Abnormality

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toricazaly
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221922
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Abnormality
Updated:
2013-06-01 15:58:41
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Psychology
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  1. Describe the deviation from social norms
    definition of abnormality.
    • Every society develops its own set of standards of acceptable behaviour (social norms).
    • People who violate these rules are seen as abnormal
    • i.e. people with schizophrenia might show inappropriate emotions such as laughing at a funerals.
  2. Evaluate the deviation from social norms
    definition of abnormality.
    • Social norms change over time: homosexuality was considered as abnormal until 1967, it is now seen as normal.
    • Each culture defines its own set of social norms so what is seen as normal in one culture could be seen as abnormal in another society
    • This definition can be used as a form of social control i.e. in the former Soviet Union political dissidents were often diagnosed as insane and placed in mental hospitals.
  3. Describe the failure to function adequately
    definition of abnormality.
    • People with mental disorders often show the inability to cope with everyday life and experience the normal range of emotions and behaviours.
    • According to this definition individuals need treatment only if they are unable to carry out normal activities.
  4. Evaluate the failure to function adequately
    definition of abnormality.
    • People might not be able to cope with everyday life temporarily after a bereavement or because of increased stress (i.e. when preparing an important exam) however this is not seen as psychological abnormality.
    • Psychopaths like Shipman were able to function adequately yet their behaviour (killing a number of people) was not normal.
    • It does not define abnormality it simply measure the extent of the dysfunction.
  5. Describe the deviation from ideal mental health
    definition of abnormality.
    • It defines mental health by identifying six criteria which have to be met (Jahoda). Deviation from these criteria would be defined as abnormal.
    • Positive self-image: high self-esteem
    • Self-actualisation: reaching goals, developing to the most of your ability
    • Resistance to stress
    • Personal autonomy: ability to make own decisions
    • Accurate perception of reality: leaving in the “real world”
    • Adapting to the environment:competent in all areas of life and being flexible.
  6. Evaluate the deviation from ideal mental health
    definition of abnormality.
    • Very few people are able to meet all the criteria all of the time. This means that the majority of people are abnormal; this makes this definition of little use.
    • Autonomy is valued in Western societies but not in collectivist societies.
  7. What are the three psychological approaches to
    abnormality
    • Behavioural approach
    • Psychodynamic approach
    • Cognitive approach
  8. Describe the biological approach explanation of
    abnormality.
    • Abnormality is caused byphysical processes:    
    • Brain damage: e.g. Alzheimer’s disease is caused by degeneration of neurones.
    • Chemical imbalances: low level of serotonin (neurotransmitter) is associated with depression
    • Infection: Clive Wearing suffered from viral encephalitis which damaged his hippocampus as a result he could not form new memories.
    • Genes: could code for abnormality in the structure and functioning of the brain i.e. schizophrenia shows a genetic pattern of inheritance.
  9. Evaluate the biological approach explanation of
    abnormality.
    • Uses scientific techniques to find evidence such as objective measurements like brain scans and blood tests so evidence is valid.
    • Schizophrenia shows a genetic pattern of inheritance but environmental factors are also involved as the concordance rate in MZ twins is only 46% (should be 100% if it was only
    • genetic).
    • The changes observed in schizophrenics (enlarged ventricles) could be the effect rather than the cause of the disorder as the brain is a plastic organ which changes depending on the way we use it.
    • It does not take into account the early childhood experience which according to the psychodynamic approach could cause unconscious conflicts between the Id, the ego and superego which could cause abnormal behaviour in later life.
    • The therapies proposed by the approach (drugs and ECT) are effective but they are not a cure, they only control the symptoms.
    • It does not blame the patient but it disempowers them as they take a passive role in the treatment i.e. just take the medication prescribed by the professionals.
  10. Biological approach therapies:
    ECT
    • Electro-convulsive therapy: Patient is given an anaesthetic and muscle relaxant.
    • Electrodes are attached to the temple
    • A voltage of 70 – 130 volts is passed through the brain for half a second
    • This produces a convulsion for 1 minute
    • Patient awakes and remembers nothing 2 – 3 sessions a week for 3 – 4 weeks
  11. Evaluate ECT
    • Johnson stated that 11,000 procedures were carried out in the UK in 1999.
