behavioural activation to encourage the person. Unconditional positive regard only going to work if you have a good therapist.
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Evaluation of cognitive approach to treating depression: CBT works fast
CBT works relatively fast and is therefore cost-effective, but it relies on well-trained therapists for its effectiveness.
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Evaluation of cognitive approach to treating depression: ethics of protection
Ellis advocated a strongly challenging approach; not all clients could take this.
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Evaluation of cognitive approach to treating depression: irrational thinking
We do not really know whether irrational thinking is the cause or the effect of depression. There is a correlation and that is all.
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Evaluation of cognitive approach to treating depression: Embling (2002)
Showed that not all depressed clients benefit from CBT. Personality factors such as perfectionism and external locus of control can hinder its effectiveness.
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The biological approach to explaining OCD
Genes - individuals may inherit a genetic vulnerability for OCD. Neural explanations - genes are likely to affect levels of neurotransmitters as well as structures of the brain.
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Genetic explanations for OCD: Nestadt (2002) found that...
People with a first-degree relative with OCD had a 5x greater risk of having the illness themselves at some time in their lives, compared to the general population.
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Genetic explanations for OCD: Billet (1998) found that...
On average, identical twins were more than twice as likely to develop OCD if their co-twin had the disorder than was the case for non-identical twins.
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Genetic explanations for OCD: COMT gene
Regulates the production of the neurotransmitter dopamine that has been implicated in OCD. One form has been more common in OCD patients. Produces lower activity of the gene and higher levels of dopamine.
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Genetic explanations for OCD: SERT gene
It affects the transport of the serotonin, creating lower levels of this neurotransmitter. These higher levels are also implicated in OCD.
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Genetic explanations for OCD: diathesis-stress
Highly unlikely that one gene could cause OCD. Might inherit a vulnerability for OCD; stress is the trigger.
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Neural explanations for OCD: role of serotonin
Low levels of serotonin is associated with OCD. Brain scans. Antidepressants that increase activity have reduced OCD symptoms.
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Neural explanations for OCD: abnormal brain circuits
Frontal lobes are abnormal in OCD people. Caudate nucleus suppresses signals from the OFC. This sends 'worry' signals to the thalamus. Suppressed, but if damaged, the thalamus is alerted and confirms the 'worry', creating a worry circuit.
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Evaluation of biological explanations of OCD: supporting evidence?
Nestadt found that people with a first-degree relative with OCD had a 5x greater risk of having it themselves. However, concordance rates are never 100% as environmental factors must play a role too.
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Evaluation of biological explanations of OCD: due to one gene?
One form of the same gene that determines Tourette Syndrome is found in autistic people who show rituals & compulsions. Not one specific gene unique to OCD.
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Evaluation of biological explanations of OCD: brain scans
Can see heightened levels of activity in the worry circuit in the frontal lobe.
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Evaluation of biological explanations of OCD: behavioural approach?
Initial learning occurs when a neutral stimulus is associated with anxiety. It is maintained so an obsession is formed.
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The biological appoach to treating OCD: drug therapy 1
Anti-depressants. If low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin are associated with OCD, then symptoms will be reduced if levels of serotonin are increased.
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The biological appoach to treating OCD: drug therapy 2
SSRIs block the re-uptake of serotonin at the pre-synaptic membrane, increasing serotonin concentration at receptor sites on the post-synaptic membrane.
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The biological appoach to treating OCD: drug therapy 3
Tricyclics increase the amount of serotonin & noradrenaline, but only if SSRIs have not worked.
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Evaluation of drug therapy for treating OCD: short-term solution.
Short-term solution so if you stop taking drugs, OCD symptoms return quickly.
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Evaluation of drug therapy for treating OCD: side effects?
Nausea, insomnia, addiction, headaches.
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Evaluation of drug therapy for treating OCD: benefits
Cheap, work in a short amount of time and easy to use.
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Evaluation of drug therapy for treating OCD: effectiveness?
Effective as it reduces the symptoms.
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Card 2

Front

If behaviour is statistically unusual, it is classed as abnormal.

Back

Statistical deviation

Card 3

Front

A list of criteria that we would consider normal, and therefore an absence of any of these would help us define abnormality.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

Inability to carry out everyday tasks and lead what would be considered a 'normal' life.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

A mental disorder characterised by high levels of anxiety in response to a particular stimulus. You go out of your way to avoid it. It interferes with normal everyday life.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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