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