CH 15 Summary - Psychology 2e | OpenStaxName (2023)

15.1 What are mental disorders?

Mental disorders are conditions characterized by abnormal thoughts, feelings, and behavior. While challenging, it is important that psychologists and mental health professionals agree on what types of inner experiences and behaviors represent the presence of a mental disorder. Inner experiences and behaviors that are atypical or go against social norms may indicate the presence of a disorder; however, each of these criteria alone is not sufficient. Pernicious dysfunction describes the view that mental disorders result from the inability of an internal mechanism to perform its natural function. Many of the features of the conceptualization of harmful dysfunction have been incorporated into the APA's formal definition of mental disorders. According to this definition, the presence of a mental disorder is indicated by significant changes in thinking, feeling, and behavior; These disorders must reflect some type of dysfunction (biological, psychological, or developmental), must cause significant impairment in a person's life, and must not reflect culturally expected responses to specific life events.

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15.2 Diagnosis and classification of mental disorders

The diagnosis and classification of mental disorders are essential to the study and treatment of psychopathology. The classification system used by most American professionals is the DSM-5. The first edition of the DSM was published in 1952 and has been revised several times. The fifth and most recent edition, the DSM-5, was released in 2013. The diagnostic manual covers a total of 237 specific diagnosable diseases, each of which is described in detail, including its symptoms, prevalence, risk factors and comorbidities. Over time, the number of diagnosable conditions listed in the DSM has steadily increased, which has been criticized by some. However, the diagnostic criteria in the DSM are more explicit than in any other system, making the DSM system highly desirable for both clinical diagnosis and research.

15.3 Perspectives on mental disorders

Psychopathology is very complex and encompasses a variety of etiological theories and perspectives. Mental disorders have for centuries been viewed primarily from a supernatural perspective, believed to arise from divine powers or be possessed by spirits. Some cultures continue to hold this supernatural belief. Today, many who study psychopathology look at mental illness from a biological perspective, which assumes that mental disorders are largely the result of faulty biological processes. In fact, scientific advances over the past few decades have led to a better understanding of the genetic, neurological, hormonal, and biochemical basis of psychopathology. The psychological perspective, on the other hand, emphasizes the importance of psychological factors (e.g. stress and thoughts) and environmental factors in the development of mental disorders. A promising contemporary approach is to view disorders as caused by an integration of biological and psychosocial factors. The diathesis-stress model suggests that people with an underlying diathesis or vulnerability to a mental disorder are more likely than people without a diathesis to develop the disorder when confronted with stressful events.

15.4 Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are a group of disorders in which a person experiences excessive, persistent, and distressing anxiety and fear that interferes with normal functioning. Anxiety disorders include specific phobias: a specific unrealistic fear; social anxiety disorder: extreme anxiety and avoidance of social situations; Panic Disorder: Suddenly overwhelmed with panic when there is no obvious reason to be afraid; Agoraphobia: intense fear and avoidance of situations from which it may be difficult to escape; and generalized anxiety disorder: a relatively continuous state of tension, apprehension, and fear.

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15.5 Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Related Disorders

Obsessive-compulsive and related disorders are a group of DSM-5 disorders that have some overlap as each involves intrusive thoughts and/or repetitive behaviors. Perhaps the best-known of these disorders is obsessive-compulsive disorder, in which a person becomes obsessed with unwanted, unpleasant thoughts and/or compulsively engages in repetitive behaviors or mental acts, perhaps to help cope with the obsessions. Body dysmorphic disorder is characterized by a person's preoccupation with one or more perceived flaws in their physical appearance that are absent or imperceptible to others. Preoccupation with perceived physical flaws causes the person to feel significant anxiety about their appearance to others. Hoarding disorder is characterized by persistent difficulty disposing or disposing of items, regardless of their actual value, often resulting in an accumulation of items that clutter and clutter your living space.

15.6 Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has been described for much of the 20th century and has been termed war shock and battle neurosis, with its symptoms thought to result from the stress of active combat. Today, PTSD is defined as a disorder in which experiencing a deeply distressing or traumatic event, such as B. a fight, sexual assault or a natural disaster, creates a constellation of symptoms that must last a month or more. These symptoms include intrusive and distressing memories of the event, flashbacks, avoidance of stimuli or situations related to the event, persistent negative emotional states, feelings of detachment from others, irritability, propensity for outbursts, and a tendency to be easily startled. Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event develops PTSD; A variety of risk factors related to its development have been identified.

15.7 Mood and Related Disorders

Mood disorders are those in which the person experiences severe mood and emotional disturbances. They include depressive disorders and bipolar and related disorders. Depressive disorders include major depressive disorders characterized by episodes of deep sadness and loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities and other associated features, and persistent depressive disorders characterized by a chronic state of sadness.

