psych 170 essay questions

Describe and critique two of the following models of psychological abnormality: the biological model, the psychodynamic model, the behavioral model, the cognitive model, the humanistic-existential model, or the sociocultural model. What is meant by an interdisciplinary approach to abnormal behavior? Why might it be preferred? pick two, describe both, critique both, answer questions
Biological model- represents psychological illnesses as organ (i.e. brain) malfunction, stemming the study of neuroscience. Sources of biological abnormalities are genetics and viral infections.
Possible treatments include: psychotropic drugs, ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) and neurosurgery. Strengths: high reliability and validity, commonly brought relief to patients when other practices have failed.
Weaknesses: drug therapy often has undesired and dangerous results. Also, drugs have an addictive characteristic, and sometimes after coming off the drug the symptoms which it relieved come back strong as ever.
Cognitive model
behavior is caused by assumptions and attitudes which shape cognition. Abnormal behavior is caused by illogical & maladaptive thinking strategies.
Treatment: cognitive therapy- help clients recognize negative thoughts, biased interpretations or errors in their logic. Strengths: focuses on human thought and reasoning.
weaknesses: the exact cause of abnormal behavior is difficult to determine and cognitive therapies while may be beneficial to some people, fail to help everyone. Interdisciplinary is the integration of multiple factors or models that include biological, psychological, and sociocultural influences for explaining behavior.
It is preferred because it offers a more complete explanation for human functioning and behavior.
State the modern definition of mental disorder. Critique at least three aspects of the definition (you can be positive or negative, e.g.: is it sufficient? inclusive? well-done? overbroad? labeling? stigmatizing?)
Mental disorder- a clinically significant behavior/psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual and is associated with: 1. present distress, 2. disability, 3. increased risk of suffering death, pain, disability or self restriction of freedom. It is also less labeling because it does not include eccentric behavior if it isn’t dangerous to self or others, thus not classifying such characteristics as homosexuality or religious/cultural behavior as a disorder. This is a more refined definition than abnormality, because it points out that the effect of the abnormality must be negative, disabling and distressing.
Define conversion disorder (formerly known as hysterical neurosis). How did Freud use the example of hysterical neurosis as a proof that physical disorders could have a mental origin?
Define adjustment disorder and give two examples of typical adjustment problems
a reaction to a major stressor with anxiety, depression, antisocial behavior which impair social/occupational functioning within 3 months of introduction of an identifiable stressor. Reflects maladaptivity to stressors. Rules of adjustment disorder: does not meet criteria of other disorders, isn’t just grief.
Examples: 1. Prolonged dilapidating depression after a breakup/divorce.
Describe the prevalence of mental disorder in the USA, using the results of the NCS. What are the most common mental disorders? Describe at least two important findings from these studies. Describe gender differences in the disorders studied. What prevalence rates and aspects of these studies might be inaccurate? Why?
Any NCS disorder: last 12 mo: 29.5% over lifetime: 48% Most prevalent: Anxiety disorder: last 12 mo: 17.2% over lifetime: 24.9% Gender differences: Women are most likely to acquire a psychological disorder such as depression or anxiety. Men are most likely to fall into substance abuse and criminal behavior.
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Important findings:
1. The group which has lifetime comorbidity (14%) accounts for 89% of the most severe disorders (having severe role (a.k.a. identity) impairment and requiring hospitalization.) 2. Found evidence for kessler’s “pile-up” effect. This data may be inaccurate because it is self-reported data and has biases. Also, subjects who were unable to understand or answer the interview questions that clearly still had a disorder was not used in the data.
Describe four principal aspects of a good clinical diagnostic interview. What is the purpose of a mental status examination (MSE)? Describe five categories of a MSE.
Good Clinical Interview: 1) observation- how do they act? agitated? can’t sit still? Appearance- clothing behavior- verbal/ non-verval 2) conversation- discussing with person what is going on (patient needs insight) orientation consciousness memory 3) exploration- knowing which area the disorder will be in 4) testing- symptom reviews, IQ testing, comparison and confirmation main purpose of testing is because it provides confirmatory evidence Mental Status Exam (MSE): most common clinical exam
appearance- clean vs. dirty
behavior- (both verbal and nonverbal behavior) sitting still? maintain speech?b g ahaaa
interaction- eye contact? listening? responding?
mood + affect- emotional expressions/ overall mood
perceptions- are they perceiving you are a threat? are they seeing something that is not actually there?
intelligence- (NOT IQ TEST) : rated as low, medium, high or extremely high
judgment: reason why x happened
thought content: what are they thinking about
thought process: what do they think of the problem?
