2-24-09 - Psychology 170 Class Notes 2/24/09 Exam 1 Week...

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Psychology 170 – Class Notes – 2/24/09 Exam 1 Week from this Thursday TODAY’S TOPIC (MAJOR TOPIC FOR THE REST OF THE EXAM MATERIAL): Multiple personality disorder FIRST MAJOR CATEGORY: Psychophysiological disorder – Medical illnesses caused or exacerbated by stress. This is when a psychological disorder actually makes the physical disorder you are experiencing worse (asthma, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, back pain, etc). So you already have a physical disorder, but a psychophysiological disorder exacerbates (makes worse) the physical symptoms. There is a biological source of pain, but the psychological component of this type of disorder makes the physical disorder worse. Symptoms are caused by mental processes of the sufferer rather than immediate physiological causes. These syndromes are classified as neurotic, stress-related and somatoform disorders 3 pathways by which stress contributes to psychophysiological disorders: 1. The effects of psychological stress on health-related behaviors 2. The effects of psychological stress on physiological reactions 3. The effects of certain personality traits on the management of psychological stress and, consequently, on health-related behaviors. SECOND MAJOR CATEGORY: Somatoform disorder – These are characterized by the presence of physical symptoms or concerns that are NOT DUE TO A MEDICAL DISORDER. People suffering from somatoform disorders experience symptoms of physical disease or defect, even though there is nothing medically wrong with their bodies. This is a psychological disorder – no biological cause for the cause of the psychological disorder. It is just as real for example, the person might have conversion disorder There is an underlying source of anxiety o Psychodynamic explanation – there is some sort of feeling that the person is feeling that is so intense that the person transfers that anxiety (conversion disorder – hysteria) into a physical problem (like blindness Hysterical blindness) NOTHING IS PURELY PSYCHOLOGICAL OR BIOLOGICAL
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SOMATOFORM DISORDERS: All of these disorders share two important features: a focus on bodily complaints that have no physical basis, and symptoms that are not intentionally produced or faked. Before a diagnosis of a somatoform disorder can be made, all plausible medical explanations have to be evaluated and ruled out. 1. Conversion disorder – This is when a person has specific symptoms or deficits in voluntary motor or sensory functions with no physiological cause. o Anxiety results in a more focused belief that you have something, that there is something wrong with you. o People who suffer from this actually have back pain, or some other physical pain o Symptoms that come out – physiological not possible the kinds of paralysis that they get are not normal they get physical symptoms that are not physiologically possible o People suffering from this disorder DO NOT become anxious or bothered by their strange symptoms (strange in that there does not seem to be a biological
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2-24-09 - Psychology 170 Class Notes 2/24/09 Exam 1 Week...

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