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Psychological Disorders

We will look at a film excerpt from Bellevue: Inside Out

Consider the following two questions about these three people:

What did you see/hear which was "abnormal"?

How did the people at the hospital treat them?

Abnormal Behavior: Is It A Disease?

"The Medical Model"

What other models are there?

Demonic Possession

Deficient Problem Solving

Thomas Szasz, MD (left)

Abnormal Behavior: What Does "Abnormal" Mean?

Psychology uses the word "abnormal" in  3 different ways:

1. Deviance (Unusual; Contrary to norms of society)

2. Maladaptive Behavior

3. Personal Distress

Psychodiagnosis: Classifying Disorders


1952 Publication of the first DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) by the American Psychiatric Association. The DSM provides a description of each type of mental disorder (symptoms, prognosis, associated features, etc.)


 Five Diagnosic "Axes" in the DSM (from DSM-III to today)

What do psychiatrists write down when they give a diagnosis?

I. Clinical Syndromes

II. Personality Disorders or Mental Retardation

III. Medical Conditions

IV. Psychosocial & Environmental Problems

V. Global Assessment of Function (GAF) Scale

Anxiety Disorders

Central Issue in Anxiety Disorders => Fear - Apprehension - Anxiety


Generalized Anxiety Disorder 

 Phobic Disorder

The Phobia List

 Panic Disorder & Agoraphobia  Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Some Common Phobias

Animals = Zoophobia
Closed spaces = Claustrophobia
Crossing bridges = Gephyrophobia
Death or dying = Thantaophobia
Heights = Acrophobia
Snakes = Ophidiophobia
Spiders = Arachnophobia
Storms = Brontophobia

Number 13 = Triskaidecaphobia


Etiology (= Causes): Where do Anxiety Disorders come from?

1. Biological

2. Conditioning & Learning (Experiences in living)

3. Cognitive Factors

4. Personality: Neuroticism

5. Stress

This page was originally posted on 11/17/03 and last updated on 11/26/06