(Video) Psychology 101 Chapter 15 (Psychological Disorders) Lecture

Bipolar disorder is characterized by moods ranging from sad to euphoric; A diagnosis of bipolar disorder requires experiencing at least one manic episode, defined as a period of extreme euphoria, irritability, and increased activity. During a manic episode, a person is likely to exhibit behaviors that are uncharacteristic of that person. They can become overly talkative, show flight of ideas, and make grandiose plans. They may overspend, charge their credit cards for things they can't afford, gamble, or engage in risky sexual behavior. About fifty percent of people who suffer from bipolar disorder do not receive treatment. Bipolar disorder is a definite risk factor for suicide, with about one-third of people with bipolar disorder attempting suicide.

When a person's pain and distress totally exceed their ability to cope, some people may consider suicide. People suffering from mental health problems and substance abuse have a much higher risk of suicide than the general public. Men are significantly more likely to die by suicide than women, and men use far more deadly means in their attempts. A person contemplating suicide needs help and should not have access to deadly means of suicide such as firearms. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, there are many resources to help. Three of them are listed below:

15.8 Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a serious disorder characterized by a complete breakdown in a person's ability to function in life; often requires hospitalization. People with schizophrenia experience hallucinations and delusions and have great difficulty regulating their emotions and behavior. Thinking is incoherent and disorganized, behavior is extremely bizarre, emotions are shallow, and motivation to participate in most of life's basic activities is lacking. Considerable evidence shows that genetic factors play a central role in schizophrenia; However, adoption studies have highlighted the additional importance of environmental factors. Brain and neurotransmitter abnormalities have also been linked, which may be related to environmental factors such as obstetric complications or exposure to influenza during pregnancy. A promising new area of ​​research in schizophrenia is to identify people with prodromal symptoms and follow them over time to determine what factors best predict the development of schizophrenia. Future research could allow us to identify those at particular risk of developing schizophrenia who might benefit from early intervention.

(Video) Video Lecture Chapter 3 Psychology 2e

15.9 Dissociative Disorders

The hallmark of dissociative disorders is that people dissociate from their sense of self, resulting in impaired memory and identity. The dissociative disorders listed in the DSM-5 include dissociative amnesia, depersonalization/derealization disorder, and dissociative identity disorder. A person with dissociative amnesia is unable to remember important personal information, usually after a stressful or traumatic experience.

Depersonalization/derealization disorder is characterized by recurrent episodes of depersonalization (ie, withdrawal from or unfamiliarity with oneself) and/or derealization (ie, withdrawal from or unfamiliarity with the world). A person with dissociative identity disorder has two or more clearly defined and distinct personalities, or identities, and lapses in memory for the time when another identity was present.

Dissociative identity disorder has caused controversy, primarily because some believe that patients may fake their symptoms if their portrayal will in any way benefit the patient in order to avoid negative consequences or take responsibility for their actions. Diagnosis rates for this disorder have increased dramatically following its portrayal in popular culture. However, many people legitimately suffer from this disorder throughout their lives.

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15.10 Childhood Disorders

Neurodevelopmental disorders are a group of disorders, usually diagnosed during childhood, characterized by developmental deficits in personal, social, academic, and intellectual areas; These disorders include Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder. ADHD is characterized by a pervasive pattern of inattention and/or hyperactive and impulsive behavior that interferes with normal functioning. Genetic and neurobiological factors contribute to the development of ADHD, which can persist into adulthood and is often associated with poor long-term outcomes. Key features of autism spectrum disorder include deficits in social interaction and communication, and repetitive movements or interests. As with ADHD, genetic factors appear to play an important role in the development of autism spectrum disorder; Exposure to environmental pollutants such as mercury has also been linked to the development of this disorder. Although some believe that autism is caused by the MMR vaccine, the evidence does not support this claim.

15.11 Personality Disorders

People with personality disorders exhibit a personality style that is inflexible, causes stress and harm, and creates problems for themselves and others. The DSM-5 recognizes 10 personality disorders, which are divided into three groups. Group A disorders include those characterized by a bizarre and eccentric personality style. Cluster B includes personality disorders characterized primarily by an impulsive, dramatic, highly emotional, and unpredictable personality style, and Cluster C is characterized by a nervous and anxious personality style. Two cluster B personality disorders, borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder, are particularly problematic. People with borderline personality disorder have marked instability in mood, behavior, and self-image, as well as impulsiveness. They cannot bear to be alone, are unpredictable, have a history of stormy relationships, and often display intense and inappropriate anger. Genetic factors and adverse childhood experiences (eg, sexual abuse) appear to be important in their development. People with an antisocial personality show a lack of respect for the rights of others; Are impulsive, devious, irresponsible and guilt-free. Genetic factors and socialization appear to be important in the development of antisocial personality disorder. Research has also shown that people with this disorder don't experience emotions in the same way as most people.


1. Chapter 15: Psychological Disorders
(Melissa Sutherland , Professor)
2. Ch 15 Psychological Disorders
(Psych Explained)
3. Video Lecture Chapter 14 Psychology 2e
(Richard Granstaff)
4. Openstax Psychology - Ch14 - Stress, Lifestyle, and Health
(Hatala Testing)
5. Openstax Psychology - Ch10 - Emotion and Motivation
(Hatala Testing)
6. Video Lecture Chapter 5 Psychology 2e
(Richard Granstaff)
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