Abnormal-1 Fall 2009

Abnormal-1 Fall 2009 - ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR & MENTAL...

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What you should know: Williams Syndrome Autistic Spectrum Disorders Sociopathy The DSM Problems Prevalence Data Stress-Diathesis Principle Genetics of disorders: Alcoholism 1
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DSM-IV Definition of “Mental Disorder” p. 577-578 Clinically significant detriment” (??) with “distress or impaired functioning” “It derives from an internal source … not from the person’s immediate environment.” “It is not subject to voluntary control … .” Very difficult to come up a completely satisfactory general definition . It’s easy to find disorders that don’t fit (example: “narcissistic personality disorder ”). BUT: Useful definition and accurate identification of some specific mental and behavioral disorders has been achieved. These can be as validly diagnosed as some medical conditions. Not as “fuzzy” a concept as the text suggests. 2
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DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDER: WILLIAMS SYNDROME 3
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A rare genetic disorder (1 /20,000) with physical and psychological abnormalities. Physical : Cardiovascular and renal problems. Reduced brain volume. Unusual facial features. Behavioral: mild to moderate mental retardation, but with "uneven profiles": Highly expressive verbally & socially; artistic interest and expression. But very impaired in spatial processing. Cause: Autosomal dominant ; one gene identified on chromosome 7 (codes for "elastin" protein). Deleted in 95% of Williams cases. Williams-Beuren Syndrome 4 “Elastin is a protein in connective tissue that is elastic and allows many tissues in the body to resume their shape after stretching or contracting”.
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Childhood autism : A heritable neuro-developmental disability • Failure to develop basic social interaction, awareness of others, communication. • Self-involved; ritualistic behaviors. • Mental retardation in the majority of cases (?). Large sex difference: ~ 4: 1 males. Heritable: concordance rate in MZs (60%); 86% “affected.” AUTISTIC SPECTRUM DISORDER p. 585 “The number of people known to have autism has increased dramatically since the 1980s, at least partly as a result of changes in diagnostic practice; the question of whether actual prevalence has increased is unresolved.” 6
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Some of these kinds of behaviors can be modified by operant conditioning procedures. 7
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Autism: Theories Bruno Bettleheim : It’s caused by “ice-box mothers”. But actually, there are no known specific psychogenic causes. It runs in families because of genetic influences . This seems true of many disorders. Current ideas about causation : Brain dysfunction. Environmental influences : mercury compound in vaccinations – big increase in autism ; diet-related inflammation; environmental toxins. (Why are allergies, excema, chronic diarrhea more common in autistic children?) Simon Bar- Cohen : Autism is a version of “ extreme maleness ” – interest in things, not people . He reports that autism may be more likely if father and mother
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Abnormal-1 Fall 2009 - ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR & MENTAL...

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