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Psychology ALevel -Psychopathology
Terms in this set (77)
Deviation from social norms
Defining behaviour as abnormal on the basis that it offends their sense of what is 'acceptable'
A cultural example of a deviation from social norms
APD- Antisocial Personality Disorder
Impulsive, aggressive, irresponsible, 'an absence of prosocial internal standards associated with failure to conform to lawful or culturally normative ethical behaviour'
Evaluation points for deviation from social norms
- real-life application in diagnosis
- can lead to human right abuses (e.g. drapetomania & nymphomania)
Failure to function adequately
A person is abnormal when they can no longer cope with the demands of everyday life and they fail to function adequately
Examples of failing to function adequately
-when a person no longer conforms to standard interpersonal rules, for example maintaining eye contact and respecting personal space
-when a person experiences severe personal distress
-when a person's behaviour becomes irrational or dangerous to themselves or others
Failure to Function adequately-Disorder example
Intellectual disability disorder
Very low IQ, cannot function well enough
Evaluation points for failure to function adequately
-is it simply deviation from social norms? E.g. base jumpers and spiritualists
- judgements are subjective
Defining abnormality/normality according to the number of times we observe it
An example of statistical infrequency
IQ and intellectual disability disorder- IQ is judged by what the majority of people's scores are as to whether you are average, above average or below average
Evaluation points of statistical infrequency
-Real life application as to how severe people's symptoms are
-unusual characteristics aren't always bad, some are good
-not everyone unusual benefits from a label, especially if they were happy before it!
Deviation from ideal mental health
To ignore the issue of what makes someone abnormal but instead think about what makes anyone 'normal'
Ideal mental health criteria (examples)
- We have no symptoms of distress
- We are rational and can perceive ourselves accurately
- We self-actualise (reach our potential)
- We can cope with stress
- We have a realistic view of the world
- We have good self-esteem and lack of guilt
- We are independent of other people
- we can successfully work, love and enjoy our leisure
Evaluation points of deviation from ideal mental health
- It is a comprehensive definition
- It sets an unrealistically high standard for mental health
Phobias are characterised by excessive fear and anxiety, triggered by an object, place or situation. The extent of the fear is out of proportion to any real danger presented by the phobic stimulus.
Phobia of an object, such as an animal or body part,or a situation such as flying or having an injection
Social anxiety (social phobia):
Phobia of a social situation such as public speaking or using a public toilet
Phobia of being outside or in a public place
Behavioural characteristics of phobias:
Panic, Avoidance, Endurance
Emotional characteristics of phobias:
Anxiety, unreasonable emotional responses
Cognitive characteristics of phobias:
Selective attention, irrational beliefs, cognitive distortions
Ways in which people act
Ways in which people feel
The process of thinking-knowing, perceiving, believing
Characterised by changes to mood
Major depressive disorder
Severe but often short-term depression
Persistent depressive disorder
Long-term or recurring depression, including sustained major depression and what used to be called dysthymia (mild but long-term depression
Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder
Childhood temper tantrums
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
Disruption to mood prior to and/or during menstruation
Behavioural characteristics of depression
Activity levels, disruption to sleep and eating behaviour, aggression and self-harm
Emotional characteristics of depression
Lowered mood, anger, lowered self-esteem
Cognitive characteristics of depression
Poor concentration, attending to and dwelling on the negative, absolutist thinking
Definition of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Categorised by repetitive behaviour accompanied by obsessive thinking
Characterised by either obsessions (recurring thoughts, images, etc. ) and/or compulsions (repetitive behaviours such as hand washing). Most people diagnosed have both.
Compulsive hair pulling
The compulsive gathering of possessions and the inability to part with anything
Compulsive skin picking
Behavioural characteristics of OCD
Compulsions (repetitive and reduce anxiety), Avoidance
Emotional characteristics of OCD
Anxiety and distress, accompanying depression, guilt and disgust
Cognitive characteristics of OCD
Obsessive thoughts, Cognitive strategies to deal with obsessions, insight into excessive anxiety
The two-process model (explaining phobias)
Acquisition by classical conditioning and maintenance by operant conditioning - creates avoidance
Evaluation points for the behavioural approach to explaining phobias
- A good explanation
- An incomplete explanation of phobias
-reductionist... what about the cognitive aspects of phobias
The two behavioural approaches to treating phobias are...
Systematic desensitisation and flooding
Systematic desensitisation (definition)
Behavioural therapy designed to gradually reduce phobic anxiety through the principle of classical conditioning. It involves 3 processes
1st process involved in systematic desensitisation...
Creating a anxiety hierarchy (put together by the patient and therapist)
2nd process involved in systematic desensitisation...
Relaxation- the therapist teaches the patient to relax as deeply as possible... this may include breathing techniques, learning mental imagery techniques or by the use of drugs (for example, Valium)
3rd process involved in systematic desensitisation...
Exposure- the patient is exposed to the phobic stimulus while in a relaxed state starting from the bottom of the anxiety hierarchy.