    • Can be useful in suppressing depressive symptoms for up to one year. It is not known how it works.
    • Can cause temporary memory loss and emotional side effects such as withdrawal and flatness.
    • Does not deal with the problem and symptoms return usually after one year.
    • Can cause death (4 in 100000)
    • Patients cannot give informed consent as they are in a distressed and confused state, given only when all other treatments have failed.
  12. Biological approach therapy:
    Drugs
    • Antidepressants: i.e. Prozac, act by stopping the reuptake of the serotonin in the synaptic gap.
    • Antipsychotic drugs: block the dopamine receptors (dopamine is a neurotransmitter which is raised in schizophrenia).
  13. Evaluate the use of drugs in mental disorders
    • Can be very effective and allow people to lead a normal life but they do not cure the disorder they only control the symptoms so when the drugs are stopped the symptoms reappear.
    • They do not work for all patients, antipsychotic drugs work only for 50-60% of schizophrenic patients.
    • They can have serious side-effects i.e. antidepressants can be very addictive.
    • They target the biological changes but do not change life circumstances, cognitive biases and daily stressors which might trigger mental disorders such as depression.
  14. Describe the behavioural approach explanation of abnormality.
    • Abnormal behaviour like any other behaviour is learned from the environment. Behaviour can be learned in 3 ways:
    • Classical conditioning: learning by association i.e. phobia UCS: bite UCR: fear NS: dog, pairing dog and bite, dog becomes the CS, CR: fear (phobia: the dog elicits the fear response).
    • Operant conditioning: learning by consequences i.e. depression. A person displays depressed behaviour others shows sympathy (positive reinforcement) and are likely to let them off their normal duties (negative reinforcement) so the behaviour will be repeated as it has been reinforced.
    • Social learning: learning by imitation i.e. anorexia. Young girls see very thin models being praised and getting attention and money (reinforcements)  they try to get as thin as these models to get the same reinforcements.
  15. Evaluate the behavioural approach explanation of abnormality.
    • offers satisfactory explanations for some disorders (phobias and eating disorders.) However many people have phobias of objects they have never met (i.e. snakes) these cannot be explained by classical conditioning - due to evolution?
    • It does not explain the biological factors such as enlarged ventricles in schizophrenics but they could be the effect rather than the cause of the disorder
    • It does not take into account the early childhood experience which according to the psychodynamic approach could cause unconscious conflicts between the Id, the ego and superego which could cause abnormal behaviour in later life.
    • Treatments based on the behavioural approach such as systematic desensitisation can be very effective for disorders such as phobias.
    • It does not take into account cognitive factors such as cognitive biases i.e. even when severely underweighted, anorexic see themselves as overweight.
  16. Describe a behavioural therapy
    • Systematic desensitisation:
    • The aim is to replace the fear response by a relaxation response (we cannot feel fearful and relaxed at the same time - reciprocal inhibition)
    • The client learns relaxation techniques. The client works out a hierarchy of fear from the least frightening to the most frightening i.e. fur, paws, teeth, dog.
    • The client works through the hierarchy learning to use relaxation techniques in the presence of the feared object.
  17. Evaluate systematic desensitisation
    • It can be very effective in the treatment of some phobias (60-90% for spider phobias) but it does not seem so effective with social phobias or phobias of objects or situations which relate to evolution.
    • Once the phobia is improved it may be replace by another phobia or another form of anxiety disorder which suggests that phobias might have a deeper psychological cause.
    • It is an expensive treatment as it is carried out by a qualified clinical psychologist so it is not accessible to everybody.
    • It requires 6-8 sessions for moderate phobias, more for strong phobias so it requires commitment from the patient.
    • It does not address psychological factors for example the psychodynamic approach argues that phobias are due to an unconscious conflict and the phobic object is a symbol of the real object of fear.
  18. Describe the psychodynamic approach explanation of abnormality.
    • Abnormality is due to unconscious, unresolved conflicts from childhood.
    • Experiences during the stages that lead to fixation and a failure to successfully reach the genital stage.
