UIUC PSYC 238 - Unit 1 - What is Abnormal (40 pages)

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Unit 1 - What is Abnormal



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Examples and Definitions of Abnormal Behavior UNIT ONE Examples and Definitions of Abnormal Behavior Defining abnormal behavior mental illness disorder DSM 5 definition of mental disorder The role of culture Epidemiology What is Psychopathology It depends In Practice Clinicians in practice traditionally Assess Diagnose Intervention This Course Multiple Viewpoints Differing Viewpoints Problems in Living Sullivan Szasz Harmful Dysfunction Wakefield 4D s DSM Psychopathology Biopsychosocial Dominance of Categories History History of DSM Medical Model Disorder Categories Reliability Validity Stigma Current tension dimensional vs categorical viewpoint Why Psychopathology Problems in Living Course used to be called abnormal psychology Many courses at other Universities still called Abnormal Psychology required course Presumptive Too narrow What is abnormal There is no consensus Leaning towards dimensional viewpoint What is Mental Illness Mental illness is a natural concept in which the boundaries we define that separate category members from non category members are fuzzy NORMAL ABNORMAL Hard to cut nature at its joints What is Mental Illness Some examples are more clear blue jay Others are less clear ostrich Therefore disagreement regarding whether certain behavioral patterns constitute disorders NORMAL ABNORMAL What is Mental Illness Why is it so hard to define mental illness relative to other illnesses disorders No laboratory tests that can be used to definitively confirm the presence of psychopathology because the processes that are responsible for mental disorders have not yet been discovered Ongoing debate about what the definition of mental illness is What is Mental Illness Thomas Szasz 1960 myth of mental illness Mental illness just a convenient label for behavior that either society or the individual in question finds unwanted or unpleasant Abnormal behavior is a social phenomenon and may be a perfectly normal response to an abnormal environment What is Mental Illness Thomas Szasz myth of mental illness Individuals who have mental illness don t suffer from illnesses but rather from problems in living What are benefits and drawbacks of identifying and labeling mental disorders Mental Disorder vs Abnormal Behavior Mental illness is a social construction i e does not exist in nature Our choice of definition implies a value judgment Important to consider situational context as well e g is it abnormal to water one s lawn What is Mental Illness Jerome Wakefield 1992 2010 harmful dysfunction A condition is a mental disorder only if it results from failure of some internal mechanism to perform its natural function it causes harm to the person as judged by standards of that person s culture What is Mental Illness 15 Jerome Wakefield harmful dysfunction Recognizes that not every type of dysfunction leads to a disorder But what are the natural functions and dysfunctions of the body Can harm be treated as dichotomous variable NOT HARMFUL HARMFUL NOT HARMFUL HARMFUL Mental Disorder vs Abnormal Behavior Symptoms Syndrome thoughts feelings and behaviors that indicate a mental disorder a group of signs and symptoms that tend to co occur and are assumed to have a common etiology or cause Additional Considerations duration Impairment Situation context DSM 5 Definition of Mental Disorder Definition of mental disorder used by APA Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders incorporates many of the factors just discussed current distress anxiety or depression disability impairment in functioning significantly increased risk in suffering death pain disability or important loss of freedom Divide disorders into categories DSM 5 Definition of Mental Disorder EXCLUSIONS Does not include culturally sanctioned response to event like grieving over loss deviant behavior actions of political religious sexual minorities conflicts between individual and society trying to express individuality Mental Disorder vs Abnormal Behavior 19 Mental Disorder Abnormal Behavior The Role of Culture Important to recognize that all definitions are culturally embedded Culture shared values beliefs and practices of a group of people The Role of Culture Culture has a profound influence regarding what is considered abnormal and normal behavior Only dysfunctions that are socially disvalued are disorders Wakefield 1992 Is it possible to eliminate social values from a definition of abnormal behavior The Role of Culture Zeitgeist spirit of the times Drapetomania out Homosexuality out Pathological gambling in Cultural influences on prevalence Culture is NOT static It will continue to influence the prevalence of a disorder Cultural Relativity Etic vs Emic Etic perspective outsider Emphasis on universals among human beings from a position outside the culture of interest Who decides what is abnormal Historically it has been Western social scientists imposing their standards of normality Now we are starting to acknowledge that this is an ethnocentric cultural bias that may not be the best representation of reality Cultural Relativity Etic vs Emic Emic perspective insider Examines behavior from within a culture using culture specific criteria Requires understanding cultural norms and cultural meaning of subtle behaviors Important Points about Mental Illness across Cultures Cultural factors influence all mental disorders at least to some degree No mental disorder is considered to be entirely a result of cultural or social factors Important Points about Mental Illness across Cultures Psychotic disorders e g schizophrenia are less influenced by cultural factors than are non psychotic disorders e g bulimia Particular symptoms manifestations of disorders are more likely to differ across cultures than are the existence of the disorders themselves Four Ds of Abnormality 27 Dysfunction Interferes with a person s ability to function in daily life Distress Causes emotional or physical pain Deviance Leads to judgments of abnormality Dangerousness Behaviors and feelings that are of potential harm Four Ds of Abnormality 28 NORMAL ABNORMAL Not dysfunctional Socially Constructe Not Distressingd Division Not Deviant Not Dangerous Dysfunctional Distressing Deviant Dangerous How often does Abnormal Behavior Occur more definitions Epidemiology Study of the frequency and distribution of disorders within a population Comorbidity Manifestation of more than one disorder at same time Incidence Incidence The number of new cases of a disorder that occur


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