Psychology

Introduction

A psychological disorder is sometimes referred to as a mental disorder. It normally comprises a series or a pattern of behaviour that has an impact and effect on the perceptions of the patient towards the reality of existence. These impacts can impact on the lifestyle as well as create stress and distress in the patient’s life. There is no concrete definition or description of what exactly comprises mental disorders. This is because it exists in many different forms and manifestations.

The diagnosis of psychological disorders normally requires professionals. This is because while the disorder may be similar between two people, the effect and the impact of the disorder might be different between the two people. This is because the psychological disorder is also environmentally influenced.

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This still does not mean that two people with the same disorder put the same environment will behave the same. For these reasons the diagnosis of psychological disorders is normally a multi-test activity. This includes analysis of the individual’s background as well as other scientific based tests such as neuropsy-chronological tests. The doctor must be competent enough to know when to use what test and how to apply.

There are different classifications of the mental disorders. These classifications are quite important as they help the health practitioners and professional to communicate properly and effectively (Schuckit et al., 1997). It also helps in properly grouping together similar form of disorders and therefore ease the treatment methods. The classification also allows for the proper understanding of the natural history and the development of a particular disorder which needs to be studied.

The process of Classification is also crucial for some non medical connected reasons such as for administrative as well as legal documentation and also for the purposes of research. These groupings are sometimes broad based. For instance, a term like psychosis is normally used to describe a wide range of conditions with bizarre characters, delusions as well loss of contact with reality such as schizophrenia.

How diagnosis of psychological disorders is conducted

As said above the process of diagnosing psychological disorder is multi-testing. There is normally need to analyse not only the patient but also the living environment in which the patient lives in (Strakowski et., Al 2001). It also consists of combining both symptoms and signs that the patient has.

In this context, symptoms refer to the subjective part of analysis. This entails what the patient can actually feel as well the feelings that the patient is complaining about. Signs on the other hand are normally objective. This is what another person can see whenever he looks at the patient. The general physical diagnosis of a psychological disorder normally consists of three main parts. These can be briefly summarised as follows:

Basic observations of the patient. This includes looking as physical traits of a person. Such physical traits can include the person’s walking style, his or her skin tone, the voice intonation as well as the ability to hold a normal and decent conversation.
There are also medical observations. These include complex analyses such taking the blood pressure as well as looking for any medical signs of a disease such as anaemia or even swelling of the legs.
Examining the functionality of the various organ systems of the patient’s body. The patient’s functionality of organs such as the heart, the lungs or even the bowels may have a connection with the disorder.

In the process of diagnosing the mental or psychological disorders there are normally challenges that are faced. This is because this process is normally dependent on how the patient shall behave before the doctor. This term paper seeks to analyze the problems that are normally encountered during the process of diagnosing the psychological disorders.

Problems challenges during psychological diagnosis

The challenges affecting the diagnosis of psychological disorders are normally of various categories (Sullivan & Rudnik, 2001). From the clinical perspective it is usually hard to carefully diagnose the patient because in the first place in order to have proper diagnosis, there is need for examining the behaviour of the patient independently.

The patient should be observed when he is not aware that he is actually being observed. Usually when a person is taken to a specialist to be examined there is tendency to behave differently in a manner that might make him not look disturbed. As a result this makes the whole process to be a bit difficult to make a proper diagnosis.

Another problem faced in making these diagnoses stems from the fact that such diagnosis is affected by external factors such as gender, age as well as the nature of the disorder suffered. For instance, in most cases where a patient suffers mood disorders there is normally a very high tendency to be denial. This makes it hard to properly diagnose because the patient will try very hard not to appear moody and consequently end up giving wrong signs.

The problem of age normally affects very young and very old patients. Very old people may have a disorder but just dismiss it for old age. This in turn makes it hard to help them as they perceive what they are going through as inevitable. For very young people it is normally quite hard to clearly describe how they feel. They usually depend on their parents to notice any signs that they might be having these disorders. Furthermore, for very young children the following play a big role in determining the responsiveness towards the disorders.

The frequency of which the sibling as well as the parent report symptoms of anxiety, depression and any other symptoms that the child might be having. There is also the problem of internalizing and also externalizing the behaviour and somatic issues that the child might be having.
The influence on the child that emanates from the family, as well as the disorder factors that affect the Childs adjustment.
The moderating effects of the child’s age on the relationship that exists between factors affecting the child as well as factors affecting the adjustment of the same.
The mediating effect of the primary cognitive appraisal that is found on the relationship that exists between self-esteem of the child and as well as adjustment.

