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1. Definitions of AbnormalityDefining a person or behaviour as „abnormal‟ implies something undesirable andrequiring changeTherefore, we must be careful how we use…
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  • 1. Definitions of AbnormalityDefining a person or behaviour as „abnormal‟ implies something undesirable andrequiring changeTherefore, we must be careful how we use the termPsychologists need methods for distinguishing „normal‟ from „abnormal‟Our definition of abnormality must be objective: It must not depend on anyone‟s opinion or point of view It should produce the same results whoever applies itIt must not be under or over-inclusive It must not label as „abnormal‟ or „normal‟ behaviours or traits that aren‟tThree definitions are used to define abnormality: Deviation from social norms Failure to function adequately Deviation from ideal mental health Deviation from social normsUnder this definition, a person‟s thinking or behaviour is classified as abnormal ifit violates the (unwritten) rules about what is expected or acceptable behaviour ina particular social group.Their behaviour may: Be incomprehensible to others Make others feel threatened or uncomfortableWith this definition, it is necessary to consider: The degree to which a norm is violated, the importance of that norm and the value attached by the social group to different sorts of violation. E.g. is the violation rude, eccentric, abnormal or criminal?Abnormality is defined in terms of behavior which goes against societiesaccepted standardsDifferent societies have different standardsStandards change over timeStrengthsShouldbe easy to pick out the deviantAllows for adaptation: As social norms change, so will our ideas about what isnormal / abnormalWeaknessesWhat is deviant in one social group is accepted / expected in another: Acrosssocieties and cultures / across generations and sub-cultures
  • 2. Psychiatric wards used to hold women locked away for „mental insanity‟ ie havingbabies outside of marriage Failure to function adequatelyUnder this definition, a person is considered abnormal if they are unable to copewith the demands of everyday life.They may be unable to perform the behaviours necessary for day-to-day livinge.g. self-care, hold down a job, interact meaningfully with others, makethemselves understood etc.Rosenhan& Seligman (1989) suggest the following characteristics: Suffering Maladaptiveness (danger to self) Vividness & unconventionality (stands out) Unpredictability & loss of control Irrationality/incomprehensibility Causes observer discomfort Violates moral/social standardsAbnormality is defined in terms of an inability to maintain social relationships, orhold down a job. Some people with mental health disorders appear to the outsideworld to cope very well. Sometimes withdrawal from the world is an adaptiveresponseStrengthsThese are what most people refer to when talking about problems with mentalhealth (Sue et al 1994)These are the reasons most people go for help with their mental health (Miller &Marley 1986)WeaknessesWho decides what an acceptable level of functioning is?Context of their behaviourSome people have psychological disorders but still function adequatelySome people may be classified as not functioning adequately but do not have apsychological disorderFunctioning adequately is subject to cultural variation Deviation from ideal mental healthUnder this definition, rather than defining what is abnormal, we define what isnormal/ideal and anything that deviates from this is regarded as abnormalThis requires us to decide on the characteristics we consider necessary to mentalhealthPsychologists vary, but usual characteristics include: Positive view of the self Capability for growth and development Autonomy and independence
  • 3. Accurate perception of reality Positive friendships and relationships Environmental mastery – able to meet the varying demands of day-to-day situations Deviation from ideal mental health continued:Self-actualisation – Becoming all that you are capable of becomingStrengths: Optimistic Focuses on a health not illness model This approach emphasises a positive approach to human behaviour and experience. Has value as a tool for defining normality but as a means of defining abnormality it has severe limitations.Weaknesses: Represents deviation from an ideal mental state. Very few people would match Jahoda‟s criteria and so would be classified as abnormal! The characteristics listed by Jahoda are rooted in Western culture. The goals autonomy and self-actualisation would not be recognised by collectivist cultures. Severely culturally restricted. The difficulty of self-actualisation Very difficult to measure objectively Who defines ideal mental health? Possible benefits of stress
