Aug5_10_09 - Abnormal behavior What constitutes abnormal...

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1 Psych 1 Principles of Psychology Dr. Emiliana Simon-Thomas 8/05/09 Abnormal behavior What constitutes abnormal behavior? Aren’t we all abnormal now and then? Certain situations/circumstances condone behavior that might be considered diagnostic for a psychological disorder elsewhere. Psychological abnormalities are Disorders when the person’s abnormal (Deviating) behavior seriously interferes with one’s daily life, I.e. behavior that: leads to Distress (including to others). expresses a Disability or impaired functioning. leads to increased Danger (risk of death, pain or loss of freedom). Where do psychological disorders come from? Why do some people develop them? Abnormal behavior The Bio-Psycho-Social Perspective: biological, sociocultural, and psychological factors combine and interact to produce psychological disorders. Abnormal behavior Classifying Psychological Disorders: The DSM-IV Lists all of the acceptable labels for psychological disorders. Lists symptoms that correspond to disorders for diagnosis. Enables ‘labeling’ of people, which can be useful, but can also lead to stigma, preconceptions & biases. The DSM-IV Axes (1 through 5) Clinical disorders are diagnosed on Axis I . These are disorders that involve a deterioration of functioning. Most common psychological disorders are listed on Axis I. Abnormal behavior An example of an Axis 1 Disorder : Attention Deficit Disorder Easy distraction from important tasks, impulsiveness, moodiness and failure to follow-through on plans. 3-10% of US Kids are affected. Difficult to diagnose objectively, ambiguous etiology. Treated with mild amphetamine. Underlying deficit is somewhat controversial.
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2 Abnormal behavior The DSM-IV Axes (1 through 5) Axis II is reserved for personality disorders and mental retardation . These are disorders that persist throughout life. A personality disorder is a maladaptive, inflexible way of dealing with situations and people. Axis III is for general medical conditions that may influence the person’s mood or behavior. Axis IV is for psychosocial and environmental problems that may increase the person’s level of stress. Axis V is a 1-90 scale called the global assessment of functioning . The lower the number assigned by the assessing clinician, the less likely it is that the person being diagnosed is able to function without treatment and support. Abnormal behavior Issues that the DSM-IV does not address: What are the causes of disorders? To what extent is the situation the problem, rather than the person? Is it an adjustment to a life stressor, or is it a mental illness? How can psychological disorders be treated? Can psychological disorders be cured?
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