    • If ego is unable to keep ID and Superego balanced.
    • If defence mechanism (e.g. repression/ denial) are overused when this happens anxiety seep through to the conscious mind and creates mental disorders such as phobias.
    • For example schizophrenia is explained as a regression to the oral stage when the ego (which operates on the reality principle) is developing and the Id is dominant. The weak ego explains the lack of grasp of reality in schizophrenics.
    • Anorexia is explained by repressing fear of sexual activities, by not eating the girls aim at retaining their child physic thus avoiding sexualisation
  19. Evaluate the psychodynamic approach explanation of abnormality.
    • This theory is almost impossible to test scientifically and only supported by case studies - does not represent the wider population therefore the results cannot be generalised.
    • They are not replicable so the results are not reliable. They are high in ecological validity the patients were real people in a real therapeutic situations.
    • The interpretation of the data was done by Freud so it might have been biased.
    • This theory was the first theory which took into account the childhood experiences as a possible cause of mental disorders.
  20. What is the therapy proposed by the psychodynamic approach?
    • Psychoanalysis: its aim is to bring the unconscious conflicts to the conscious mind where they can be dealt with.
    • It uses two main strategies
    • Free association: Client is asked to talk about anything that comes to mind and the therapist writes this down and then later analysis the content to reveal repressed desires. The client is made aware of this to then overcome them.
    • Dream analysis: Client is asked to talk about dreams (manifest content) the therapist then  interprets the hidden meaning (latent content) and makes client aware of this so they can overcome repressed issues
  21. Evaluate psychoanalysis
    • Uses retrospective data (from childhood), this can be inaccurate because people might have forgotten and it can be distorted by schemas.
    • It may take a long time; sometimes years so is not appropriate in cases when urgent intervention is required (i.e. suicidal patients).
    • It is very expensive and rarely available in its original form on the NHS, this limits access.
    • People with mental disorders such as schizophrenia might not have the necessary insight to take part in the treatment.
    • Can be very unethical to bring up repressed memories as they can be painful.
  22. Describe the cognitive approach explanation of
    abnormality.
    • Abnormality is due to irrational and negative thoughts - assumes thoughts direct our emotions and behaviour.
    • Ellis: Irrational thinking (magnifying failures, minimising successes, over generalising)
    • Ellis’s ABC model: Activating events (A) have consequences (C) which are affected by beliefs (B). (It is not the event which create the problem, it is the way you think about it)
    • Beck: Cognitive Triad-depression can be caused by negative thinking about the world, the future and the self.
  23. Evaluate the cognitive approach explanation of
    abnormality.
    • The approach does not explain why the irrational thinking occurs in the first place.
    • The “faulty thinking” could be the effect rather than the cause of the mental disorders.
    • It does not explain the biological factors - chemical imbalances
    • It suggests that it is the patient who is at fault
    • The therapy aims at changing the thinking (i.e. the symptoms) but does not address the underlying causes.
  24. What is the therapy proposed by the cognitive
    approach?
    • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT):
    • Stress Inoculation Therapy (SIT)
  25. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT):
    • Assumes thoughts interact with and influence emotions and behaviour.
    • The aim is to identify and change irrational and/or negative ways of thinking.
    • It includes a cognitive stage, where the therapist helps the patient to identity their negative/irrational thoughts and a behavioural stage, where the patient carries out practical task to challenge their old ways of thinking.
  26. Stress Inoculation Therapy (SIT)
    • The therapist would help the patient to identify her what is making them feel stressed and why.
    • They would then be taught ways of dealing with stress, such as relaxation and breathing techniques.
    • In the final stage the patient would be given homework to reinforce the new ways of thinking.
    • From this they would learn new positive ways of coping with and reducing stress.
  27. Evaluate Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
    • It is an effective treatment for depression and some anxiety disorders - evidence has shown effects of CBT can be longer lasting than those of antidepressant drugs.
    • The improvement might be too slow in cases when urgent intervention is required (i.e. suicidal patients).
    • People with mental disorders such as schizophrenia might not have the necessary insight to take part in the therapy.
    • Less time consuming - generally limited to a number of sessions over a few weeks

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