Psychological Disorders –  CBSE Notes for Class 12 Psychology

Concept of Abnormality and Psychological disorders:
The term ‘abnormal’ with its prefix ab (away from), generally signify the deviance or variation from the normal.
Anything not normal must, therefore, be abnormal. But acquiring insight into what we consider normal, expected behaviour is difficult enough, understanding human behaviour beyond the normal range is quite challenging.
Normal and abnormal behaviour are subjective terms. These terms are qualitative and matter of degree because drawing a sharp line between then is not possible.
The study of Psychopathology is a search for why people behave, think and feel in unexpected, sometimes bizzare and typically self defeating ways.
Several characteristics are considered in evaluating whether a behaviour is abnormal: violation of social norms, personal distress, disability or dysfunction, dangerous behaviour (4Ds), unexpectedness and statistical infrequency. Each characteristics tells some thing about what can be considered abnormal, but conception change with time, making it impossible to offer a simple definition that captures abnormality in its totality.
Classification of Psychological factors: Classification refers to a list of categories of specific Psychological disorders grouped into various classes on the basis of some shared characteristics.
Main Classification.
ICD-10: Developed by WHO. This is official classification in India.
The classification is based op symptoms under one broad heading i.e. Mental disorders. DSMIV: Developed by APA. It is multi-axial. It is very comprehensive because classification is based on biological Psychological social factors, cause and prognosis of disorders.
Importance: These classification provide standard vocabulary standard vocabulary through which professionals universally can converse.
It also helps in understanding the cause and diagnosis of mental disorders.
Recurring Theories to Study Abnormal Behaviour:
1. Ancient theory suggests some people possessed by supernatural and magical forces such as evil spirits. Exorcism (removing the evil residing in the individual through prayer) is still commonly used. Shaman or medicine man has contact with supernatural forces, medium of communication between human and spirits.
2. Biological/Organic approach links defective biological processes to maladaptive behaviour.
3. According to psychological approach problems caused by inadequacies in the way an individual thinks, feels and perceives.
Historical Background:
(a) Ancient Greek philosophers (Hippocrates, Socrates, Plato) developed organismic approach—viewed disturbed behaviour arising out of conflicts between emotion and reason.
Galen—temperament affected by imbalance in four humours, similar to tridoshas.
(b) Middle ages, superstition and demonology—people with mental problems, were associated to demons.
St. Augustine wrote about feelings, mental anguish and conflict—laid groundwork for modem psychodynamic theories.
(c) Renaissance Period—increased humanism and curiosity about behaviour.
Johann Weyer—disturbed interpersonal relationships as cause of psychic disorders, mentally disturbed required medical not theological treatment.
(d) Age of Reason and Enlightenment (17th /18th centuries)- growth of scientific method replaced faith and dogma, contributed to Reform movement
Increased compassion for those suffering—reform of asylums, deinstitutionalization, emphasized community care.
(e) Recent years—convergence of approaches, resulted in interactional biopsycho-social approach.
Factors Underlying Abnormal Behaviour
I. Biological Factors (faulty genes, endocrine imbalances, malnutrition) affect normal development and functioning—behaviour has a biochemical or physiological basis. Abnormal activity by neuro-transmitters (transmission of messages between neurons) leads to specific psychological disorders.
(i) Anxiety disorders (Low activity of gamma amino butyric acid (GABA).
(ii) Depression (Low activity of serotonin).
(iii) Schizophrenia (excess activity of dopamine).
Scientific evidence links genetic factors to depression, anxiety, mood disorders, schizophrenia, mental retardation—unable to identify the specific genes, no single gene responsible for a particular behaviour—cannot alone account for a mental disorder.
II. Psychological and interpersonal factors affect abnormal behaviour.
• Maternal deprivation (separation from mother, lack of warmth in early years).
• Faulty parent-child relationships (rejection, overprotection, over-permissiveness, faulty discipline)
• Maladaptive family structures (inadequate or disturbed family).
• Severe stress.
Psychological Models:
1. Psychodynamic Model (Freud):
(i) Behaviour determined by unconscious psychological forces—abnormal symptoms, the result of conflicts between these internal, dynamic forces.
(ii) Three central forces shape personality—instinctual needs, drives and impulses (Id), rational thinking (ego) and moral standards (super go).
(iii) Abnormal behaviour—a symbolic expression of unconscious mental conflicts traced to early childhood or infancy.
