Lecture:
Reading Assignment 27:
Descriptive Diagnoses
Click for the objectives for Reading Assignment 27

Summary:
The twenty-seventh reading assignment introduces students to Disorders. A Disorder can be defined as a disturbance in physical health, mental health, or functioning. This reading assignment distinguishes between four categories of Disorders: Mood Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Eating Disorders and Personality Disorders.

Mood Disorders
When a person has a Mood Disorder they may experience a depressed mood, a manic mood, or both. There are four types of Mood Disorders; each type having their own unique characteristics and potentially drastic impact on day-to-day functioning. Major Depressive Disorder or MDD is the most severe form of depression. People with Major Depressive Disorder cannot perform day-to-day tasks or carry on with a normal routine lifestyle. Women tend to be more susceptible to MDD than men; however, it is equally as devastating in either sex when experienced. Lethargy is one of the primary characteristics of Major Depressive Disorder. A less severe form of depression is Dysthymic Disorder, which is considered less severe only because it does not include major depressive episodes. The duration of depressive episodes, however, is long lasting and is only diagnosed as such when the signs of depression last for 2 or more years with very little changes in mood (Long, 2011). Recent research has indicated that suicide rates are comparable to MDD and while it may appear mild when considered daily its long-term impact can be disastrous. Therefore, the categorization of Dysthymic Disorder as a less severe form of depression has been challenged (Kartakovsky, 2012). Individuals with Bipolar Disorder experience extreme emotions, depression, and mania. A person that displays characteristics of depression, however, that lacks that of mania could suffer from unipolar depression.
Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety Disorders are the most frequently occurring disorders in the general population that affect around 9 percent of the population (Kowalski & Western, 2009). The types of anxiety disorders are generalized anxiety disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Phobias, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, to me, is so devastating due to the population of people frequently impacted by it. Many of our nation’s heroes are often diagnosed with PTSD and oftentimes need treatment before returning back to their normal lives, even after returning home. The televised 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, which was replayed vividly – over and over again, traumatized television viewers who were not even present to experience the event first hand. My mother will, reluctantly, admit to waking up screaming after observing the events of that horrible day. While susceptibility to Anxiety Disorders has been shown to have a hereditary component, Phobias are often learned or are acquired through traumatic experiences. Consider the following story shared by one of my students:
As a child my older cousins called themselves pulling a prank on me. They locked me in the closet with a life sized talking clown that I was totally afraid of. Ever since that day, I cannot be around [clowns], see [clowns], hear [clowns] or even come in contact with [clowns] without freaking out or having a panic attack. – Sunaya Washington
Finally, we will discuss Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD. Understanding this disorder becomes much easier after the two components that define it are understood: Obsessions and Compulsions. Obsessions are anxiety evoking thoughts or concerns about a particular worry. The thoughts or concerns are often things that many of us have expressed concern about at one point. I drop my kids off at their school every weekday and, as I drive back past my home on my way to work, I wonder whether or not I unplugged the clothes iron. This concern has saved me on three or more occasions. However, I am able to say forget it and go on about my day. A person with OCD, however, cannot easily ignore or appease their worry without causing debilitating anxiety. As a result, Compulsions are often formed to eliminate the worry. While I am satisfied upon checking it one time, an individual with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder would not be able to proceed to work without double-checking it. Failure to do so would result in debilitating anxiety that would interfere with the rest of their day. In addition, the double-checking of the iron one-time would not appease the worry and it would result in my double-checking it repetitively. It might also be coupled or embedded in a routine of checking other electronic and potentially dangerous items in my home causing me to be late to teach my first class.
Eating Disorders
The two most popular forms of eating disorders disproportionately affect women. While many have hypothesized that popular media contributes to these disorders in young, intelligent, and motivated girls, conclusive evidence has not been found. However, the images that popular media portrays certainly does have a negative impact on the self-esteem of young and aging women. The two types of eating disorders are Bulimia and Anorexia Nervosa.
Personality Disorders
Personality disorders are disorders that effect daily functioning and relationships with other people. People with personality disorders lack interpersonal skills. The three known personality disorders are Borderline Personality Disorder. Individuals with this disorder tend to show characteristics of self-mutilation. Dissociative Identity Disorder usually is a response to overwhelming psychic pain from severe abuse, rape, or mental separation. Individuals with Antisocial Personality Disorder tend to steal, destroy property and suffer from lack of empathy.
The disorder I found myself really becoming familiar with is Dissociation. I tend to be in class one moment attentive and aware but the next thing I know I am in Miami sitting on the warm white sand beaches sipping on margaritas and watching the waves roll ashore. I never know I am dissociating until I snap back to reality and realize I am no longer sitting or doing what I once though I was. In the movie Precious, the main character would often dissociate only to come back and see that she was still living in the situation that she so badly wanted to escape.


References:
Draft of Summary
Washington, S. (2013, Spring). Assignment 6. Draft of summary submitted in partial fulfillment of Introduction to Experimental (RPS 411).

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