S-Cool Revision Summary

S-Cool Revision Summary

There are four main approaches. Each approach has different assumptions about the causes of mental disorders:

  1. Medical/biological: Looks for genetic, biochemical or physical abnormalities.

  2. Cognitive: Based on assumption that disorders are to do with 'faulty thinking'.

  3. Behavioural: To do with learning responses to our environment and other people.

  4. Psychodynamic: Based on Freud's ideas of unconscious conflicts in the mind.

There are no simple explanations for mental disorders - each approach has something useful to contribute to our understanding. Check the pros and cons of different approaches.

Most mental disorders are due to a combination of biological and social factors - check you know some of the research evidence.

Cultural and gender differences in rates of mental disorders may be due to differences in diagnosis, genetic differences or due to bias in the medical system.

Mental disorders are generally misunderstood. Many sufferers do not come forward for help and continue to suffer needlessly.

Affective disorder A mood disorder in which sustained emotional state changes feelings and behaviour.
Amphetamine psychosis Condition associated with high dose of amphetamine, similar to symptoms of schizophrenia.
Auditory hallucination Hearing internal voices or other sounds.
Cerebral ventricles Fluid-filled cavities in the brain, altered in some people with schizophrenia.
Clinical depression Depression that is sustained and severe.
Concordance rates Degree to which a characteristic is shared.
Delusions False beliefs, in spite of evidence to contrary.
Diathesis-stress model The idea that individuals have different tolerance levels to environmental stress, so that some people develop mental disorders when others do not.
Dopamine A type of neurotransmitter between some of the nerve cells in the brain.
Dopamine hypothesis The idea that schizophrenia may be caused by over-activity in the dopamine system of the brain.
DZ twins - dizygotic twins Non-identical twins, originating from two zygotes (fertilised egg cells).
Hallucinations Sensory perception without normal external stimulus.
Inappropriate affect Inappropriate emotional expression.
MZ twins - monozygotic twins Identical twins, originating from one zygote (fertilised egg cell).
Neuroleptic drugs Drugs which dampen the activity of certain neurotransmitters, for example, dopamine.
Neurotransmitters Chemical messengers acting between nerve cells.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder Anxiety disorder involving intrusive, repetitive and unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and compelling ritualistic, repetitive behaviours (compulsions).
Panic disorder Sudden attacks of severe anxiety, terror and feelings of impending doom.
Paranoid anxiety Fear of hostility or violence from others.
Phobia Excessive, irrational fear of an object or situation.
Post-traumatic stress disorder Disabling anxiety reaction after experiencing severely traumatic event.
Psychotic Out of touch with external reality.
Receptors Specialised parts of nerve cells that are sensitive to neurotransmitter substances.
Schizophrenia Major disorder affecting thoughts, perceptions and behaviour, characterised by hallucinations and delusions.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), mood disorder associated with changing day length - particularly, winter depression.
Serotonin A neurotransmitter in the brain linked with mood, especially presence or absence of depression.
Social drift hypothesis Idea that schizophrenia causes someone to lose social status and 'drift' into lower socio-economic groups.
Sociogenic hypothesis Idea that social and environmental stresses can trigger schizophrenia.
Twin studies Examination of twins for common characteristics, likely to be genetic in identical twins.