Abnormal Behavior Essay

This essay has a total of 2007 words and 12 pages.

Abnormal Behavior


Lesson 8


Short Answer


1. Define abnormal behavior. Use your own words and avoid psychological jargon when possible.


Abnormal behaviors are one of the fields of abnormal psychology, the area of psychological
investigation concerned with understanding the nature of individual pathologies of mind,
mood, and behavior. There are 7 kinds of abnormal behaviors: distress or disability – an
individual experiences personal distress or disabled functioning, producing a risk of
physical or psychological deterioration or loss of freedom of action; maladaptiveness – an
individual acts in ways that hinder goals, do not contribute to personal well-being, or
interfere strongly with the goals of others and the needs of society; irrationality – an
individual acts or talks in ways that are irrational or incomprehensible to others;
unpredictability – an individual behaves unpredictably or erratically from situation to
situation, as if experiencing a loss of control; unconventionality and statistical rarity
– an individual behaves in ways that are statistically rare and that violate social
standards of what is acceptable or desirable; observer discomfort – an individual creates
discomfort in others by making them feel threatened or distressed in some way; violation
of moral and ideal standards – an individual violates expectations for how one ought to
behave with respect to societal norms.



2. Compare and contrast narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder.


Narcissistic personality disorder has a grandiose sense of self-importance, a
preoccupation with fantasies of success or power, and a need for constant admiration,
while the antisocial personality disorder is marked by a long-standing pattern or
irresponsible or unlawful behavior that violates social norms. In other words,
narcissistic personality disorder makes a person feels that the society, or even the
Earth, cannot survive without him/her, and thus the person has some behaviors showing off
his/her success or power; but the antisocial personality disorder makes the person behave
opposite from what the society behaves; unlawful lying, stealing, and fighting will occur
without shame.



3. Compare and contrast phobic disorders and generalized anxiety disorders.


Phobic disorders are a persistent and irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or
situation that is excessive and unreasonable, given the reality of the threat, while
generalized anxiety disorder is an anxiety disorder in which an individual feels anxious
and worried most of the time for at least six months when not threatened by any specific
danger or object. The difference between them is that the patient feels fearful when the
object, activity or situation remains present in the phobic disorders, while the patient
feels fearful even when those factors are absent.



4. Describe three of the five diagnostic axes in the DSM-IV.


The DSM-IV consists of five diagnostic axes, and three of them are general medical
conditions, psychosocial and environmental problems, and global assessment of functioning.
General medical condition is the axis to code physical problems relevant to understanding
or treating an individual’s psychological disorders on the axes of clinical disorder,
personality disorders and mental retardation. Psychosocial and environmental problem is
the axis to code psychosocial and environmental stressors that may affect the diagnosis
and treatment of an individual’s disorder and the likelihood of recovery. The global
assessment of functioning is the axis to code the individual’s overall level of current
functioning in the psychological, social, and occupational domains.



5. Describe three major syndromes of unipolar depression. Provide your own examples of each.


Unipolar depression is a mood disorder in which a person, for no apparent reason,
experiences two or more weeks of depressed moods, feelings of worthlessness, and
diminished interest or pleasure in most activities. For example, depressed moods lets the
person feels very sad with no reason; feelings of worthlessness makes the person feels
that he/she is useless in the world, then he/she may commit suicide; the diminished
interest or pleasure in most activities leads to a situation that the person will do
nothing, including going to work, going to school, or even biologically- essential eating.



6. What are two sources of evidence that genetic factors are important in mood disorders?


A schizophrenia researcher, Irving Gottesman, pooled some data from about reliable studies
conducted in Western Europe between 1920 and 1987. His result showed that the degree of
genetic relatedness is highly correlated with the degree of risk – the risk of general
population getting schizophrenia is about 1%; the children of two parents with
schizophrenia has a risk of 46% getting a schizophrenia, which is comparatively much
higher than that of a “normal” family. That is, the genetic factors play a main role in
determining whether a child will have schizophrenia. Another aspect is the brain’s
function; individuals who actually had schizophrenia showed lower activity in the frontal
lobes of the brain. Even more, the biological markers of schizophrenia is a measurable
indicator of a disease that may or may not be causal – a biological marker may be
correlated with a disease, although it does not bring the disease about. These biological
features are genetically related, and therefore schizophrenia is again genetically
related.



7. Describe the disturbances in thought and emotion that occur in schizophrenia.


Schizophrenia is a severe form of psychopathology characterized by the breakdown of
integrated personality functioning, withdrawal from reality, emotional distortions, and
disturbed thought process. In thinking, it becomes illogical; associations among ideas are
remote or without apparent pattern. Hallucinations often occur, involving imagined sensory
perceptions that patients assume to be real. Delusions are also common, giving false or
irrational beliefs maintained in spite of clear contrary evidence. In emotion, the patient
may be flat with no visible expression, or they may be inappropriate to the situation.



8. What are two abnormalities in brain function associated with schizophrenia?


The first abnormalities in brain function is that the ventricles, the brain structures
through which cerebrospinal fluid flows, are enlarged in up to 50% of individuals with
schizophrenia. Those individuals who suffer from childhood-onset schizophrenia show
progressive increases in the size of the ventricles over their adolescent years. Another
abnormality is that imaging techniques have revealed that individuals with schizophrenia
may have patterns of brain activity different from those of normal controls. Only those
individuals who actually had schizophrenia showed low activity in the frontal lobes of the
brain.



9. Explain what is involved in the medical model. Include the model’s
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