7. Describe the medications for anxiety and describe their mechanisms of action. What are their therapeutic effects? What side effects and unintended reactions may occur (give three examples)?
Benzodiazepines and antidepressants are used for anxiety. Benzodiazepines bind to GABA-A receptors which increases the ability of GABA to bind to the receptors. The effects of benzodiazepines are calming; they improve GABA’s ability to stop neuron firing and thus reduce anxiety. Some side effects include drowsiness, lack of coordination, memory loss, depression, and aggressive behavior. People who have taken the medication in large doses for a long amount of time can become physically dependent on it. Benzodiazepines mix badly with other drugs and substances. Certain antidepressants can reduce symptoms of anxiety by increasing serotonin activity and/or restore proper activity of norepinephrine
Define anxiety. Describe (at least two examples each) the motor tension, autonomic hyperactivity, vigilance and cognitive appraisal in anxiety symptoms. Define panic, agoraphobia, specific phobia, and generalized anxiety.
Anxiety – psychological experience of fear: apprehension, tension, fear itself, sense of danger, hypervigilance, uneasiness stems from the anticipation of danger source may be external or internal Anxiety symptoms
(examples): motor tension: muscles tension, restlessness, and fatigue autonomic hyperactivity: pupils are dilated, change of heart rate, face blanks vigilance: alertness, not thinking about long-term memory cognitive appraisal: appraising the situation as dangerous, sense of doom panic: an extreme alarm reaction that can result when a real threat suddenly emerges (from lecture notes) Occur in the absence of a real threat are periodic, short bouts of panic that occur suddenly, reach a peak, and pass People fear they are about to go crazy, lose control, or die, that something terrible is about to happen. They sweat, breathe rapidly, have a distinct increase in heart rate. They often seek safety, hide, stop what they are doing, etc. Anyone can have a panic attack, but those with a disorder:have panic attacks repeatedly, unexpectedly, and without apparent reason also involves the experience of dysfunctional changes in thinking and behavior as a result of the attacks, including: persistent worries about having an attack; planning behavior around possibility of future attack
Agoraphobia (from lecture notes):
panic is often accompanied by agoraphobia fear of leaving home, fear of being in occasions from which escape might be difficult or help unavailable, fear of unfamiliar or regularly-visited places, crowds, situations feared places often linked to panic
Specific Phobia (from lecture notes):
marked and persistent fear that is excessive or unreasonable, cued by the presence or anticipation of a specific object or situation (e.g. flying, heights, animals, seeing blood) exposure to the phobic stimulus almost invariably provokes an immediate anxiety response the fear is excessive or unreasonable; the anxiety &/or distress interfere significantly with the person’s functioning the phobic situation is avoided or else endured with intense anxiety or distress
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (from lecture notes):
excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation) the person finds it difficult to control worry the anxiety and worry are associated with three or more sx: the anxiety, worry, or physical symptoms cause significant distress or functional impairment
Describe the symptoms of panic and agoraphobia. Why do they often go together? Describe a therapy that would be appropriate for a person with panic. Describe a therapy that would be appropriate for a person with agoraphobia.(pp. 135-140)
Having panic attacks repeatedly and unexpectedly and without apparent reason refers to a panic disorder. People with panic disorder may persistently worry about having additional attacks, have concerns about what such attacks mean, or plan their lives around the possibility of future attacks. People with agoraphobia are afraid to leave the house and go to a public places or other location where escape might be difficult or where the help is unavailable when the symptoms occur. Panic disorder and agoraphobia often goes together because some panic-like symptoms typically set the stage for a agoraphobia. People who experienced panic attack are afraid to be in a public space or other unfamiliar location where the help is not secured. For a person with agoraphobia, the antidepressant drugs may be given to restore the proper activity of norepinephrine in the parts of the panic brain circuit to be able to help prevent or reduce panic symptoms. OR cognitive treatment can be applied to correct the misinterpretations the person with agoraphobia has and to teach them to cope better with anxiety.
