Perspectives on Psychological Disorders
• Medical perspective - the perspective that
suggests that when an individual displays
symptoms of abnormal behavior, the root
cause will be found in a physical examination of
the individual, which may reveal a hormonal
imbalance, a chemical deficiency, or a brain
• Psychoanalytic perspective - the perspective
that suggests that abnormal behavior stems
from childhood conflicts over opposing wishes
regarding sex and aggression.
• Behavioral perspective - the perspective that
looks at the behavior itself as the problem.
• Cognitive perspective - the perspective that
suggests that people’s thoughts and beliefs
are a central component of abnormal
• Humanistic perspective - the perspective that
emphasizes the responsibility people have for
their own behavior, even when such behavior
•Sociocultural perspective - the perspective that
assumes that people’s behavior—both normal
and abnormal— is shaped by the kind of family
group, society, and culture in which they live.
Classifying Psychological Disorders
Why create classifications
of mental illness? What is
the value of talking about
diagnoses instead of just
talking about individuals?
1. Diagnoses create a
verbal shorthand for
referring to a list of
2. Diagnoses allow us to
many similar cases,
learning to predict
3. Diagnoses can guide
The Diagnostic and
It’s easier to count
cases of autism if we
have a clear
Versions: DSM-IVTR, DSM-V (May
The DSM is used to
justify payment for
It’s consistent with
diagnoses used by
The Five “Axes” of Diagnosis
The DSM suggests describing someone not just with a label
but with a five-part picture.
Is a clinical
none, one, o
Is a personality Is a general
What is the
environmental this person’s
problems, such functioning?
developmental arthritis, or
as school or
assign a code
also present? issues, also
or may not also
select one of
The occurrence of anxiety without an obvious
external cause that affects daily functioning.
•Phobias - intense, irrational fears of specific
objects or situations.
A specific phobia is more than just
a strong fear or dislike. A specific
phobia is diagnosed when there is
an uncontrollable, irrational,
intense desire to avoid the some
object or situation. Even an image
of the object can trigger a
reaction--“GET IT AWAY FROM
irrational, intense desire to avoid
the object of the phobia.
Some Fears and Phobias
What trends are
more, fear or
does this imply?
Some Other Phobias
Agoraphobia is the
avoidance of situations in
which one will fear having a
panic attack, especially a
situation in which it is
difficult to get help, and from
which it difficult to escape.
Social phobia refers to an intense
fear of being watched and judged by
others. It is visible as a fear of public
appearances in which
embarrassment or humiliation is
possible, such as public
speaking, eating, or performing.
A panic attack is not just an “anxiety attack.” It may
many minutes of intense dread or terror.
chest pains, choking, numbness, or other frightening
physical sensations. Patients may feel certain that it’s
a heart attack.
a feeling of a need to escape.
Panic disorder refers to repeated and unexpected panic
attacks, as well as a fear of the next attack, and a
change in behavior to avoid panic attacks.
The experience of long-term,
persistent anxiety and worry.
worries, ideas, and images that
repeatedly pop up in the mind.
A compulsion is a repeatedly
strong feeling of “needing” to
carry out an action, even though
it doesn’t feel like it makes sense.
About 10 to 35 percent of
people who experience
trauma not only have
burned-in memories, but also
four weeks to a lifetime of:
repeated intrusive recall of
nightmares and other reexperiencing.
social withdrawal or phobic
jumpy anxiety or
insomnia or sleep problems.
Psychological difficulties that take on a physical
(somatic) form, but for which there is no medical
A disorder in which people have a constant fear of
illness and a preoccupation with their health.
A major somatoform disorder that involves an
actual physical disturbance, such as the inability
to use a sensory organ or the complete or partial
inability to move an arm or leg.
A long-term (chronic) condition in which a
person has physical symptoms that involve more
than one part of the body, but no physical cause
can be found.
Dissociation refers to a separation of
conscious awareness from thoughts,
memory, bodily sensations, feelings,
or even from identity.
Dissociation can serve as a
psychological escape from an
overwhelmingly stressful situation.
A dissociative disorder refers to
dysfunction and distress caused by
chronic and severe dissociation.
Loss of memory with no known physical cause;
inability to recall selected memories or any memories
“Running away” state; wandering away from one’s
life, memory, and identity, with no memory of these
formerly “Multiple Personality Disorder”
Development of separate personalities
Major depressive disorder [MDD] is:
more than just feeling “down.”
more than just feeling sad
Bipolar disorder is:
more than “mood swings.”
depression plus the problematic
overly “up” mood called “mania.”
to a mental split
from reality and
the mind is split from reality, e.g.
a split from one’s own thoughts
so that they appear as
Subtypes of Schizophrenia
• Plagued by hallucinations, often with negative
messages, and delusions, both grandiose and
• Primary symptoms are flat affect, incoherent
speech, and random behavior
• Rarely initiating or controlling movement; copies
others’ speech and actions
• Many varied symptoms
• Withdrawal continues after positive symptoms have
A disorder characterized by a set of inflexible,
maladaptive behavior patterns that keep a person
from functioning appropriately in society.
Antisocial Personality Disorder
A disorder in which individuals
show no regard for the moral and
ethical rules of society or the rights
Borderline Personality Disorder
A disorder in which individuals
have difficulty developing a secure
sense of who they are.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
A personality disturbance characterized by an
exaggerated sense of self- importance.
Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD)
A mental disorder characterized by
paranoia and a pervasive, long-standing
suspiciousness and generalized mistrust of
Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD)
A person who displays a pervasive pattern of social
inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, extreme
sensitivity to negative evaluation, and avoidance
of social interaction.
Dependent Personality Disorder
Formerly known as asthenic personality
disorder, is a personality disorder that is
characterized by a pervasive psychological
dependence on other people.
Personality Disorder (OCPD)
Also called anankastic personality disorder, is a
personality disorder characterized by a
pervasive pattern of preoccupation with
orderliness, perfectionism, mental and
interpersonal control at the expense of
flexibility, openness, and efficiency. In contrast
to people with obsessive-compulsive disorder
(OCD), behaviors are rational and desirable to
people with OCPD.
A disorder marked by inattention, impulsiveness, a
low tolerance for frustration, and a great deal of
A severe developmental disability that impairs
children’s ability to communicate and relate to
Disorders that concern the elimination of feces
or urine from the body.
Described in clinical literature as a severe and
relatively uncommon disorder that can affect
children.RAD is characterized by markedly
disturbed and developmentally inappropriate
ways of relating socially in most contexts.