The communication as well as interpersonal feelings and thoughts normally affect the diagnosis process. The self esteem issue normally affects how a person views himself or herself. This makes the person fail to see how the reality actually exists and therefore if it makes him quite over confident the person may fail to seek the medical he should have sought. Where there is failure in communication there normally arises a problem of diagnosis. This is because of the misunderstanding that may occur because of the miscommunication.

Another problem that arises from diagnosing psychological disorders is the fact that you can never measure an actual intensity or degree of one. This means that even if you realize that a certain disorder exists, you cannot actually know or discover how deep that disorder has gone. The problem here is not actually the existence of the disorder but rather the extent to which it has gone deep to affect the patient.

Another problem is achieving a total consensus as to what actually consist of the definition of trauma. The definition of what a trauma is becomes essential for the progress that is to be achieved in the field of what actually causes traumatic stress. This process of creating an all-purpose as well as a general definition which in itself has actually proven remarkably to be difficult to achieve makes it even much more difficult for the clinicians to establish how far the level of the disorder has gone.

Stressors normally vary along several lines of dimensions. This includes a magnitude (which itself sometimes varies on a number of different dimensions such as threat to life, threat of any harm as well as interpersonal loss (Modesto-Lowe & Kranzler, 2001).

At the extremes levels, i.e., catastrophes against some minor hassles or in other cases which for different stressors that may seem to be discrete and qualitatively or to a certain extent distinct. This problem of the definition of what actually constitutes a trauma makes it difficult for the practitioners involved to properly determine the province and constitution of the phenomenon that makes up a trauma.

Another problem occurs where the problem is actually unprecedented and very unfamiliar to the human beings involved. In such a case it is normally difficult to establish what actually the cause of the problem is (Lewis et. al., 1983). In such a case, there becomes need to run several tests on the patient and manage o come up with a conclusion of what the problem might actually be. This has the effect of time consumption which takes quite long and further jeopardizes the health of the involved patient.

Sometimes there is a problem when the actual disorder is in some way or another entangled with another problem. For instance, mental disorder can be together with alcoholism (Kranzler, 1996). In this case the patient who actually comes to be diagnosed comes with the problem of the disorder and may be uncomfortable of telling hi alcoholism history. This makes it quite difficult to understand the actual problem that the patient is particularly going through.

The psychoanalysis theory and psychology

Psychoanalysis is a process of determining the disorders that a person suffers from by examining the personality of that particular person. The term personality in this context refers to combination of the complex set of a person’s emotional as well as the behavioral attribute that normally tends to remain relatively constant while the individual is changing or moving a from situation to another.

Here there is normally a great and heavy dependence and use of psychological as well as psychiatric theories. Generally, these psychological and psychiatric theories normally include the personality of the patient with the mental disorder.

These Psychological and psychiatric theories normally consider the biological as well as environmental or situational factors when offering their explanations of any psychological behavior. Psychoanalytic theories normally state that people affected by psychological disorders normally exists in the unconscious form of those suffering from it.

The theory simply states that sometimes the people with these psychological disorders are not aware of the fact that they are actually suffering from the disorder. This then, places the ball in the court of the doctor or clinician who shall then determine the disorder.

Psychoanalysis as an aid to achieving psychological disorder diagnosis

As a way to treat these problems, Freud invented a technique he called “psychoanalysis” the central idea of psychoanalysis was free association: the patient relaxed completely and talked about whatever came to mind.

By exploring these associations the individual was able to reconstruct the earlier events and bring them to consciousness. Once the patient was conscious of these events, Freud argued that the events would lose their unconscious power and the patient would gain conscious control and freedom in his or her life. The emphasis here is for there to be no pretence by the patient.

Freud later revised his conception of the conscious and unconscious, in a sense redefining the conscious as ego, and splitting the unconscious into the id and superego. It was a term used to describe the great research of biological and psychological drives that urges and impulse that underlie all behavior.

That includes the libido, the full force of sexual energy in the individual, as diffuse and tenacious as the “will to live” found in all animals. The id is permanently unconscious and responds only to what Freud called “the pleasure principle” if it feels good, does it. The superego, in contrast, is the force of self-criticism and conscience and reflects requirements that stem from the individual’s social experience in particular cultural milieu.

The superego arises out of the first great love attachment the child experiences them as judgmental, and ultimately internalizes their values as an ego ideal that is as an ideal conception of what he or she should be. Finally, what Freud called the ego is the conscious personality. It is oriented toward the real world in which the person lives (termed by Freud the “reality principle) and attempts to mediate between the demands of the id and the prohibitions of the superego.

Freud actually believed that these basic conflicts were played out in different ways at different points of the life cycle. Of particular interest to him were the experiences of early childhood. He argues that each infant goes through a series of phases in which the basic drives were oriented around, first, oral drives, then anal drives and finally genital drives.

