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AP PSYCHOLOGY – CHAPTER 16 – PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDERS

21 VOCABULARY

1. List the criteria for judging whether behavior is disordered.


ANS:
Psychological disorders are harmful dysfunctions that are judged to be:
- atypical
- disturbing to others
- maladaptive
- unjustifiable

2. Explain the medical & bio-psycho-social perspectives on psychological


disorders.
ANS:
• According to the medical perspective, disorders are sicknesses that can
be diagnosed on the basis of their symptoms & cured through therapy.
• Psychologists who work from the bio-psycho-social perspective assume
that biological, sociocultural, & psychological factors combine & interact to
produce psychological disorders.

3. Describe the system used to classify psychological disorders, & explain


the reasons for its development.
ANS:
• The DSM-IV-TR groups some 400 psychological disorders into 17 major
categories.
• Diagnostic classification is intended to:
- describe a disorder
- predict its future course
- imply its appropriate treatment
- stimulate research into its causes

4. Discuss the controversy surrounding the use of diagnostic labels.


ANS:
• Most clinicians believe that diagnostic labels help in describing, treating, &
researching the causes of psychological disorders.
• Critics contend that these labels are arbitrary value judgments that create
preconceptions that can bias our perceptions & interpretations.
• Labels can also affect people’s self-images & stigmatize them in other’s
eyes.
• Labels can change reality by serving as self-fulfilling prophecies.
5. Describe the various anxiety disorders
ANS:
There are 4 types of anxiety disorders:
• generalized anxiety disorder, in which a person feels inexplicably tense &
apprehensive.
• phobia, in which a person has an irrational fear of a specific object or
person.
• obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), in which a person is troubled by
repetitive thoughts or actions.
• panic disorder, an extreme form of anxiety in which a person experiences
sudden episodes of intense dread.

6. Discuss anxiety disorders from the psychoanalytic, learning, & biological


perspectives.
ANS:
• Freud (psychoanalytic) viewed an anxiety disorder as a manifestation of
repressed impulses, ideas, & feelings that influence the sufferer’s actions
& emotions.
• Learning theorists link anxiety disorders with classical conditioning of fear,
which may arise from stimulus generalization. Phobic & compulsive
behaviors reduce anxiety by allowing the person to avoid or escape the
feared situation; this reinforces the behavior. Fear may also be learned
through observational learning.
• Biologically oriented psychologists see disorders as evolutionary
adaptations or as genetic predispositions to particular fears or high
anxiety. The anxiety of people with OCD, for example, is measurable as
unusually high activity in a particular region of the frontal lobes.

7. Describe the principle mood disorders.


ANS:
There are two principal mood disorders:
• Major depressive disorder, the “common cold” of psychological disorders,
occurs when signs of depression last two weeks or more without any
discernable cause.
• Bipolar disorder is characterized by alternating between extreme
depressive episodes and a hyperactive, wildly optimistic state of mania.
8. Discuss the alternative explanations of mood disorders.
ANS:
• According to the psychoanalytic perspective, depression occurs when
significant losses evoke feelings associated with losses experienced in
childhood and when unresolved anger towards one’s parents is directed
inward against the self.
• To the biological perspective, mood disorders involve genetic
predispositions and biochemical imbalances in which norepinephrine is
overabundant during mania and scarce during depression. Serotonin is
also scarce during depression. The brains of depressed people also tend
to be less active and even have somewhat smaller frontal lobes.
• To the social-cognitive perspective, depression is a vicious cycle in which
stressful experiences trigger self-focused negative thinking and a self-
blaming style of explaining events that hamper the way the person thinks
and acts. This negative thinking and self-blaming style leads to further
negative experiences.

9. Discuss the nature and possible causes of dissociative disorders.


ANS:
• In dissociative disorders, a person’s conscious awareness becomes
separated from previous memories, thoughts, & feelings.
• Most mysterious is dissociative identity disorder (DID) (Multiple
Personality), in which people have two or more distinct personalities.
Critics contend that sufferers are merely enacting a role for strategic
reasons.
• Psychoanalysts view the symptoms of these disorders as defenses
against anxiety.
• Learning theorists see them as behaviors reinforced by anxiety reduction.
• Some theorists see dissociative disorders as states that serve as
protective escape responses to traumatic childhood experiences.
• The recent explosion of diagnoses of these disorders in North America
has led skeptics to argue that the disorder is a cultural phenomenon,
rather than a genuine disorder.
• Supporters point to evidence of distinct changes in brain and body states
associated with differing personalities.
10. Describe the symptoms and types of schizophrenia.
ANS:
• Schizophrenia is a cluster of disorders in which there is a split from reality
that shows itself in disorganized and delusional thinking, disturbed
perceptions, and inappropriate emotions & actions.
• Positive symptoms include disorganized or deluded thinking and speech
(word salads), & inappropriate actions & emotions.
• Negative symptoms include toneless voice, expressionless face, or mute
and rigid bodies.
• Schizophrenia may develop gradually (chronic or process schizophrenia),
in which case recovery is doubtful.
• It may develop rapidly (acute or reactive) in response to stress, in which
case recovery is much more likely.
• SUBTYPES CHART p. 648:
- paranoid
- disorganized
- catatonic
- undifferentiated
- residual

11. Discuss research on the causes of schizophrenia.


ANS:
• Some schizophrenia patients have an excess of brain receptors for
dopamine.
• Others have abnormally low brain activity in the frontal lobes.
• Others have enlarged fluid-filled areas in the frontal lobes with a
corresponding shrinkage of cerebral tissue.
• Evidence suggests that the brain abnormalities of schizophrenia might be
caused by a problem during prenatal development, such as a viral
infection, nutritional deprivation, or oxygen deprivation at birth.
• In addition, twin studies reveal a strong genetic link in schizophrenia.
Genes may predispose some people to react to particular experiences by
developing schizophrenia.
• Psychological causes of schizophrenia are difficult to pinpoint due to the
variety of forms of schizophrenia.

12. Describe the nature & causes of personality disorders and discuss the
characteristics of the 6 major types of personality disorders.
ANS:
• Personality disorders are inflexible and enduring behavior patterns that
impair a person’s social functioning.
• 6 TYPES
• Avoidant personality disorder – has a fearful sensitivity to rejection that
produces a withdrawn, socially inept personality.
• Schizoid personality disorder – eccentric behaviors which include social
disengagement.
• Histrionic personality disorder – displays shallow, attention-getting
emotions and goes to great lengths to gain praise & reassurance.
• Narcissistic personality disorder – exaggerate their own importance, aided
by success fantasies. They find criticism hard to accept, often reacting
with rage or shame.
• Borderline personality disorder – manifests in an unstable identity. Has
unstable emotions, unstable relationships. Has a markedly unstable sense
of self.
• Antisocial personality disorder – They display a lack of conscience at an
early age, as they begin to lie, steal, fight, or evidence unrestrained sexual
behavior. As adults they don’t get along well in society – don’t hold steady
job, show marital and parental irresponsibility, & sometimes criminal
behavior is just too perfect to resist.

13. Discuss the prevalence of psychological disorders.


ANS:
• Research reveals that approximately one in six adults have experienced a
psychological disorder at some time in their life – and one in six have an
active ongoing disorder.
• Those who experience a disorder usually do so by early adulthood.
• Some disorders, such as ASPD, many OCDs & phobias, appear earlier,
during childhood.