Exposing phobic patients to their phobic stimulus but without a gradual build-up in an anxiety hierarchy.
How does flooding work?
It stops phobic responses very quickly by the patient learning that the phobic stimulus is harmless, this is called extinction.
What are the ethical safeguards of flooding?
The patient must give fully informed consent and be fully prepared for the session. They must also be given the choice between flooding and systematic desensitisation.
Evaluation points for the behavioural approach to treating behaviours:
- It is effective
- It is suitable for a diverse range of patients
- not appropriate for all phobias
- It is cost-effective
The two cognitive approaches to explaining depression are...
Beck's negative triad and Ellis' ABC Model
What are the elements of Beck's negative triad?
Faulty information processing, negative self-schemas and the negative triad
Faulty information processing
When depressed we attend to the negative aspects of a situation and ignore the positives. We also tend to blow small problems out of proportion and think in 'black and white' terms.
When we interpret all information about ourselves in a negative way.
The negative triad
- having a negative view of the world, the future and the self...these interlink with each other into a triangle
Ellis' ABC Model elements
A- activating event
When irrational thoughts are triggered by external events.
There's a range of irrational beliefs. Such as 'musterbation' the belief that we must always succeed or achieve perfection and 'Utopianism' the belief that life is always meant to be fair. These disappoint and possibly depress the person.
When an activating event triggers irrational beliefs their are emotional and behavioural consequences. for example, if you believe you must always succeed and then fail at something this can trigger depression.
Evaluation points for the cognitive approach to explaining depression:
- support for the role of irrational thinking
- It doesn't really explain all aspects of depression
- blames the client rather than situational factors
- practical applications in therapy
The cognitive approach to treating depression is...
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Challenging negative/irrational thoughts and put more effective behaviours in place.
CBT: Beck's cognitive therapy
Cognitive therapy is the application of Beck's negative triad theory of depression. First you identify the automatic thoughts about the world, self and future. Then you challenge them and test the reality of the negative beliefs. This sometimes involves homework to back it up.
CBT: Ellis rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT)
REBT extends the ABC Model to an ABCDE Model- D stands for dispute and E for effect. Central to the technique is identifying and disputing (challenging) irrational thoughts. This can involve a vigorous argument to change the irrational so break the link between negative life events and depression.
Alongside CBT therapists work to encourage a depressed patient to be more active and engage in enjoyable activities. This provides more evidence for the irrational nature of beliefs
Evaluation points of the cognitive approach for treating depression:
-It is effective
-CBT may not work for the most severe cases
- support for behavioural activation
The role of serotonin (OCD explanation)
Serotonin, believed to help regulate mood, has been found to be in low levels in the brains of people with OCD. It is thought that the low level of serotonin means the brain doesn't regulate mood properly and that transmission of mood relevant information doesn't take place and this causes OCD
Decision making systems (OCD explanation)
Some cases of OCD, in particular hoarding disorder seems to be associated with impaired decision making. This in turn may be associated with abnormal functioning of the lateral side of the frontal lobe (as the frontal lobe is responsible for logical thinking and decision making. Also, evidence suggests the parahippocampal gyrus, associated with processing unpleasant emotions, functions abnormally in people with OCD.
Candidate genes (genetic explanation OCD)
Genes have been identified which create a vulnerability for OCD (e.g. SERT gene/5-HTT which affects the transport of serotonin, creating lower levels of the neurotransmitter- 1 study of two sep. families with this genetic mutation: 6/7 had OCD)
Polygenic (OCD genetic explanation)
Many genes have been linked to the condition, <230 genes may be involved (Taylor,2003)
One group of genes may cause OCD in one person but a different group of genes may cause the disorder in another group.
Evaluation points for the bio approach to explaining OCD
-There is supporting evidence
- It is not clear exactly what neural mechanisms are involved
-Too many candidate genes
- Environmental risk factors
SSRIs (bio approach to treating OCD)
Antidepressant drug that works on the serotonin system of the brain. An example of one is Fluoxetine).
Tricylics (Bio approach to treating OCD)
Antidepressant which works on the serotonin system. They block the transporter mechanism that re-absorbs both serotonin and noradrenaline in the presynaptic cell after it has been fired. This prolongs the neurotransmitter's activity, easing transmission of the next impulse. Target more than one neurotransmitter but have more severe side-effects than SSRIs so only used when patients don't respond to SSRIs.
anti-anxiety drugs (bio approach to treating OCD)
Benzodiazepines (BZs) are commonly used to reduce anxiety. BZs slow down the activity of the CNS by enhancing the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA, a neurotransmitter that, when released has a general quietening effect on many of the neurotransmitters in the brain. It does this by reacting with special sites (GABA receptors) on the outside of receiving neuron. This opens a channel that increases the flow of chloride ions into the neuron. This makes the neuron less sensitive to neurotransmitters, slowing down it's activity and making the person feel relaxed.
Evaluation points of bio approach for treating OCD
-It is effective
-Drugs are cost effective and non-disruptive
-Drugs can have side effects
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