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abnormal behavior

Behavior that is deviant, maladaptive, or personally distressful over a relatively long period of time

deviant (abnormal behavior)

Atypical or statistically unusual behavior

maladaptive (abnormal behavior)

Interferes with one's ability to function effectively in the world

personal distress (abnormal behavior)

Person engaging in the behavior finds it troubling

theoretical approaches to psychological disorders

-Biological approach
-Psychological Approach
-Sociocultural Approach
-Biophysical Model

biological approach to psychological disorders

Attributes psychological disorders to organic, internal causes. Primarily focuses on the brain, genetic factors, and neurotransmitter functioning as the sources of abnormalty

medical model

The view that psychological disorders are medical diseases with a biological origin

psychological approach to psychological disorders

Emphasizes the contributions of experiences, thoughts, emotions, and personality characteristics in explaining psychological disorders

sociocultural approach to psychological disorders

Emphasizes the social contexts in which a person lives, including gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, family relationships, and culture

biopsychosocial model

A variety of factors from each of the domains of experience interact with each other. None of the factors considered is necessarily viewed as more important than another, they're all significant


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition; the major classification of psychological disorders in the US
Five Axes:
I: All diagnostic categories except personality disorders and mental retardation
II: Personality disorders and mental retardation
III: General medical conditions
IV: Psychosocial and environmental problems
V: Current level of functioning

attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

One of the most common psychological disorders of childhood, in which individuals show one or more of the following: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity

anxiety disorders

Disabling (uncontrollable and disruptive) psychological disorders that feature motor tension, hyperactive and apprehensive expectations and thoughts

generalized anxiety disorder

Psychological disorder marked by persistent anxiety for at least 6 months, and in which the individual is unable to specify the reasons for the anxiety

panic disorder

Anxiety disorder in which the individual experiences recurrent, sudden onsets of intense terror, often without warning and with no specific cause

phobic disorder (phobia)

Anxiety disorder characterized by an irrational, overwhelming, persistent fear of a particular object or situation

social phobia

An intense fear of being humiliated or embarrassed in social situations

obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Anxiety disorder in which the individual has anxiety-provoking thoughts that will not go away and/or urges to perform repetitive, ritualistic behaviors to prevent or produce some future situation


Recurrent thoughts


Recurrent behaviors

post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Anxiety disorder that develops through exposure to a traumatic event, a severely oppressive situation, cruel abuse, or a natural or an unnatural disaster

symptoms of PTSD

-Flashbacks in which the individual relives the event
-Avoiding emotional experiences and avoiding talking about emotions with others
-Reduced ability to feel emotions, often reported as feeling numb, resulting in an inability to experience happiness, sexual desire, or enjoyable interpersonal relationships
-Excessive arousal, resulting in an exaggerated startle response or an inability to sleep
-Difficulties with memory and concentration
-Feelings of apprehension, including nervous tremors
-Impulsive outbursts of behavior, such as aggressiveness, or sudden changes in lifestyle

depressive disorders

Mood disorders in which the individual suffers from depression


An unrelenting lack of pleasure in life

major depressive disorder (MDD)

Psychological disorder involving a major depressive episode and depressed characteristics, such as lethargy and hopelessness, for at least two weeks

MDD symptoms

■ Depressed mood most of the day
■ Reduced interest or pleasure in all or most activities
■ Significant weight loss or gain or significant decrease or interest in appetite
■ Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
■ Psychomotor agitation or retardation
■ Fatigue or loss of energy
■ Feeling worthless or guilty in an excessive or inappropriate manner
■ Problems in thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
■ Recurrent thoughts of death and suicide
■ No history of manic episodes (periods of euphoric mood)

dysthymic disorder (DD)

Mood disorder that is generally more chronic and has fewer symptoms than MDD

symptoms of DD

■ Poor appetite or overeating
■ Sleep problems
■ Low energy or fatigue
■ Low self-esteem
■ Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions
■ Feelings of hopelessness

learned helplessness

An individual's acquisition of feelings of powerlessness when he or she is exposed to aversive circumstances, such as prolonged stress, over which that individual has no control


