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Essay/Term paper: Abnormal psychology: mental disorders

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Society Term Papers

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Abnormal Psychology: Mental Disorders

Andrew Walters



Schizophrenia is a disorder that can effect anyone. It is the greatest
the greatest disorder that effects teenagers. When someone is effected by the
disorder it is not just that one person that has to learn to deal with it, the
families of the patients must also learn to deal with it.
There are many possible causes for the disorder with many doctors
believing that there is more than one cause. What has been thought as the main
cause for many years is a chemical imbalance in the brain. This could be an
imbalance in the number of neurotransmitters and/or an imbalance in the amount
of dopamine. Stress is not thought of as directly causing Schizophrenia, but
often makes already present symptoms worse. some doctors feel that
Schizophrenia might be the result of a slow acting virus since the symptoms can
be delayed many years after the first infection. Another possible cause for the
disorder is a genetic disposition. This has yet to be proven but it is thought
of as a likely cause since children who have a parent with the disorder have a
ten times greater chance of developing the illness than children who have
abnormal parents. If both parents have the disorder the chance of their off
spring having the disorder jumps to forty times that of of an off spring with
normal parents. Some times as equally as important as finding what causes
a disease is finding what does not cause a disease. It is said that
Schizophrenia is: not caused by a domineering mother and/or a passive father,
not caused by childhood experiences, poverty, or not caused by the feeling of
guilt or failure.
People who have schizophrenia can be divided up into three equal groups:
those who only have one episode in their entire life, those who have continual
episodes but live normal lives between them, and a third group who have never
ending symptoms. The symptoms that define an episode of schizophrenia can
generally be described as deterioration from a previous level of functioning.
The number one symptom of schizophrenia is the inability to separate the
real form the unreal. As stress starts to build and the symptoms get worse
there is often a decline in work achievements along with declining of relations
with others. Because the these symptoms might start off very minor, it is
mostly the families that notice them first. Thus it is up to the family to
insist on a professional assessment of the person in question. Families also
must play a key role in watching over the patient while there are undergoing
treatment which usually consist taking medication in different amount until the
proper amount is found.
The constant research going on leads to putting more pieces of the
puzzle together all the time. Using EEG¹s it was found that the impulses sent
by the brain to other parts of the body are not normal in people with
schizophrenia. It has also been found that there are definitely abnormalities
in the proteins of those suffering from the disease.

Bipolar Disorder




Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder in which the effects who a person
feels about the world around and even themselves. It makes them feel depressed
and if left untreated suicide is often the result. Around 1.5% of the
population is effect by some type of the disorder. Unlike many other disorders,
bipolar effects a higher percent of those with a higher social status.
Bipolar disorder usually comes on while the person is in their early
twenties. It is thought that the disorder is ³polygenetic² meaning dependent
upon several genes. This conclusion was reached because child who have parents
with the disorder are up to twenty times more likely to suffer from it. Though
the disorder can cause serious problems, many famous and successful people have
suffered from it including Ernest Hemingway and Vincent Van Gogh.
One of the major steps in treating some one with bipolar disorder is
diagnosing it. People often say they of symptoms similar to those of the
disorder as a result of a different disorder. These symptoms include hearing
voices, being possessed by something, and having a sleeping disorder. In order
to determine if a patient suffers from the disorder or not, family members are
often questioned to see if the patient acts the way they claims they do. They
are often asked about the patients sleeping since it is hard to fake a sleeping
disorder. A family history is often obtained to help decide if bipolar is a
lily candidate.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder




Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a anxiety disorder that about one
million people in the United States suffer from. Those suffering from the
disorder have repetitive thought, images, or ideas that they can not get out of
their head. These repetitive thoughts lead to anxiety which causes the suffer
to resort to a competitive behavior.Then in order to try to deal with these
thoughts sufferers often have rituals they preform to try to satisfy their
One of the more common repetitive thoughts that those with obsessive
compulsive disorder have is that they contaminated by dirty objects. This leads
to them often washing their hands constantly often taking off layers of skin.
Similar to the Glen in the movie who would go through more than a bar of soap a
Obsessive compulsive disorder was once thought to be rare but now is
thought to effect around two percent of the population. Many cases go
unreported making to hard to get an exact number of those who suffer. It
effects people of all ethnic backgrounds and social classes the same. It is
thought to be a neurobiological based problem because patients respond well to
There are two major treatments for suffers of obsessive compulsive
disorder. One treatment is medication, either clomipramine, which is usually
used to fight depression, and fluvoxamine and fluoxetine which have also been
found to work. The second type of treatment is behavior therapy. Here patients
are exposed to what they fear and are encourage not to carry out their usual
compulsive response.
Unlike many mental disorders, suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder
often know they have a problem. However, this knowledge is not enough to get
them to stop what they know is a senseless activity. Therefore, many try to
hide their problem from others with a rather high success rate. The only
problem with this is that they often don¹t get treatment until they have been
dealing with it for a long time.



