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Psychological Disorders

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A harmful dysfunction in which behaviour is judged to be atypical,

disturbing, maladaptive and unjustifiable.

Psychological Fields
Many fields in psychology relate to psychological disorders:

Abnormal Psychology

Health Psychology

Clinical Psychology

Counselling Psychology

Abnormal Psychology

Abnormal psychologyis a field of psychology that

deals with psychopathology and abnormal
behaviour. Clinical psychologists,
psychotherapists, and counsellors typically work in
this field. Mental health professionals help assess,
diagnose and treat a wide variety of mental
disorders including anxiety and depression.

Generally considered that abnormal psychology is

the umbrella term to deal with all psychological

Health Psychology

The central strategy practiced within health

psychology is the bio-psycho-social design. The
British Health Society explains that health and
disease are the effects of a blending of biological,
psychological and social factors. Biological
determinants consist of genetic conditions and
inherited personality traits. Psychological factors
are anxiety levels, personality features and
lifestyle. Social determinants consist of cultural
views, family relationships and support systems.

Causes of Disorders

Clinical Psychology

Clinical psychology is concerned with the

assessment, diagnosis, treatment and prevention
of mental disorders. While all clinical
psychologists are interested in mental health,
there are actually a wide variety of sub-specialties
within this field. Some of these specialty areas
include child mental health, adult mental health,
learning disabilities, health psychology etc.

Counselling Psychology

This field is one of the largest individual areas

within psychology. It is centred on treating clients
experiencing mental distress and a wide variety of
psychological symptoms. The Society of
Counselling Psychology describes the field as an
area that can improve interpersonal functioning
throughout life by improving social, and emotional
health as well as addressing concerns about
health, work, family, marriage, and more.

What are we studying?

Abnormal Behaviour


Mental Disorder

Mental Illness

Deviant Behaviour

The Disclaimer

Please do not start diagnosing yourself, your

family, friends, boyfriends/girlfriends,
neighbours, classmates, teachers or anyone else
you can think of

It will only lead to conflict and trouble

Sensitivity, please

is important to remember, people

are not just their disorders!


are not schizophrenics,

alcoholics, autistics, phobics or
bipolars- but rather people with
schizophrenia, alcoholism, autism etc.

How are people with

psychological disorders
portrayed in the

Are all disorders

viewed the same?

Whos Normal?

neighbor has physical complaints and sees

several doctors weekly.

22 year old college student smokes 4-5 marijuana

joints per day, has a 3.8 GPA, has a part-time job
and a solid long term relationship.


a three year old girl, has been caught

several times urinating in the corner at day-care.

35 year old very happily married man enjoys

wearing womens clothes and underwear on the
weekends when he and his wife go out on the

Who decides whats


WE do!

What Is Abnormal Behaviour?

A psychological disorder is characterised as:

Socially unacceptable
Distressing/harmful to the person

who exhibits it or to the people

around them

How can we classify and

describe disorders?

The American Psychological Associations division

38 is health psychology and they focus on
understanding the relationship between health
and illness. This division concentrates on
examining the psychological determinants that
influence health, and they contribute information
to the health care policy system.


DSM-5 used in the USA.

TheInternational Statistical
Classification of Diseases and Related
Health Problems (ICD-10) used
internationally and will replace DSM in
the USA.

Statistical Manual
of Mental
Disorders: the big
book of disorders.

DSM will classify

disorders and
describe the

DSM will NOT

explain the causes
or possible cures.

Goals of the DSM and ICD

To provide a system for

diagnosing disorders
To improve the reliability of

To make diagnoses consistent

with research evidence and

clinical experiences.

Approaches and Disorders

Psychological Approach

Cause of the Disorder

Internal, unconscious drives


Failure to strive to ones potential or

being out of touch with ones feelings.


Reinforcement history, the



Irrational, dysfunctional thoughts or

ways of thinking.
Dysfunctional Society
Organic problems, biochemical
imbalances, genetic predispositions.