PSY2414Notes1 - PSY 2414 Abnormal Psychology Dr Karen...

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PSY 2414 – Abnormal Psychology Fall 2000 Dr. Karen Stewart Notes by Marc Diener Abnormal Psychology Dr. Karen Stewart Class of Thursday, August , 2000: I. The Problem of Abnormality A. Judgments, labels and the myth of mental illness 1. Judging abnormality is very subjective and colored by one’s culture and experiences--> unusual for lay people to agree about whether its normal or not. Even clinicians disagree about these things. 2. And so, we have adopted a rather medicalized approach to abnormality where we judge it based on whether we can fit it into a disease model. This may not be appropriate in all cases but it has been profitable because useful for some treatments. In the end, it all comes down to a judgment call: a particular behavior is clear cut but other than that its in the eyes of the beholder. B. Sin or Sickness: Metaphors, myths, and models 1. The moral metaphor- most average people see abnormality as a moral weakness or sin, and they have not bought into the medical model. 2. The sickness metaphor- the idea that someone acting strange because they have a disease. C. Definitions 1. More sense to call this a course in psychopathology- pathology refers to disease, or illness or some sort of trauma. In abnormal behavior, often hard to pinpoint where the pathology is, though not impossible. 2. Mental illness= generally used to refer to most serious forms of psychopathology. For example, schizophrenia. We don’t use it for more everyday types of things, like a person addicted to cigarettes. American Psychiatric Association (Psychiatrists and not psychologists control this field) uses the term mental disorder instead- any syndrome in which behavior, perceptions, cognition, emotion, or personality is disordered. This involves not only these things but it also has to either cause distress to the individual or to people around him or seriously interfere with his ability to have interpersonal relationships and work. a. DSM- the DSM IV is compendium of every officially recognized mental disorder. You can’t get insurance reimbursment unless you use the classification used in the DSM IV. II. How can we have a science of abnormal psychology if its so difficult to judge who is suffering from a disorder? A. Scientific method- overview 1. Observing behavior- if observe lot of people, not just random distribution of abnormal behaviors, but that certain behaviors cluster together. Person who thinks CIA is taping everything he does thru camera in his head does not usually mix with sexual promiscuity. The fact that certain variables do, however, go together shows that there is something fundamental causing both. Losing weight and loss of sleep usually go together with lot of psychological stress like pacing and etc. Things cluster in certain population groups--> suggests that we have manifestations of categories which may be a disease.
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