Student Objectives
The Students Will:

Identify and explain the criteria used for determining abnormality.

Understand the symptoms of select psychological disorders.

Describe to what extent biological, cognitive, and sociocultural factors influence abnormal behavior.

Demonstrate knowledge of basic mental health treatment strategies.

Abnormal Psychology

Psychological Disorder
  Deviant, distressful, and dysfunctional patterns of thoughts, feelings, or Behaviors.

Anxiety Disorders
   Psychological disorders characterized by distressing, persistent anxiety or maladaptive behaviors that reduce anxiety.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder
   An anxiety disorder in which a person is continually tense, apprehensive, and in a state of autonomic nervous system arousal.

Panic Disorder
   An anxiety disorder marked by unpredictable minutes-long episodes of intense dread in which a person experiences terror and accompanying chest pain, choking, or other frightening sensations.

   An anxiety disorder marked by a persistent, irrational fear and avoidance of a specific object or situation.

Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD)
   An anxiety disorder characterized by unwanted repetitive thoughts and/ or actions.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
   An anxiety disorder characterized by haunting memories, nightmares, social withdrawal, jumpy anxiety, and/or insomnia that lingers for four weeks or more after a traumatic experience.

Post-Traumatic Growth
   Positive psychological changes as a result of struggling with extremely challenging circumstances and life crises.

Somatoform Disorder
   Psychological disorder in which the symptoms take a bodily form without apparent physical cause.

Conversion Disorder
   A rare somatoform disorder in which a person experiences very specific genuine physical symptoms for which no physiological basis can be found.

   A somatoform disorder involving excessive concern about health and disease.

Dissociative Disorders
   Disorders in which conscious awareness becomes separated from previous memories, thoughts, and feelings.

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)
   A rare dissociative disorder in which a person exhibits two or more distinct and alternating personalities. Also called multiple personality disorder.

Mood Disorders
   Psychological disorders characterized by emotional extremes.

Major Depressive Disorder
   A mood disorder in which a person experiences, in the absence of drugs or a medical condition, two or more weeks of significantly depressed moods, feelings of worthlessness, and diminished interest or pleasure in most activities.

   A mood disorder marked by a hyperactive, wildly optimistic state.

Bipolar Disorder
   A mood disorder in which the person alternates between the hopelessness and lethargy of depression and the overexcited state of mania.

   A group of severe disorders characterized by disorganized and delusional thinking, disturbed perceptions, and inappropriate emotions and actions.

   False beliefs, often of persecution or grandeur, that may accompany psychotic disorders.

   False sensory experiences, such as seeing something in the absence of an external visual stimulus.

Personality Disorders
   Psychological disorders characterized by inflexible and enduring behavior patterns that impair social functioning.

Antisocial Personality Disorder
   A personality disorder in which the person exhibits a lack of conscience for wrongdoing, even toward friends and family members; may be aggressive and ruthless or a clever con artist.


Eclectic Approach
   An approach to psychotherapy that, depending on the client's problems, uses techniques from various forms of therapy.

Biomedical Therapy
   Prescribed medications or medical procedures that act directly on the patient's nervous system.

Electroconvulsive Therapy
   A biomedical therapy for severely depressed patients in which a brief electric current is sent through the brain of an anesthetized patient.

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
   The application of repeated pulses of magnetic energy to the brain; used to stimulate or suppress brain activity.

   Surgery that removes or destroys brain tissue in an effort to change behavior.

   a now-rare psychosurgical procedure once used to calm uncontrollably emotional or violent patients. The procedure cut the nerves that connect the frontal lobes to the emotion-controlling centers of the inner brain.

   The study of the effects of drugs on mind and behavior.

Antidepressant Drugs
   Biological treatment; typically used for depression but is often used for anxiety.

Antianxiety Drugs
   Drugs used to control anxiety and agitation.

Antipsychotic Drugs
   Biological treatment option used to treat the severe psychological disorders, such as schizophrenia; effective for treating hallucinations.

Insight Therapies
   A variety of therapies which aim to improve psychological functioning by increasing the client's awareness of underlying motives and defenses.

   Sigmund Freud's therapeutic technique, Freud believed the patient's free associations, resistances, dreams, and transferences--and the therapist's interpretations of them--released previously repressed feelings, allowing the patient to gain self-insight.

Client-Centered Therapy
   A humanistic therapy, developed by Carl Rogers, in which the therapist uses techniques such as active listening within a genuine accepting, empathic environment to facilitate clients' growth.

Cognitive Therapies
   Therapy that teaches people new, more adaptive ways of thinking and acting.

Group Therapy
   Therapy conducted with groups rather than individuals, permitting therapeutic benefits from group interaction.

Family Therapy
   Therapy that treats the family as a system. Views an individual's unwanted behaviors as influenced by or directed at other family members; attempts to guide family members toward positive relationships and improved communication.

Behavior Therapy
   Approach that is based on the belief that all behavior (normal and abnormal) is learned; therapy that applies learning principles to the elimination of unwanted behaviors and to teach new, appropriate ways of behaving; includes systematic desensitization, flooding, modeling extinction, token economy, and behavior contracting.

   A behavior therapy procedure that conditions new responses to stimuli that trigger unwanted behaviors; based on classical conditioning. Includes exposure therapies and aversive conditioning.

Systematic Desensitization
   A type of counterconditioning that associates a pleasant relaxed state with gradually increasing anxiety triggering stimuli. Commonly used to treat phobias.

Token Economy
   An operant conditioning procedure in which people earn a token of some sort for exhibiting a desired behavior and can later exchange the tokens for various privileges or treats.