Classification of Psychological Disorders
Psychological disorders are classified according to the following criteria of abnormal behavior:
- incorrect interpretation of reality.
- tangible personal distress.
- self-defeating behavior.
- social unacceptability is a given culture (Nevid & Rathus, 2005).
These are the criteria according to which abnormalities in the individual’s behavior are identified. Most of the mental disorders are classified descriptively basing on the behavior or experience of the patient (Weiner, 2002). With respect to such classification the following types of psychological disorders can be singled out:
- Anxiety disorders.
- Dissociative disorders.
- Somatoform disorders.
- Mood disorders.
- Schizophrenia disorders.
- Personality disorders.
The state of anxiety may be accompanied by such features as worrying, nervousness, loss of control, fear, inability to relax (these are subjective features), trembling, increased blood pressure, fastened heart beating, sweating (physical features), as well as avoiding the situation which causes the anxiety (behavioral features). As a rule, anxiety as such is experienced globally, which means that a person who experiences it simply associates his/her fears with objects or situations due to their incorrect interpretation or obsessive fears (Dofman & Walker, 2007).
Dissociative disorders are the most common with children, though the adults may also develop them in response to a severe trauma. Among the types of dissociative disorders mentioned here, dissociative amnesia is the most common. People who have this disorder experience loss of memory and are unable to recall past experiences and personal information (Nevid & Rathus, 2005). With dissociative fugue, a person also loses memory but in case with this disorder he/she may have invented memories. Dissociative identity disorder results in the splitting of personalities when two or more of them are present in one person. Finally, during depersonalization disorder a patient has a feeling of walking in a fog or observing his/her actions and thoughts from outside (Nevid & Rathus, 2005).
The patients who have somatoform disorders may experience “paralysis, numbness, or mysterious pain that defies any medical explanation, or have a persistent belief that they have a serious disease despite a lack of medical evidence” (Nevid & Rathus, 2005). Such disorders may be or two major types, namely conversion disorders and hypochondriasis. Conversion disorder is rather rare; it is accompanied by problems with physical functioning (its change or loss), for instance, paralysis of limbs or blindness. Hypochondriasis is more common; it is characterized by the patient’s firmly believing that he/she has a serious illness and the fact that no medical evidence exists to support this belief cannot convince him/her in the opposite.
Disturbances of mood are the main characteristics of mood disorders. Though mood fluctuation are typical for all people, in case with mood disorders they are persistent and mostly extreme. For instance, if a person has major depression, he/she loses interest to pleasures and activities which he/she could enjoy otherwise (Nevid & Rathus, 2005). Bipolar disorder, in its turn, is characterized by rapid mood swings accompanied by rapid flight of ideas.
Schizophrenia disorders are chronic and life-long. They are accompanied by delusions and hallucinations with the person having such disorders being dangerous to the society and him/herself. In case with paranoid schizophrenia, the patient has persecution hallucinations or delusions of jealousy. Patients who have disorganized schizophrenia have incoherent speech; their hallucinations and delusions are vague and fragmentary and their behavior is disorganized (Nevid & Rathus, 2005). Catatonic schizophrenia affects motor activity; it can be characterized by waxy flexibility and mutism.
Personality disorders are perhaps the most numerous ones. The main reason for this is that they can be caused by a variety of factors. Thus, for instance, improper upbringing and negative childhood experiences may result in antisocial, avoidant, dependent, and narcissistic personality disorder. Though mentally healthy people can also display abnormal behaviors, people with personality disorders display these behaviors systematically this is why they are subjected to treatment.
Types of Therapies for Treating Psychological Disorders
There exist numerous types of therapies which are used to treat the patients from psychological disorders, depending on the type of disorder they have. From these types, psychotherapy and biomedical therapy are the most commonly used. Biomedical therapy includes drastic methods of treatment, such as using drugs and surgeries. Psychotherapy, however, is less drastic. It involves systematic interaction with the patients, influencing their thought and behavior basing on theory and research, and treating different adjustment problems. Humanistic-existential therapy is based on the analysis of the patient’s past, while cognitive therapy focuses on changing the patients’ believes, attitudes, and way of thinking (Nevid & Rathus, 2005).
Dorfman, W.I. & Walker, L.E. (2007). First responder’s guide to abnormal psychology: applications for police, firefighters and rescue personnel. London: Springer.
Nevid, J.S. & Rathus, S.A. (2005). Psychology and the Challenges of Life: Adjustment in the New Millennium. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Velasco-Whetsell, M. & Coffin, D.A. (2000). Pediatric Nursing. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional.
Weiner, I.B. (2003). Handbook of psychology. New York: John Wiley and Sons.