Abnormal Psychology: Abuse, Addiction, & Disorders

Psychological Disorder Analysis ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY: ABUSE, ADDICTION, & DISORDERS Psy 270 Jalisa Cooper February 4, 2012 Final paper Psychological Disorder Analysis Psychological disorders can be very debilitating for those who suffer from them. Psychological disorders affect a person’s ability to function normally in their daily lives. In regards to the case study of Nicole the patient Nicole is a 40-year-old Hispanic female who comes to the mental health clinical complaining of trouble sleeping, feeling “jumpy” all of the time, and experiencing an inability to concentrate.

These symptoms are causing problems for her at work, where she is a finance manager. Though the information in regards to Nicole is very limited and difficult to analyze, however the symptoms suggest that Nicole may be suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Post-traumatic stress disorder can be difficult to diagnose and the symptoms are often unrecognizable. Posttraumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder which can develop from having experienced a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened.

Like many anxiety disorder they may cause jumpy and sleepless behavior depending on the anxiety disorder the individual may have. Traumatic disorders can be triggered by stress or any other event that may cause the individual to develop anxiety related symptoms. A traumatic event might be military combat experience, violent personal attacks, or even car accidents. Post-traumatic disorders can be triggered by something in their past that be generated from something major or insignificant.

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Victims that may have experienced an event such as rape or car accident resulting in death or severe injuries may not experience symptoms at the moment of the event however they may develop symptoms shortly or later after the event once it is triggered by stress or other traumatic events. Being that the case study did not present a in depth history on Nicole I would attempt to gather information form the patient such as “Have you experienced a traumatic event recently or in your past? ” This would be to gather information about the patient to that I can pin point the origin of what is causing her symptoms.

The case study regarding Nicole mentions that she is a 40-year old woman that is suffering from a great deal of symptoms. According to the Demographics of “Faces of Abnormal Psychology Interactive: for Post-traumatic stress disorder”, middle age adults are more adversely affected than older and younger adults. In addition she is a Hispanic woman meaning for whatever disorder it is important to take into consideration her culture in treating her conditions. The DSM-IV states one of the criteria of Post-traumatic stress disorder is increased levels of arousal including insomnia, irritability, and hyper vigilance. People with these disorders may feel overly alert, be easily startled, develop sleep problems, and have trouble concentrating” (Comer, 2005). When suffering from PTSD and individual may begin to display symptoms of avoidance of any stimuli that is in anyway related or associated with the traumatic event. These methods many even include avoidance of thoughts, feelings and activities associated with are resemble the event. As stated in the case study Nicole mentioned that she is having complications with getting to sleep or in general getting the significant amount of sleep needed to maintain her energy level throughout the day.

Through her lack of sleep she is experiencing difficulty concentrating at her work facility, where her position requires a focused mind and attentiveness. She also experiences the feeling of being jumpy frequently throughout the day which relates to being easily startled or paranoid due to a past experience in relation to her current stress levels. She may have experienced something in her past that is being stimulated by her events she participate in during the day causing her to flash back to that moment and relive this event.

It is common for individuals that suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder to experience a sequence of involuntary flashbacks through thoughts and even dreams, which may also be an additional reason for Nicole’s lack of rest during the night. She may be involuntarily reliving her traumatic experience due to stress in her life preventing her to obtain the proper rest that she needs to function at work. The case study failed to explain her social life and the relationships she may have with others thus it does explain her detachment to her work assignments and her lack of focus to stay on task.

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms reflect emotional detachment from friends and family causing them to be unable to express loving feelings for them. Post- traumatic stress disorder individuals become hyper-vigilant which could cause them to become chronically un-alert to the things and events around them rendering them unresponsive. Which is another symptom that Nicole the case study patient displays throughout her explanation of her working abilities, she displays a lack of concentration to the tasks at hand and jumpy feeling all the time.

Those that suffer from this disorder may often become startled easily and suffer from difficulty of sleeplessness. Those individuals with PTSD often develop other disorder such as depression; substance related disorders as well as anxiety disorders. Meaning those that suffer from severe Post-traumatic stress disorders may often result to substance abuse and may of their symptoms may be influenced by the usage of these substances causing their condition to seem more extreme.