People's attempts to explain what caused something to happen

bipolar disorder

Mood disorder characterized by extreme mood swings that include one or more episodes of mania, an overexcited, unrealistically optimistic state

eating disorders

The very act of eating, essential for survival, becomes an arena where a variety of complex biological, psychological, and cultural issues are played out, often with tragic consquences

anorexia nervosa

Eating disorder that involves the relentless pursuit of thinness through starvation

bulimia nervosa

Eating disorder in which an individual (typically a girl or woman) consistently follows a binge-and-purge eating pattern

binge eating disorder (BED)

Eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large amounts of food during which the person feels a lack of control over eating


Psychological states in which the person feels disconnected from immediate experience

dissociative disorders

Psychological disorders that involve a sudden loss of memory or change in identity due to the dissociation (separation) of an individual's conscious awareness from previous memories and thoughts
-Dissociative amnesia, dissociative fugue, and dissociative identity disorder

dissociative amnesia

Dissociative disorder characterized by extreme memory loss that is caused by extensive psychological stress

dissociative fugue

Dissociative disorder in which the individual not only develops amnesia but also unexpectedly travels away from home and assumes a new identity

dissociative identity disorder (DID)

Formerly called multiple personality disorder, a dissociative disorder in which the individual has two or more distinct personalities or selves, each with its own memories, behaviors, and relationships


Severe psychological disorder characterized by highly disordered thought processes, referred to as psychotic because they are so far removed from reality

positive symptoms of schizophrenia

Marked by a distortion or an excess of normal function
-Thought disorders
-Disorders of movement


Sensory experiences that occur in the absence of real stimuli


False, unusual, and sometimes magical beliefs that are not part of an individual's culture

thought disorder

The unusual, sometimes bizarre thought processes that are characteristic positive symptoms of schizophrenia

referential thinking

Ascribing personal meaning to completely random events

disorders of movement

A person with schizophrenia may show unusual mannerisms, body movements, and facial expressions


State of immobility and unresponsiveness, lasting for long periods of time

negative symptoms of schizophrenia

Reflect social withdrawal, behavioral deficits, and the loss or decrease of normal functions

flat affect

The display of little or no emotion--a common negative symptom of schizophrenia

cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia

Include difficulty sustaining attention, problems holding information in memory, and inability to interpret information and make decisions

biological factors of causing schizophrenia

Heredity, structural brain abnormalities, problems in neurotransmitter regulation (dopamine)

diathesis-stress model

View of schizophrenia emphasizing that a combination of biogenetic disposition and stress causes the disorder


Physical vulnerability or predisposition to a particular disorder

sociocultural factors of causing schizophrenia

Individuals with schizophrenia in developing, nonindustrialized nations tend to have better outcomes than those in developed, industrialized nations

personality disorders

Chronic, maladaptive cognitive-behavioral patterns that are thoroughly integrated to an individual's personality

antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)

Psychological disorder characterized by guiltlessness, law-breaking, exploitation of others, irresponsibility, and deceit

ASPD criteria

■ Failure to conform to social norms or obey the law
■ Deceitfulness, lying, using aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure
■ Impulsivity or failure to plan ahead
■ Irritability and aggressiveness; getting into physical fights or perpetrating assaults
■ Reckless disregard for the safety of self or others
■ Consistent irresponsibility, inconsistent work behavior; not paying bills
■ Lack of remorse, indifference to the pain of others, or rationalizing; hurting or mis-treating another person

borderline personality disorder (BPD)

Psychological disorder characterized by a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, and emotions, and of marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts

BPD symptoms

■ Frantic efforts to avoid being abandoned
■ Unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by extreme shifts between idealization and devaluation
■ Markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
■ Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (for example, spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating)
■ Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats or self-mutilating behavior
■ Unstable and extreme emotional responses
■ Chronic feelings of emptiness
■ Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger
■ Temporary stress-related paranoia (a pattern of disturbed thought featuring delusionsof grandeur or persecution) or severe dissociative symptoms


Individuals with BPD tend to see the world in black and white terms


The tendency to be constantly on the alert, looking for threatening information in the environment

consequences of stigma

-Prejudice and discrimination
-Physical health

combating stigma

-Resist thinking of people with disorders as limited individuals whose disorder colors everything they do
-Recognize vital strengths--both in confronting their disorder and in carrying on despite their problems--and their achievements
-Creating a positive environment

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