During the genital stage (around the ages of 3 and 4) the child is sexually attracted to the parent of the opposite sex and views the same sex parent as competition. This is famous Oedipus complex in boys and comparable Electra complex in girls. If the guilt produced by these urges is not handled adequately by the ego, it leaves a lasting imprint on the personality that affects later behavior.

The major tool Freud used to treat these problems was transference, the tendency for past significant relationships to be replayed during current significant relationships to be replayed during current significant relationships. As the relationship with the analyst takes on increasing significance in the patient’s life, the patient will tend to replay with the analyst the earlier relationships that are presently generating the problems (Regier, et al., 1990).

For example, if a patients problems stem from an earlier traumatic relationship with a parent, the patient will tend to create a similar traumatic relationship with the analyst. Treatment then consists of straightening out the current relationship between analyst and patient, which has effect of also straightening out the earlier relationship the patient had with the parent.

While the proceeding is only a brief presentation of psychoanalytic theory, it provides the basic orientation for psychoanalytic explanations of psychological behavior (Preisig et al., 2001). Within the psychoanalytic perspective criminal and delinquent behaviors are attributed to disturbances or malfunctions in the ego or superego.

The id in contrast, is viewed as a constant and in born biologically based source of drives and urges; it does not vary substantially among individuals. These theories normally try to explain the process of psychological behavior as well as any other psychotic behavior that might occur.

Psychoanalytical theorists perceive psychological behavior to be the result of mental conflict of with the psychological may be virtually unaware of. The conflict is always present as an internal conflict between the demands of reason and conscience, and those of instinct. A victory for the instinct can lead to deeds and thoughts which are often socially unacceptable (Moeller et. al., 1998).

Everyone experiences conflict, but some manage to control their instinct better than others. If the conflict is not resolved in a socially acceptable way, it may be expressed in ways that are psychological. Psychologically is seen as one of the outward signs of disease or of problematic resolution of the mental conflict.

As a way to treat these problems, Freud invented a technique he called “psychoanalysis” the central idea of psychoanalysis was free association: the patient relaxed completely and talked about whatever came to mind. By exploring these associations the individual was able to reconstruct the earlier events and bring them to consciousness. Once the patient was conscious of these events, Freud argued that the events would lose their unconscious power and the patient would gain conscious control and freedom in his or her life

Conclusion

While it becomes quite obvious that there are some factors that normally shape the psychology of a person it is also obvious that these factors can sometimes be controlled in order to achieve a proper diagnosis of a psychological disorder that is affecting a particular patient.

In order for proper diagnosis there is need for both the patient as well as the doctor to feel free before each other in order for the diagnosis to occur freely. This is according to the Freudian theory. There are several challenges that normally face the process of psychological diagnosis. These processes are normally affected by different factors.

These factors can normally be grouped in different categories such as age, gender as well as different levels of adaptation towards the disorder. In order to fully solve the issue being brought by these disorders a clinician must fully understand the different tests that are to be involved in making these tests accurate. This means that the clinician has to be conversant with the different levels and types of tests that are to be considered in the diagnosis process.

References

Kranzler, H.R. (1996). Evaluation and Treatment of Anxiety Symptoms and Disorders in Alcoholics. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 57:15–24.

Lewis, C.E., Rice, J., & Helzer, J.E. (1983). Diagnostic interactions: Alcoholism and antisocial personality. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 171:105– 113.

Modesto-Lowe, V., & Kranzler, H.R. (2002). Diagnosis And Treatment Of Alcohol-Dependent Patients With Comorbid Psychiatric Disorders. Alcohol Research & Health, 23:144–149.

Moeller, F.G., Dougherty, D.M. & Lane, S.D. (1998). Antisocial Personality Disorder and Alcohol-Induced Aggression. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 22:1898–1902.

Preisig, M., Fenton, B.T., Stevens, D.E. & Merikangas, K.R. (2001). Familial Relationship Between Mood Disorders And Alcoholism. Comprehensive Psychiatry 42:87–95.

Regier, D.A., Farmer, M.E., & Rae, D.S. (1990). Co Morbidity of Mental Disorders With Alcohol And Other Drug Abuse: Results From The Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) Study. JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association 264:2511–2518.

Schuckit, M.A., Tipp, J.E. & Bucholz, K.K. (1997). The life-time rates of three major mood disorders and four major anxiety disorders in alcoholics and controls. Addiction, 92:1289–1304.

Strakowski, S.M., Delbello, M.P., Fleck, D.E., & Arndt, S. (2000). The impact of substance abuse on the course of bipolar disorder. Biological Psychiatry, 48:477–485.

Sullivan, M.A., & Rudnik-Levin, F. (2001). Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Substance Abuse. Diagnostic and Therapeutic Considerations. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 931:251–270.

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