As well as depression and anxiety disorders can in addition contribute to the symptoms PTSD raising the impact of each symptom to a higher level depending on the severity of each disorder. Many times individuals are misdiagnosed because of the commonality of symptoms between disorders. Studies have shown that 60% of adult men today have experience a traumatic even, whereas 51% of adult women have experience a traumatic event at least once in their life. It is common for many individuals that experience traumatic events sometime throughout their life to not be affected by these events.

Of 50% of American that experience a traumatic event of any kind, only approximately 8% of them eventually experience Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms later in life. It is suggested that each event is different in their own way as well as has different impacts on each individual. There are factors that predict ones vulnerability of Post-traumatic stress disorder which would revolve around the nature of the event the individual experienced. The DSM-IV states the severity of the traumatic event in one of the leading factors that help predict whether an individual may be susceptible to later suffer from Post-traumatic stress disorder.

The severe traumatic events that are more likely to induce PTSD are the events that are prolonged traumas that often affect ones family or self directly. Secondly the more likely trauma suffer that was experiencing pre-existing anxiety symptoms long before the severe traumatic event occurred is more likely to later develop Post- traumatic stress disorder symptoms. This is because the individual has already reached a point in their life that cause them to become worrisome making them unable to handle the pressures of a traumatic event of severe magnitude without having and episodes.

These individuals are unstable to cope with whatever change this event has brought on causing them to develop additional anxiety disorders. Those individuals that have a history of mental illness are way more likely to experience PTSD symptoms. Third the individuals coping techniques play a large role in ones predictability of developing symptoms of PTSD. Traumatic events can take a toll on anyone and any magnitude of the event however ones predictability of developing PTSD is based on ones ability to cope with the tragic event.

The individuals that lack the ability to move past the event often fall victim to this disorder. Those that dwell on the details of the event are at higher risk as well as those who refuse to discuss the events at all cost. Some events such as witness to death, accidents resulting in death and disastrous events could cause one to reframe communicating and expressing their feelings about the events. By reframing from acknowledging such event has occurred I could cause a mental break. Finally support is an important factor when it comes to dealing with traumatic events much like any other disorder.

Those that have a lack of support from friends, family, counseling or event therapy tend to be more susceptible to the developing the symptoms of PTSD. The lack of a support network is does not allow the individual to express their problems to someone that can understand or relate. And sufferer of a post-traumatic event needs to be able to reflect and vent some other emotions to someone close. They have to be a be to feel the support and encouragement of loved ones to keep them motivated to work through whatever they are experiencing.

There have been a set of therapies to design to address this disorder to properly treat the symptoms. The three primary goals in theory are reducing the individual’s fear of provoking stimuli. This means that therapy will assist the individual in reducing the fear or unwillingness to address and confront activities and thoughts that trigger the traumatic event. Secondly, assisting the patient in modifying counterproductive thoughts, and lastly reducing stress are method used in therapy to assist the patient progress pass this event.

The method of be reducing the individual’s fear of provoking stimuli are done through systematic desensitization, which is when an individual unlearns their fear thus reversing the classical conditioning process and eliminating the cause of them requiring the fear initially. The first phase is relaxation training of each muscle in the body while allowing the patient to then trained to calm themselves. The second phase is list of fear provoking stimuli descending from least threating and uncomfortable to more threating fears.

The third phase us the desensitization phase where the patient is slightly provoke to introduce those thoughts or stimuli while remaining calm. It is often done through imagined stimuli and then they may introduce actual stimuli to the patient. In addition to this method therapist may use cognitive techniques which challenge ones irrational beliefs and unhealthy thoughts. Reference Comer, R. J. (2005). Fundamentals of abnormal psychology (4th ed. ). New York: Worth. Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology

Faces of Abnormal Psychology Interactive application at the McGraw Hill Higher Education Web site: http://www. mhhe. com/socscience/psychology/faces/http://www. mhhe. com/socscience/psychology/faces/# Melinda Smith, M. A. , and Jeanne Segal, Ph. D. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): SYMPTOMS, TREATMENT, AND SELF-HELP, (2011), Retrieved February 4, 2012, http://www. helpguide. org/mental/post_traumatic_stress_disorder_symptoms_treatment. htm Resources: Appendix A, Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology, and the Faces of Abnormal Psychology Interactive application at the McGraw Hill Higher Education Web

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