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Abnormal Psychology Essay

Psychological disorders are a part of abnormal behavior that scientists have yet been able to completely comprehend nor understand. However, they have discovered that anxiety plays a key role in the onset, and continued existence, of these disorders. With continued study and research, scientists have been able to classify different disorders in separate, distinct categories which makes it easier to treat and hopefully understand what the underlying causes of these disorders truly are; eventually leading to a cure. The first major classification of these disorders is Anxiety Disorders which are “characterized by high levels of anxiety accompanied by patterns of ineffective, maladaptive behavior” (Smith 570). These disorders were once commonly referred to as neuroses, but that term is not used as frequently. These common disorders are classified into four different types, the first being Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Here the person “feels anxious and apprehensive, has a sense of impending disaster, and believes he is falling apart or losing control”(570). This disorder is sometimes difficult to diagnosis due to the fact that its symptoms closely resemble depression and other disorders. The second Anxiety Disorder is Panic Disorder which is “marked by the occurrence of panic attacks – sudden, severe states of anxiety so extreme that the individual is unable to function effectively for a time period that can range from minutes to hours”(571). People are diagnosed with this disorder when they have at least three of these attacks in a period of three weeks along with some of the physiological symptoms during the attack. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, the third disorder, is “characterized by persistent, uncontrollable thoughts and repetitive, unavoidable, ritualistic acts that accomplish no practical end”(571). The most common obsessions are ones that deal with dirt, germs, disasters, and death.

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The final disorder is Phobic disorders which are “irrational fears of some object or situation that is accompanied by avoidance behavior”(572). They are classified into two separate groups – simple phobias, the fear of one specific thing; or complex phobia, the fear of numerous things usually accompanied by another disorder. A separate classification of psychological disorders is the Somatoform Disorders which involve complaints and symptoms involving the patient’s physical condition but have no cause. For the most part, the symptoms that these patients experience are not under their conscious control. The first disorder, Somatization Disorder (also known as hysteria), shows the patient to have numerous amounts of physical complaints that are caused psychologically. The person usually experiences vomiting, menstrual problems, headaches.

The second disorder, Conversion Disorder, is characterized by the loss of a function that deals with either the sensory or motor system. Some of the symptoms include paralysis, numbness, deafness, or blindness all of which have no definite physiological cause. Hypochondriasis, probably the most well-known of all these disorders, is when “the patient has excessive concerns about her health and worries constantly that she has a major physical disease”(574). In many of these cases, the patient has already experienced a real illness and is looking for the attention and care that she had received before. The final Somatoform Disorder is the Pain Disorder, which is characterized by a long duration of pain that occurs when medical pathology is no longer provided. Even though the pain(sometimes called psychogenic pain) that the patient experiences has a psychological origin, the pain that the person feels is extremely real.

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A very serious psychological disorder is Schizophrenia, “a disorder in which the person displays reduced contact with reality, accompanied by thought disturbances that result in abnormal perceptual, motor, and social functioning”(578). The primary symptoms include 1.disturbances of thought and language-the subject uses clanging, neologisms, or word salads; 2.disturbances of perception-hallucinations; 3.disturbances in motor behavior; and 4. disturbances of affect-the blunting of your emotions. There are five different subtypes of schizophrenia which are each classified by distinct symptoms; they include Disorganized, Catatonic, Paranoid, Undifferentiated, and Residual. Scientists have come up with numerous explanations for schizophrenia which include biochemical, genetic, and psychological reasons. Some of the more popular theories include regression which causes the person to act like an infant due to intense anxiety.

Another theory, the double-blind hypothesis, states that when parents provide opposite messages through a series of conflicts which in turn causes the child to become schizophrenic. The social learning approach suggests people learn these behaviors by imitating the actions of others around them. A final theory on schizophrenia is that it is related to your social class; that poor children, with a poor educational background, are prone to grow up to be schizophrenic. If a patient came to me with delusions, disturbances of thought, motor control dysfunction, and three distinct personalities then I would diagnose that person as having Undifferentiated schizophrenia. Since the patient shows three out of the four major symptoms of schizophrenia, none of which all fit into one category the patient would have undifferentiated schizophrenia because that type is a mixture of all the symptoms. There are an extreme amount of psychological problems in the world today which scientists have yet to be able to explain. Hopefully, through more research and investigation many people will be able to live their lives as normal human beings.

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Abnormal Psychology Essay. (2021, Mar 19). Retrieved February 6, 2023, from