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Abnormal-1 Fall 2008

Abnormal-1 Fall 2008 - ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR MENTAL DISORDERS...

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ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR & MENTAL DISORDERS What you should know: Williams Syndrome Autistic Spectrum Disorders Sociopathy The DSM Problems Prevalence Data Stress-Diathesis Principle Genetics of disorders: Alcoholism
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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 recognized 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.
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DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDER: WILLIAMS SYNDROME
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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
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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: high 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, a least partly as a result of changes in diagnost practice; the question of whether actual prevalence has increased is unresolved. [6
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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 disorder. Environmental influences: mercury compound in vaccinations; diet-related inflammation; environmental toxins. (Why are allergies, excema, chronic diarrhea more common in autistic children?). So far, these are untested (“unproven”) hypotheses. 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 are both “systematizers” (example: members of analytical professions). Complication : It’s regarded as a “spectrum disorder”: it can range from mild to severe, and may not have the same causes throughout the spectrum.
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The “Facilitated Communication” Fraud-Farce p. 41-43 “Any time a new miracle cure is announced, it’s important to use it quickly – while it still works.”
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Some of the these kinds of behaviors can be modified by operant conditioning procedures.
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SOCIOPATHY
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