  • 4. Approaches to Psychopathology The Biological Approach All mental disorders have a physical cause (BING - Brain injury, Infection, Neurotransmitters, Genetics) Mental illnesses can be described in terms of clusters of symptoms (syndromes) Symptoms can be identified, leading to the diagnosis of an illness Diagnosis leads to appropriate physical treatmentsOne of the best examples of how brain injury can influence abnormality is the case ofPhineas Gage.Working on a railway in 1848, he had an accident in which a tamping iron went upthrough his face , behind his left eye and out through the top of his head.He survived the accident, but his personality was completely changed, including ahuge increase in aggression.Some months after the accident, probably in about the middle of 1849, Phineas feltstrong enough to resume work. But because his personality had changed so much,the contractors who had employed him would not give him his place again. Beforethe accident he had been their most capable and efficient foreman, one with a well-balanced mind, and who was looked on as a shrewd smart business man. He wasnow fitful, irreverent, and grossly profane, showing little deference for his fellows. Hewas also impatient and obstinate, yet capricious and vacillating, unable to settle onany of the plans he devised for future action. His friends said he was "No longerGage.“Brain Damage • A degeneration or malformation of brain cells can cause memory loss often present in Alzheimer‟s disease. • Korsakoff‟s syndrome occurs when drink and drugs damage part of the brain involved in memory.Korsakoffs syndrome is caused by lack of thiamine (vitamin B1), which affects thebrain and nervous system. Thiamine deficiency is often seen in people who consumeexcessive amounts of alcohol. The main symptom is memory loss - particularly ofevents arising after the onset of the condition. Sometimes, memories of the moredistant past can also be affected.Infection • Syphilis causes short-lived sores followed by general paresis- forgetfulness, mental deterioration and delusions of grandeur and persecution.
  • 5. • The influenza virus has been linked to schizophrenia. Brown et al (2004)found that 14% of schizophrenic cases may be linked to the foetus being exposed to the „flu virus in the womb during the first trimester.Neurotransmitter ImbalanceNeurotransmitters have been thought to contribute to many psychological disorders • One of the factors involved in schizophrenia is an excessive amount of dopamine • High levels of serotonin have been thought be involved in the manic state of bi-polar depression.Neurotransmitters have been studied quite a bit in relation to psychology and humanbehavior. What we have found is that several neurotransmitters play a role in theway we behave, learn, the way we feel, and sleep. And, some play a role in mentalillnesses. The following are those neurotransmitters which play a significant role inour mental health. • Dopamine – correlated with movement, attention, and learning Too much dopamine has been associated with schizophrenia, and too little is associated with some forms of depression as well as the muscular rigidity and tremors found in Parkinson‟s disease. • Serotonin – plays a role in mood, sleep, appetite, and impulsive and aggressive behavior Too little serotonin is associated with depression and some anxiety disorders, especially obsessive-compulsive disorder. Some antidepressant medications increase the availability of serotonin at the receptor sites. • GABA (Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid) – inhibits excitation and anxiety Too little GABA is associated with anxiety and anxiety disorders. Some anti- anxiety medication increases GABA at the receptor sites.Genetics • Individuals may inherit a predisposition to certain illnesses. These are carried on genes, through DNA, which pass from one generation to the next. • Concordance rate: measures how often two individuals who are closely related have the same disorder. • Twin Studies: Twins can be • identical (monozygotic,MZ) or • fraternal (dizygotic, DZ).
  • 6. McGuffin et al (1996) Studied twins where one of the pair already suffered from depression. Assessed the co-twin and found… 46% concordance rate for depression (MZ) 20% concordance rate for depression (DZ) Gottesman (1991) Meta-analysis of about 40 twin studies Found concordance rate for schizophrenia of 48% in monozygotic twins and 17% in dizygotic twinsStrengths Evidence from brain scans. No „blame‟ – it‟s an illness. Offers rapid and effective treatment solutions. Brain imaging studies etc show how neurotransmitters can be involved Bipolar disorder, phobias, schizophrenia etc sometimes run in families Depression, for example, can be effectively treated with drugs It focuses upon physical factors in the same way that medicine does for physical disorders. Genes and brain chemistry can be reliably measured and manipulated. Patients may find it reassuring that their „condition‟ can be attributed to a physical deficiency rather than „something wrong with them‟ as a personWeaknesses Reductionist Genetics don‟t provide a complete explanation, e.g.diathesis-stress Stigma of mental illness Pathologising all undesirable behavior Takes only the biological view, when we know that there are also environmental factors. Doesn‟t paint the full picture This component (genetic) must interact with non-genetic environmental factors. E.g. non genetic factor could be stress, which then triggers the genetic vulnerability. This is called diathesis-stress, the interaction between nature (e.g genetic vulnerability) and nurture (stress) = depression. Drug treatments not effective for everyone. And some disorders don‟t respond at all, e.g. phobias and eating disorders. Drugs are like a plaster, they treat the symptoms, but not the underlying causes.