2. Behavioural Model:
(i) Behaviours are learned through classic (temporal association between two events), operant (behaviour followed by a reward), conditioning and social (imitating other’s behaviour) learning.
(ii) Psychological disorders—the result of learning maladaptive ways of behaving.
3. Cognitive Model:
(i) Abnormal functioning results from cognitive problems:
— Irrational and inaccurate assumptions and attitudes.
— Thinking in illogical ways, making over-generalisations (broad, negative conclusions on the basis of a single insignificant event).
4. Humanistic-Existential Model:
(i) Human beings born with a natural tendency to self-actualise, i.e., fulfil the potential for growth.
(ii) Existentialists believe that individuals from birth have total freedom to give meaning of existence—those who shirk from responsibility live empty, inauthentic, dysfunctional lives.
• Abnormal Psychology: Serenities study of abnormal behaviour. By using scientific Techniques, Psychology attempts to describe, explain and predict abnormal behaviour.
• Anti-Social Behaviour: refers to any behaviour that is considered harmful or disruptive within a group or society. Aspects of behaviour such as aggression or deserimination would fall into this category.
• Anorexia nervosa: Disorder involving severe loss of body weight, accompanied by an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming ‘fat’.
• Anxiety: A state of psychic distress characterized by fear, apprehension, and physiological arousal.
• Anxiety Disorders: Disorders in which anxiety is a central symptom. The disorder is characterized by feelings of vulnerability, apprehension, or fear.
• Autism: Pervasive developmental disorder beginning in infancy and involving a wide range of abnormalities, including deficits in language, perceptual, and motor development, defective reality testing, and social withdrawal.
• Delusions: Irrational beliefs that are held despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
• De-institutionalisation: Movement whose purpose is to remove from care-giving institution such as large mental hospitals all those patients who do not present a clear danger to others or to themselves and to provide treatment sheltered living conditions for them in the community.
• Depersonalization Disorder: Dissociative disorder in which there is a loss of the sense of self.
• Diathesis-stress Model: A view that the interaction of factors such as biological predisposition combined with life stress may cause a specific disorder.
• Dissociation: A split in consciousness whereby certain thoughts, feelings, and behaviour operate independently from others.
• Exorcism: Religiously inspired treatment procedure designed to drive out evil spirits or forces from a ‘possessed’ person.
• Eating disorders: A term which refers to a serious disruption of the eating habits or the appetite. The main types of eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Binge eating.
• Genetics: A branch of Biology referring or relating to genes. Inherited genes are basic unit of inheritance.
• Hallucination: A false perception which has a compulsive sense of the reality of objects although relevant and adequate stimuli for such perception is lacking. It is an abnormal phenomenon.
• Hypochondriasis: A psychological disorder in which the individual is dominated by preoccupation with bodily processes and fear of presumed diseases despite reassurance from doctor that no physical illness exists.
• Hyperactivity: Condition characterised by overactive, poorly controlled behaviour and lack of concentration.
• Main symptom of ADHD: Severe and frequent problems of either or both attention to tasks or hyperactive and impulsive behaviour.
• Mental retardation: Subnormal intellectual functioning associated with impairment in adaptive behaviour and identified at an early age.
• Mood Disorder: Disorder affecting one’s emotional state, including depression and bipolar disorder.
• Neurotransmitter: Chemicals that carry message across the synapse to the dendrite (and sometimes the cell body) of a receiver neurone.
• Norms: A generalised expectation shared by most members of a group or culture that underlies views of what is appropriate within that group.
In terms of Psychological testing norms are standards of test performance that permit the comparison of one person’s score on the test to the scores of others who have taken the same test. This is the criteria to compare or typical score of an average group.
• Obsessive-compulsive Disorder: A disorder characterised by obsession or compulsions.
• Phobia: A strong, persistent. And irrational fear of some specific object or situation that presents little or no actual danger to a person.
• Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: Patterns of symptoms involving anxiety reactions, tension, nightmares, and depression following a disaster such as an earthquake or a flood.
• Schizophrenia: A group of psychotic reactions characterised by the breakdown of integrated personality functioning, withdrawal from reality, emotion blunting and distortion, and disturbances in thought and behaviour.
• Somatoform disorder: Condition involving physical complaints or disabilities occurring in the absence of any identifiable organic cause.
• Substance Abuse: The use of any drug or chemical to modify mood or behaviour that results in impairment.
• Syndrome: Group or pattern of symptoms that occur together in a disorder and represent the typical picture of the disorder

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