Includes: phobias, panic disorders, Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Psychodynamic view- Phobias represent a defence against anxiety that stems from repressed impulses from id. Because it is too dangerous to know repressed id impulses they are displaced to an external object or Situation. To Freud, Anxiety disorders were classic example of neurosis, usually symbolic of suppression.
Behaviourists believed that phobias are purely learnt maladaptive behaviour, which is continuously being reinforced, because every time a phobic avoids a feared situation his anxiety decreases, once acquired they may also end up being generalised to similar situations. In OCD Anxiety occurs because neutral stimuli become associated with frightening thoughts.
CBT – our cognitive biases can help maintain our phobias once they have been acquired, as phobic tend be on high alert for such stimuli. They also markedly over-estimate the probability that feared object will be followed by frightening events. OCD patients have difficulty blocking out negative irrelevant input or distracting information, and tend to have low faith in memory. People suffering from GAD have a stronger tendency to interpret ambiguous information in a threatening way.
Treatment techniques: exposure therapy, participant modelling. CBT techniques
Includes: (paranoid, schizoid, histrionic, narcissist, anti-social, borderline, dependent, obsessive-compulsive personality) disorder, etc.
Psychoanalysis- Kernberg’s view is that people with borderline personality whose chief characteristics is insatiable are individuals who are unable to achieve a full and stable personal identity (self) because of an inability to integrate and reconcile pathological internalised objects. Because of their inability to structure their internal world in such a way that the people they know can have a mixture of both good and bad traits, they also perceive the external world in abrupt extremes.
Behaviourists and CBT believe that aggression is a learnt behaviour, and anti-social personality is nothing but a product of faulty learning. Such symptoms are maintained by irrational negative schemas and poor self-image
Read more: Psychology, DSM, World war, great depression and philosophy
Includes: dysthymia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder
Psychoanalytically speaking depression is anger turned inwards, which could happen due to imagined or symbolic losses. Klein emphasised importance of quality of mother-infant relationship in establishing a vulnerability to depression. Maniacs are believed to be using extreme defence.
Behaviourism says that people become depressed either when their response no longer produces positive reinforcement or when then rate of negative reinforcement increases.
CBT – Beck’s theory of depression has been a milestone in this field. People who attribute negative events to internal, stable and global causes may be more prone to becoming depressed than people who attribute the same events to external unstable and specific causes. Cognitive biases play a huge role in maintenance of depression and mania.
Treatment techniques: downward arrow technique, behavioural activation treatment, mindfulness based CT.
Includes: alcohol abuse and dependence, drug abuse and dependence
In addition to physical problems, substance abusers usually suffer from chronic fatigue, oversensitivity and depression. Excessive use causes poor judgement, gradual personality deterioration and in some cases acute psychotic symptoms such as delirium tremens and korakoff syndrome etc.
Psychological vulnerability is a major cause of this disorder. Many potential abusers tend to be emotionally immature, have low tolerance for frustration and tend to expect a great deal out of the world.
To a psychoanalyst this disorder is just an indication of oral fixation due to inadequate gratification at first stage of psycho-sexual development; whereas to a behaviourist its means just a faulty behaviour pattern that is learnt by observation and is reinforced and maintained due to various factors.
Read more: Psychology Theories, Techniques, Components and Experiments Of Past
As we can see most of the disorders and their treatments can be explained well using the psychological model, but this model alone is not sufficient to describe all the aspects of psychopathology. It is important to see a disorder in its entire context of hereditary and environment. From exorcism to experimentation, we have come a long way in the field of abnormal psychology. Freud’s psychoanalytic theory replaced superstition with organic pathology as the suspected cause of disorders; eventually psychoanalysis was substituted by other schools of thought. In this long journey of evolution bio-psycho-social model is playing its own significant part until it gets supplanted by some other greater model in history of psychopathology
Carson, R.C et al (2007). Abnormal psychology (13th edition). Pearson Education.
Taylor, shelly.E (2012). Health psychology (seventh edition). Tata Mc Graw Hill Education Private Limited.
Author: Pragya Shah