  • 7. The Psychodynamic Approach Much of our behaviour is driven by unconscious motives Childhood is a critical period in development Mental disorders arise from unresolved, unconscious conflicts originating in childhood Resolution occurs through accessing and coming to terms with repressed ideas and conflictsThe key assumption of the psychodynamic approach is that all human behaviour canbe explained in terms of inner conflict of the mindThe Mind: The conscious - The small amount of mental activity we know about. Thoughts & Perceptions The preconscious - Things we could be aware of if we wanted or tried. Memories & Stored knowledge The unconscious - Things we are unaware of and cannot become aware of. Fears, Unacceptable desires, Violent motives, Irrational wishes, Immoral urges, Selfish needs, Shameful experiences & Traumatic experiencesPsyche- the forces in an individual that influence thought, behaviour and personalityId – Instincts - The id is the unorganized part of the personality structure whichcontains the basic drives. The id acts according to the "pleasure principle", seekingto avoid pain or displeasure aroused by increases in instinctual tension.Developmentally, the id precedes the ego. The mind of a newborn child is regarded
  • 8. as completely "id-ridden", in the sense that it is a mass of instinctive drives andimpulses, and needs immediate satisfactionEgo – Reality - The ego acts according to the “reality principle”, i.e. it seeks toplease the id‟s drive in realistic ways that will benefit in the long term rather thanbringing grief. At the same time, the ego "attempts to mediate between id and reality.Superego – Morality - The Super-ego can be thought of as a type of conscience(aka “punishing parent”) that punishes misbehaviour with feelings of guilt. The super-ego works in contradiction to the id. The super-ego strives to act in a sociallyappropriate manner, whereas the id just wants instant self-gratification. The super-ego controls our sense of right and wrong and guilt. It helps us fit into society bygetting us to act in socially acceptable ways.Personality Development Freud believed that the id, ego and super ego were separate and conflicting forces, They need to be balanced for good mental health and normal behaviourExample - There is one cake left on the table:  ID – want the cake, needs to take the cake, isnt concerned about others.  SUPEREGO – I mustn‟t have the cake, I should leave it for someone else, I will let someone else have it, don‟t be greedy.  EGO – I will wait for a few minutes, see if anyone else has it, I am rather hungry, if it is still there in 5 minutes then I‟ll take it.Development of the ID, EGO and SUPEREGO  At birth, personality is ruled by ID (pleasure principle)  Early childhood, EGO starts to develop (reality principle)  Later childhood, the SUPER EGO emerges (Morality principle)Innate drive to seek immediate satisfaction of pleasure through libido (sexualenergy), aggression and/or violence.Reality creeps in, it can‟t always get what it wants, has to accommodate theenvironment. Regulates interactions with the here and now/environment.Balancingdemands of the superego with the drives of the id.Conscience, sense of right and wrong. Personal moral authority, developed throughidentification and influence of parents. Societal norms are internalised.
