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The History of Psychopathology

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Presentation on theme: "The History of Psychopathology"— Presentation transcript:

1 The History of Psychopathology
A historical perspective on abnormal behavior

2 What is Psychopathology?
The study of abnormal thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. “Psycho” means “mind.” “Pathology” means “pathogen” or “organism causing disease.”

3 Factors that determine whether behavior is abnormal or not:
1.Statistical infrequency 2.Violation of norms 3.Personal Distress 4.Dysfunction Unexpectedness

4 Statistical infrequency:
Abnormal behavior is often infrequent. mania & depression occur in 1% of the pop.

5 Problem: Not all unusual behavior is abnormal!!
(E.g., superior athletic ability, geniuses)

6 Violation of norms: Abnormal behavior often violates the social norms of a given culture. (E.g., experiencing hallucinations, talking to inanimate objects,)

7 Problem: The violation of norms explicitly makes abnormality a relative concept. Criminals and prostitutes violate social norms, but would not fall within the context of abnormal psychology.

8 Personal Distress: Behavior may be abnormal if it creates great distress. (E.g., people with depression experience considerable distress.)

9 Problem: Not all distressed individuals are mentally ill & some mentally ill individuals do not show distress (psychopaths).

10 Dysfunction: Does the behavior impair an individual’s ability to function in life (work, personal relationships)? (E.g., substance-use disorders)

11 Problem: Some individuals with a DSM diagnosis, live functional lives (e.g., transvestites).

12 Unexpectedness: Distress & disability are considered abnormal when they are unexpected responses to stressors. E.g., (anxiety disproportionate with the situation).

13 Problems with classifying behavior as abnormal
Several factors need to be examined. Societal norms may change which behaviors are deemed abnormal. E.g., Homosexuality was once classified as a mental disorder in the DSM (up till 1973).

14 1. Clinical Psychologist
-Ph.D. or Psy.D. -4-7 yrs graduate study -1-year internship in APA accredited hospital or mental health facility.

15 History of Psychopathology
Mental illness was thought to be the result of supernatural forces (angry Gods, possession by demons). Scholars, theologians, and philosophers believed a troubled mind was the result of displeased Gods or possession.

16 Demonology: “the Devil made me do it!”
Abnormal behavior (hallucinations, delusions, paranoia) resulted from demonic possession. Treatment: drive the evil spirits out of the body. -stone-age: trephination -exorcism: prayers, brews, flogging, starvation, etc.

17 Mental illness: a biological problem.
By 5th century B.C., mental illness--thought to be result of biological problem in the brain. -Hippocrates- argued that deviant behavior was result of physical causes. -The view that deviant behavior occurs because of disease in the body is called “Somatogenesis.”

18 Hippocrates (contd.) Thought cognitive functioning could be restored by balancing the four humors in body:  blood, black bile, yellow bile, & phlegm).

19 The Dark Ages With decline of Roman & Greek civilizations/ rise of Church as dominant power in Europe, demonology makes a come-back!! *Treatment- exorcisms

20 Mental illness: witchcraft (1300s)
Hallucinations & delusions--evidence of witchcraft. Most accused were not mentally ill, but forced to confess crimes they didn’t commit. Treatment: beatings/death by hanging or burning.

21 Mentally ill housed in asylums (1500s+)
After crusades, mentally ill were confined to asylums. Asylums (originally leprosariums), were converted after crusades when leprosy was on a decline. Most famous: St. Mary’s of Bethlehem in London (founded in 1243). Called “Bedlam.” Deplorable conditions- little food, little patient care, blood letting practices, & spread of diseases.

22 Asylums became “attraction.”
Bethlehem- became hot tourist spot, where people gawked at London’s mentally ill. Treatment- patients were drained of blood & purposely “frightened.”

23 Moral Treatment (1790s +) Philippe Pinel – humanitarian treatment of mentally ill in asylums. Patients formerly chained & shackled were released & free to roam the buildings. Treatment: cannabis, opium, alcohol.

24 Medical model (recent)
Mental illness– may have biological, psychological, and/or social cause. Treatment: drugs, psychotherapy, ECT

25 Psychopathology & crime
Currently, it is well known that some forms of psychopathology predispose individuals to perform criminal acts. Some of the mental disorders linked with criminal behavior are: conduct disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and psychopathy.


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