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Scenario: As Jamal researched the factors that cause atypical patterns of human thought, emotion, and behavior, he had a revelation: Abnormal behavior is more complicated than many of us realize.

Scenario: As Jamal researched the factors that cause atypical patterns of human thought, emotion, and behavior, he had a revelation: Abnormal behavior is more complicated than many of us realize.

In this journal activity, you will discuss the biopsychosocial causes of abnormal behavior, as well as challenges that clinicians face when addressing behaviors shared among psychological disorders.

Scenario

As Jamal researched the factors that cause atypical patterns of human thought, emotion, and behavior, he had a revelation: Abnormal behavior is more complicated than many of us realize. For example, Jamal discovered that abnormalities in behavior can be caused by biological factors (e.g., genetics, neurophysiology, biochemistry). Also, abnormal behavior can be caused by psychological factors (e.g., severe emotional distress, grief, trauma). Finally, Jamal discovered that abnormalities in behavior can be caused by sociocultural factors (e.g., social norms, familial values). Of the many valuable takeaways of his research, Jamal found that abnormal behavior is a complex phenomenon that can have biological, psychological, and sociocultural causes. In many cases, it is not the result of one causal factor, but of several co-occurring, interdependent factors.

Given the dynamic interplay between biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors, the behaviors of various disorders often overlap, making the accurate diagnosis of psychological disorders a challenge for clinical professionals.

Disorder/Behavior List

  • Anxiety: A psychological response to a stimulus that is perceived as threatening
    • Example: Avoiding interaction at a party due to discomfort in social situations
  • Depression: A persistent feeling of sadness and despair that can result in a loss of interest in various life activities
    • Example: Excessive crying
  • Dissociation: A psychological detachment and separation from self and environment
    • Examples: Daydreaming, highway hypnosis
  • Mania: A period of intense energy expenditure that may involve delusions and engagement in high-risk behavior
    • Examples: Excessive spending, reckless driving
  • Obsessive thoughts/compulsive behaviors: Persistent and undesirable thoughts or urges and ritualistic behaviors often driven by preoccupation with a negative outcome
    • Example: Frequent hand washing that is motivated by a fear of being contaminated by germs
  • Panic: An intense period of fear combined with physiological symptoms (e.g., rapid speech, sweating, nausea)
    • Example: Stomach gets upset and hands shake while speaking in front of a group (public speaking)
  • Phobia: A fear of a specific, often nonthreatening stimulus
    • Examples: Seeks an escape route when in a crowded area (Agoraphobia: fear of crowded spaces)
  • Psychosis: A psychological state in which one experiences hallucinations, delusions, and/or a persistent and unchangeable belief in something that is obviously false
    • Example: Acting suspiciously due to suspecting that food is being poisoned

Prompt

The following resources support your work on this activity:

For this journal activity, use your template to address the following rubric criteria with a minimum of 3 to 5 sentences per bullet. Support your answers with a credible source when necessary.

Part One

First, select one option from the list in the Overview and address the following:

  • Describe the possible biological causes of your selection.
  • Describe the possible psychological causes of your selection.
  • Describe the possible social or cultural causes of your selection.
  • Describe the relationship between the biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors of your selection.

Part Two

Next, from the list in the Overview, select two disorders that are known to share symptomatology or behaviors.

  • Explain the ways in which the behaviors associated with the disorders overlap and discuss the potential diagnostic challenges presented by the overlap.

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