Define specific phobia, and give four examples. Describe two different treatments for Specific Phobia:
marked and persistent fear that is excessive or unreasonable, cued by the presence or anticpation of a specific object or situation. Exposure to stimulus provokes anxiety response 4 Examples: 1-fear of spiders 2-fear of heights 3-fear of reptiles 4-fear of animals Treatment: exposure treatments: people are exposed to the objects or situations they dread systematic desensitization: uses relaxation training to learn to relax when facing the objects or situations they fear, relaxation response replaces fear response
Describe social phobia (at least four primary symptoms). Describe its origins as explained by theory. Describe at least two common treatments. Why does social phobia often go untreated?
Social Phobia: 1-marked and persistent fear of social or performance situations involving exposure to unfamiliar people or possible scrutiny by others lasting at least six months. 2-anxiety usually produced by exposure to social situation. 3-recognition that fear is excessive or unreasonable 4-avoidance of feared situations Origins- Behavioral: classical conditioning, modeling, stimulus generalization Treatments: 1-Social skills training (a combo of several behavioral techniques to help people improve social functioning). 2- Shyness clinics (groups of extremely shy people meet in groups to practice being in social situations). Social phobias often go untreated because they are too “shy” to even seek help.
12. Describe the mechanism of action for anti-anxiety medications. Describe the medications for anxiety and describe their mechanisms of action. What are their therapeutic effects? What side effects and unintended reactions may occur (give three examples)?
13. Describe the principal symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Describe associated symptoms and difficulties of people with PTSD. Describe characteristic features of the PTSD responses of people in two of the following: combat, terrorism, rape, victimization.
definition: an anxiety disorder in which fear and related symptoms continue to be experienced long after a traumatic event. symptoms: fear and anxiety, tension, depression, irritability, sometimes insomnia. combat trauma: jumpy when they hear loud noises, night terrors, wake up in a sweat thinking they are back in combat, negative affect.
14. Describe the DSM checklist symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)(be sure to define obsessions and compulsions). Describe a biological explanation for OCD, and a biological therapy. Describe the cognitive explanation for OCD, and a cognitive-behavioral therapy.
DSM definition: recurrent obsessions and compulsions, recognized by the person as excessive or unreasonable (might be taken out because not always true), sufficiently severe to cause marker distress, to be time consuming or significantly interfere with the person’s normal routine occupational functioning or usual social activities. Obsession: persistent thoughts, ideas, impulses, or images that seem to invade a person’s consciousness. Compulsions: repeated and rigid behaviors or mental acts that people feel they must perform in order to prevent or reduce anxiety.
-Biological explanation: abnormally low activity of the neurotransmitter serotonin and abnormal functioning in the key regions of the brain,
– therapies: antidepressant drugs;
-cognitive explanation: people blame themselves for thoughts that seem abnormal and try to neutralize these thoughts by thinking or behaving in ways meant to put matters right or make amends

(pp. 140-148)
– DSM checklist for OCD
– Definitions of obsessions and compulsions
– biological explanation for OCD
– biological therapy for OCD
– cognitive explanation for OCD
– cognitive-behavioral therapy for OCD

15. Summarize the definitions of the conversion disorders, somatization disorders, and pain disorder associated with psychological factors. Give examples of at least two somatoform symptoms for each. What do they
Conversion disorders: a somatoform disorder in which a psychosocial need or conflict is converted into dramatic physical symptoms that affect voluntary motor or sensory function.
neurological (paralysis, blindness or loss of feeling)
significant distress or impairment
Somatization disorders: a somatoform disorder marked by numerous recurring physical ailments without an organic basis. Also known as Briquet’s syndrome.
physical complaints not fully explained by a known general condition
physical complaints about 4 different kinds of pain symptoms, 2 gastrointestinal symptoms, 1sexual symptom, & 1 neurological-type syptom.
Pain disorder associated with psychological factors: a somatoform disorder marked by pain, with psychosocial factors playing a central role in the onset, severity, or continuation of the pain.
significant pain as the primary problem
significant distress or impairment
Similar: Symptom or deceit not intentionally produced or feigned and they arise because individuals generally believe their illness is organic.

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