Psychopathology Key Terms

  • Created by: AJ2004
  • Created on: 17-04-21 13:56
Statistical infrequency
Occurs when an individual has a less common characteristic, for example being more depressed or less intelligent than most of the population.
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Deviation from social norms
Concerns behaviour that is different from the accepted standards of behaviour in a community or society.
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Failure to function adequately
Occurs when someone is unable to cope with ordinary demands of day-to-day living.
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Deviation from ideal mental health
Occurs when someone does not meet a set of criteria for good mental health.
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An irrational fear of an object or situation.
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Ways in which people act.
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Ways in which people feel.
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Refers to the process of thinking- knowing, perceiving, believing.
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Specific phobia
Phobia of an object, such as an animal or body part, or a situation such as flying or having an injection.
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Social anxiety (social phobia)
Phobia of a social situation such as public speaking or using a public toilets.
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Phobia of being outside or in a public place.
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A mental disorder characterised by low mood and low energy levels.
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Major depressive disorder
Severe but often short-term depression.
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Persistent depressive disorder
Long-term or recurring depression, including sustained major depression and what used to be called dysthymia.
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Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder
Childhood temper tantrums.
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Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
Disruption to mood prior to and/or during menstruation.
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Characterised by either obsessions (recurring thoughts, images, etc.) and/or compulsions (repetitive behaviours such as hand washing). Most people with a diagnosis of OCD have both obsessions and compulsions.
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Compulsive hair pulling.
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Hoarding disorder
The compulsive gathering of possessions and the inability to part with anything, regardless of its value.
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Excoriation disorder
Compulsive skin picking.
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Behavioural approach
A way of explaining behaviour in terms of what is observable and in terms of learning.
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Classical conditioning
Learning by associated. Occurs when two stimuli are repeatedly paired together- an unconditioned (unlearned) stimulus (UCS) and a new 'neutral' stimulus (NS). The neutral stimulus eventually produces the same response that was first produced by the unlear
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Operant conditioning
A form of learning in which behaviour is shaped and maintained by its consequences. Possible consequences of behaviour include positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement or punishment.
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Systematic desensitisation (SD)
A behavioural therapy designed to reduce an unwanted response, such as anxiety, to a stimulus. SD involves drawing up a hierarchy of anxiety-provoking situations related to the phobic stimulus, teaching the patient to relax, and then exposing them to phob
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A behaviour therapy in which a phobic patient is exposed to an extreme form of a phobic stimulus in order to reduce anxiety triggered by that stimulus. This takes place across a small number of long therapy sessions.
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Cognitive approach
The term 'cognitive' has come to mean 'mental processes', so this approach if focused on how our mental processes (e.g thoughts, perceptions, attention) affect behaviour.
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Negative triad
Beck proposed that there were three kinds of negative thinking that contributed to becoming depressed: negative views of the world, the future and the self. Such negative views lead to a person to interpret their experiences in a negative way and so make
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ABC model
Ellis proposed that depression occurs when an activating event (A) triggers an irrational belief (B) which turn produces a consequence (C), i.e. an emotional response like depression. The key to this process is the irrational belief.
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Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
A method for treating mental disorders based on both cognitive and behaviour techniques. From the cognitive viewpoint the therapy aims to deal with thinking, such as challenging negative thoughts. The therapy also includes behavioural techniques such as b
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Irrational thoughts
Also called dysfunctional thoughts. In Ellis's model and therapy, these are defined as thoughts that are likely to interfere with a person's happiness. Such dysfunctional thoughts lead to mental disorders such as depression.
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Biological approach
A perspective that emphasises the importance of physical processes in the body such as genetic inheritance and neural function.
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Genetic explanations
Genes make up chromosomes and consist of DNA which codes the physical features of an organism (such as eye colour, height) and psychological features (such as mental disorder, intelligence). Genes are transmitted from parents to offspring, i.e. inherited.
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Neural explanations
The view that physical and psychological characteristics are determined by the behaviour of the nervous system, in particular the brain as well as individual neurons.
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Drug therapy
Treatment involving drugs, i.e. chemicals that have a particular effect on the functioning of the brain or some other body system. In the case of psychological disorders such drugs usually affect neurotransmitter levels.
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Card 2


Concerns behaviour that is different from the accepted standards of behaviour in a community or society.


Deviation from social norms

Card 3


Occurs when someone is unable to cope with ordinary demands of day-to-day living.


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Card 4


Occurs when someone does not meet a set of criteria for good mental health.


Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5


An irrational fear of an object or situation.


Preview of the back of card 5
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