He took a psychological approach as opposed to the prominent biological approach that was the custom and introduced new forms of treatments that involved close contact with and careful observation of patients. Despite the progress made since the s in public attitudes about those who suffer from psychological disorders, people, including police, coworkers, and even friends and family members, still stigmatize people with psychological disorders. A stigma refers to a disgrace or defect that indicates that person belongs to a culturally devalued social group.
In some cases the stigma of mental illness is accompanied by the use of disrespectful and dehumanizing labels, including names such as crazy, nuts, mental, schizo, and retard. The stigma of mental disorder affects people while they are ill, while they are healing, and even after they have healed Schefer, On a community level, stigma can affect the kinds of services social service agencies give to people with mental illness, and the treatment provided to them and their families by schools, workplaces, places of worship, and health-care providers.
While media portrayal of mental illness is often sympathetic, negative stereotypes still remain in newspapers, magazines, film, and television. See the following video for an example. Television advertisements may perpetuate negative stereotypes about the mentally ill. The most significant problem of the stigmatization of those with psychological disorder is that it slows their recovery. People with mental problems internalize societal attitudes about mental illness, often becoming so embarrassed or ashamed that they conceal their difficulties and fail to seek treatment.
Despite all of these challenges, however, many people overcome psychological disorders and go on to lead productive lives. People do not choose to have a mental illness. Second, we must all work to help overcome the stigma associated with disorder. Psychologists have developed criteria that help them determine whether behaviour should be considered a psychological disorder and which of the many disorders particular behaviours indicate.
These criteria are laid out in a 1,page manual known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM , a document that provides a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders American Psychiatric Association, The DSM is used by therapists, researchers, drug companies, health insurance companies, and policymakers in Canada and the United States to determine what services are appropriately provided for treating patients with given symptoms.
The first edition of the DSM was published in on the basis of census data and psychiatric hospital statistics.
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Since then, the DSM has been revised five times. The DSM does not attempt to specify the exact symptoms that are required for a diagnosis. Rather, the DSM uses categories, and patients whose symptoms are similar to the description of the category are said to have that disorder. The DSM frequently uses qualifiers to indicate different levels of severity within a category.
For instance, the disorder of mental retardation can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe. Each revision of the DSM takes into consideration new knowledge as well as changes in cultural norms about disorder. Homosexuality, for example, was listed as a mental disorder in the DSM until , when it was removed in response to advocacy by politically active gay rights groups and changing social norms. The current version of the DSM lists about disorders. Two common critiques of the DSM are that the categorization system leaves quite a bit of ambiguity in diagnosis and that it covers such a wide variety of behaviours.
Zack, aged seven years, has always had trouble settling down. He is easily bored and distracted. In school, he cannot stay in his seat for very long and he frequently does not follow instructions. He is constantly fidgeting or staring into space. Zack has poor social skills and may overreact when someone accidentally bumps into him or uses one of his toys. At home, he chatters constantly and rarely settles down to do a quiet activity, such as reading a book.
Biological Explanations of Anxiety: Part IV - Anxiety Disorders
But what do the symptoms mean? Does Zack simply have a lot of energy and a short attention span? Boys mature more slowly than girls at this age, and perhaps Zack will catch up in the next few years. One possibility is for the parents and teachers to work with Zack to help him be more attentive, to put up with the behaviour, and to wait it out.
ADHD is a developmental behaviour disorder characterized by problems with focus, difficulty maintaining attention, and inability to concentrate, in which symptoms start before seven years of age Canadian Mental Health Association, In adults the symptoms of ADHD include forgetfulness, difficulty paying attention to details, procrastination, disorganized work habits, and not listening to others. ADHD is also being diagnosed much more frequently in adolescents and adults Barkley, You might wonder what this all means.
Perhaps drug companies are also involved, because ADHD is often treated with prescription medications, including stimulants such as Ritalin. Although skeptics argue that ADHD is overdiagnosed and is a handy excuse for behavioural problems, most psychologists believe that ADHD is a real disorder that is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Jared is able to maintain eye contact and enjoys mixing with other children, but he cannot communicate with them very well.
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Here he was tested by a pediatric neurologist, a psychologist, and a child psychiatrist. He diagnosed Jared with a pervasive developmental disorder , because while his comprehension and expressive language was poor, he was still able to carry out nonverbal tasks, such as drawing a picture or doing a puzzle. The psychologist believed that the autism diagnosis was correct because, like other children with autism, Jared, has a poorly developed ability to see the world from the perspective of others, engages in unusual behaviours such as talking about trucks for hours, and responds to stimuli, such as the sound of a car or an airplane, in unusual ways.
Clearly there is something wrong with their child, but even the experts cannot agree on exactly what the problem is. Although for many years autism was thought to be primarily a socially determined disorder, in which parents who were cold, distant, and rejecting created the problem, current research suggests that biological factors are most important. Scientists speculate that autism is caused by an unknown genetically determined brain abnormality that occurs early in development. The problem is that diagnosis is not exact remember the idea of categories , and the experts themselves are often unsure how to classify behaviour.
Furthermore, the appropriate classifications change with time and new knowledge. American Psychiatric Association. Barkley, R. Boardman, J. Work and employment for people with psychiatric disabilities. British Journal of Psychiatry, 6 , — Braun, J. Brothwell, D. Digging up bones: The excavation, treatment, and study of human skeletal remains.
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Overview and Introduction to Anxiety Disorders
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Researchers investigating anxiety disorders in general and social anxiety in particular; mental health clinicians specializing in treatment of anxiety disorders; graduate and advanced undergraduate students focused on anxiety disorders. Stefan G. His research focuses on the mechanism of treatment change, translating discoveries from neuroscience into clinical applications, emotions, and cultural expressions of psychopathology. We are always looking for ways to improve customer experience on Elsevier. We would like to ask you for a moment of your time to fill in a short questionnaire, at the end of your visit.
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Related Anxiety Disorders: Psychological and Biological Perspectives
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