  • 9. Because the id is present from birth but the ego and super ego develop throughchildhood, Freud thought that early childhood experiences were key tounderstanding adulthood disorders. This is because the immature ego may havestruggled to contain drives of the idand the morals of the superego (once formed).In a healthy psyche, the Ego is in chargeIf the superego dominates, the person may be unable to experience any kind ofpleasurable gratification. The burden of trying to live up to the high moral standardsof Superego (composed of parental and societal code of conduct) could cause hugeanxiety, accompanied by guilt at not being good enough (or still harbouring IDdrives). Neurotic (anxiety) disorders are likely. OCD could be linked into this psyche.Psychosis is a symptom of mental illness characterized by a radical change inpersonality and a distorted or diminished sense of objective realityA dominant IDcould lead to destructive tendencies, pleasure gratification at any cost, uninhibitedbehaviour, including sexual behaviour.Psychopathic psyche is as a result of the SUPER EGO not developing. Pleasureprinciple allowed to reign with no moral compromise, as there are no morals.Oedipus conflict - a boys feelings of desire for his mother and jealously and angertowards his father. Essentially, a boy feels like he is in competition with his father forpossession of his mother. He views his father as a rival for her attentions andaffections.Electra conflict - a girl‟s romantic feelings toward her father and anger towards hermother.During female psychosexual development a young girl is initially attached toher mother. When she discovers that she does not have a penis, she becomesattached to her father and begins to resent her mother who she blames for her"castration." As a result, Freud believed that the girl then begin to identify with andemulate her mother out of fear of losing her love.Thanatos - This postulated death drive allegedly compels humans to engage in riskyand self-destructive acts that could lead to their own death. Behaviours such as thrillseeking and aggression are viewed as actions which stem from this Thanatosinstinct. However, some scientists argue that there is little evidence that most peoplehave a specific drive toward self-destructionEros - also called libido, is the life instinct innate in all humans. It is the desire tocreate life and favours productivity and construction. In early psychoanalytic writings,instincts from the Eros were opposed by forces from the ego. But in laterpsychoanalytic theory, Eros is opposed by the destructive death instinct of ThanatosLibido - the instinct energy or force, contained in what Freud called the id, thelargely unconscious structure of the psyche.
  • 10. Defensive MechanismsThe constant conflict of between Id, Ego and Superego produces anxiety. Tomanage this anxiety, the ego has defence mechanisms; Denial - Extreme form of self-protection where a person refuses to accept that a particular event has happened. eg a terminal cancer patient refusing to accept they are dying. - Survivor of long happy marriage may continue to act as through their husband/wife was still alive Repression - The Ego refuses to allow impulses from the ID to enter into conscious awareness. It does this to protect itself from traumatic experiences or painful experiences in childhood, eg abuse. - Threatening impulses are repressed into the unconscious – not disappeared but no longer known about. Regression -regressing back to earlier childhood behaviour - e.g. a child anxious mother will reject him once new baby bro/sis arrives can revert to tantrums, bed wetting, soiling etc Displacement - Redirecting unacceptable desires and impulses on to a relatively safe target – eghatred towards mother (unacceptable in society) is displaced on to a brother or sister. – egtaking out your anger on someone else e.g. shouting at the dog after having an argument with your mum. Projection - Attributing your own unacceptable desires and impulses onto someone else - i.e. accusing a friend of not liking you when you really don’t like them yourself. In other words, blaming someone else Sublimation - socially unacceptable impulses or idealizations are consciously transformed into socially acceptable actions or behaviour, possibly converting the initial impulse in the long term. Intellectualisation -reasoning is used to block confrontation with an unconscious conflict and its associated emotional stress, by using excessive and abstract ideation to avoid difficult feelings. It involves removing ones self, emotionally, from a stressful event. Reaction Formation -hiding real feelings by acting in the opposite way - e.g. talking loudly when nervousDefence mechanisms can lead to Mental Disorder. Unacceptable desires andimpulses, traumatic events, etc „managed‟ by defence mechanisms can; Re-emerge as symptoms of anxiety or other emotional disorders. Still affect behaviour, leading to distress as person doesn‟t understand why they‟re behaving as they are Be triggered by similar life event, leading them to re-experience original event leading to depression.The Psychodynamic Model assumes that experiences in our earlier years can affectour emotions, attitudes and behaviour in later years without us being aware that it ishappening. Freud suggested that abnormal behaviour is caused by unresolved
  • 11. conflicts in the Unconscious. These conflicts create anxiety, and we use defencemechanisms such as repression and denial to protect our Ego against this anxiety.Psychosexual Stages Oral - The first stage of psychosexual development is the oral stage, spanning from birth until the age of two years, wherein the infants mouth is the focus of libidinal gratification derived from the pleasure of feeding at the mothers breast, and from the oral exploration of his or her environment, i.e. the tendency to place objects in the mouth - too much or too little gratification of desire might lead to an oral-stage fixation, characterised by passivity, gullibility, immaturity, unrealistic optimism Anal - The seco
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