Depression is often used to describe someone who is feeling low about
themselves at the moment, when in reality it is a whole lot more than that. It
is a total body illness that no mater how hard a person try to talk them selves
out of it they still feel bad. It can effect a person in every aspect of their
life from home to work to their social life.
Depression is thought to be caused by a combination of factors
including genetic, psychological, and environmental ones. It can be caused by
living a stressful life or just living a bad life, but it doesn¹t have to be.
It also occurs in all economic classes with about the same consistency. There
are often times now clues as to what triggered the onset of the depression.
About fifteen million Americans a year are faced with the illness.
Depression effects the thinking of the person who has it so they are
often not aware that they are suffering from it. Thus the family is often
forced to acted upon it before they sufferer even knows they have a problem. It
is important that the family does act one in because the number one cause of
suicide is depression that went untreated.
The signs of depression that one should be on the look out for in a
suspected sufferer include: hopelessness, sadness, inability to make decisions,
inability to concentrate, sudden weight changes, constant complaining, and many
others. The treatment for such sufferers often include ³talk therapy² and a
prescription for antidepressants.
The most important think that can be done for some one facing a
depression is for their friends and family to be there for them. 80- 90% of
those faced with depression can be helped but they can¹t beat it alone.

Multiple Personality Disorder


Multiple personality disorder is the existence of more than one dominate
personality within an individual. Each personality having its own behavior and
social relationships. The disorder is most commonly associated with physical
and/or sexual abuse of the sufferer at a young age. The abuse they go through
is often prolonged and done by a family member.
Diagnosing someone with multiple personality disorder is often hard for
many reasons. Patients often withhold important information that would be used
to diagnose the disorder because they do not want to be labeled crazy. Doctors¹
ignorance about the disorder is another reason it is often misdiagnosed.
Multiple personality disorder was originally thought of as being extremely rare,
so must professionals thought they would never see a case. It was not even in
he DSM until 1980.
In treating someone with multiple personality disorder their trust must
first be gained so they then are willing to participate in the treatment. The
patient must then be told what their problem is, which needs to be done very
gentle in adults so that they do not get offended. The third stage in treatment
is to learn all the personalities, their names, origins, problems, and
relationships to the other personalities. The original personality must then be
taught to deal with all the impulses that the other personalities would deal
with such as anger, sexuality, and depression. The final stage is fusing all
the personalities back into one. The patient must then practice dealing with
all kinds of emotions to prevent a renewed dissociation.

Electroconvulsive Therapy http://www.i1.net:80/~juli/ect/brain/brain.html

Electroconvulsive therapy is the process of passing an electrical
current through the brain causing unconsciousness and convulsions. In this
procedure electrodes are placed on both temples, or just one temple in
unilateral treatment, and electricity is passed between them. This proceeder is
usually used for patients suffering from severe depression after all other
treatments have failed. The treatment is very controversial because many
believe that there are side effects from passing electricity through the brain.
Five major areas are looked at to see if there are side effects: the brains of
epileptics, animal brains, psychological test findings with history of many ECTs,
spontaneous seizures, and human brain reports.
In study brains of epileptics it was concluded that ECT cause lasting
effects, much in the same way that grand mal seizures did. When studying animal
brain both reversible and irreversible damage was found to brain cells after
multiple ECTs. The results from studying psychological test were inconclusive
because of the experimenters inability to set up a controlled experiment. There
were always too many variables that could not be accounted for. Patients who
have received ECTs have been known to have post-ECT spontaneous seizures.
Though some had them prior to the numerous had not who afterwards did. It is
unsure if the seizures last forever because often the patient i s put on
medication to prevent them. However the studies have concluded that in at least
some cases after people received ECT they started to have seizures. In studying
human autopsies it was found that some patients of ECT had irreversible damage
done to their brain while others damage was reversible. The explanation for the
different was that if the patient was in good health prior to the ECTs they had
a much better chance of not receiving irreversible damage. The
conclusion from looking at all the different areas mentioned is that there are
many factors that at least partially determine whether or not the patient of
ECts will receive permanent damage from them or not.

Eating Disorders


Eating disorders occur when a person becomes preoccupied with their body
weight and food. The two major kinds of eating disorders anorexia and bulimia.
Bulimics feel as though they can not control the amount of food they eat leading
to binging and then either purging or self-induced vomiting. Anorexics keep
their body weight low by usually either self-induced vomiting or by eating very
small amounts of food and exercising heavily. It is not uncommon for a person
to switch back in forth between the two types.
The typical anorexic or bulimic person if a female,in their teenage
years, from the middle class, all though people from all backgrounds can suffer
from it. Males make up about 5% of all reported cases. The cause of the
disorders is not clearly, but many experts blame the media for emphasizing the
ideal shape. The relationship that the child has with their parents is
considered a major factor as well.
The side effects of the disorders can range from malnutrition to death.
Girls often menstrual cycles often become irregular or even stop. If self-
induced vomiting is occurring, that can cause a sore throat and gullet and even
destroy dental enamel. These disorders but a great emotional strain on those
with it, having many side effects of it¹s own.
The first thing that must be done to help a person wit a eating disorder
is to talk to them about it. It is not uncommon for them to get mad at first
because their secret is out, but they must be forced to seek professional help.
Though there are many different mental disorders and illnesses it seems
as though they all have a few things in common. The uncertainty of the cause
seems to be the case with many disorders. Some doctors feel strongly one way
while others think that there is a totally different cause. Over time what is
thought to be the causes of a disorders often change because of new research
that is being done everyday.
Until the causes of disorders are found it will always be a guess on how
to best treat patients suffering from any certain disorder. It even varies as
far as one doctor saying a certain kind of treatment helps and another doctor
saying that the exact same treatment is useless or even harmful, as the case is
with ECT. Until researchers better understand the brain the treatment for
disorders that are found in it will always be up for discussion.


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