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Unformatted text preview: PSYCHOPATHOLOGY: PREAMBLE ON DEFINING MENTAL DISORDERS... Psychopathology “is concerned with the nature and development of abnormal behavior, thoughts, and feelings.” - Davison & Neale (1998) But defining behavior as "abnormal enough" to be pathological is a tricky business. The same behavior (e.g., walking around barefoot) may be simply eccentric or pathological dependent upon the context of the behavior, the person's motivation (are they doing it because they like the cool feel of the ground or because Martha Stewart told them to?), and even cultural/community expectations. Diagnosing mental disorders are further problematic because: • Lack of demonstrable pathology • Can’t validate diagnosis by objective tissue pathology • Clinical features (e.g., mood, thinking) are difficult to quantify • Difficult to achieve consensus We thus use objective, descriptive criteria for diagnosis as set out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, 4th Ed. (DSM IV). The criteria for each disorder are objective and include both inclusive and exclusive criteria. These criteria are derived from considerations of: statistical infrequency, violation of norms, personal distress, disability or dysfunction, and unexpectedness. SCHIZOPHRENIA • identified by Eugene Bleuler (1857-1939) • literally means “splitting of the mind” -- cognitive side splits from the affective (emotional) side of personality • several subtypes of the disorder • "Positive" symptoms include: paranoia, delusions, auditory hallucinations, disorganized thoughts/behavior • "Negative" symptoms include: reduced affect, lack of motivation IS THERE A GENETIC PREDISPOSITION FOR SCHIZOPHRENIA? YES! Data in support of this fact include: • Family studies o Risk of becoming schizophrenic greater with increasing biological relatedness o General population (1%), nephews/nieces (4%), siblings (9%), children of schizophrenics (13%) • Twin studies o “Concordance” = 40-50% for monozygotes (identical genome) vs. 15% for dizygotes But, remember that families share more than genes! They also share environmental experiences. So take these data with a grain of cautionary salt. • Adoption studies o rate of schizophrenia higher among adopted children whose biological parents were schizophrenic (US) o biological parents of schizophrenic adoptees more likely to have been schizophrenic than adopting parents (Denmark) HOW IS SCHIZOPHRENIA TYPICALLY TREATED (BIOLOGICALLY SPEAKING)?...
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This note was uploaded on 09/17/2008 for the course PSY 91 taught by Professor Williams during the Spring '08 term at Duke.

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