Overview of Course
Have you ever suspected that your friend has an eating disorder, wondered if that homeless person on the street is schizophrenic, or speculated that your aunt has OCD? Have you considered why a behavior that is normal in one culture might be considered a disorder in another culture? If so, you have thought about abnormal psychology.
Abnormal psychology examines the nature, causes, and treatment of different psychological disorders. This includes, but is not limited to: anxiety disorders, mood disorders, trauma-related problems, psychotic disorders, personality disorders, somatic symptom disorders, dissociative disorders, developmental disorders, and cultural syndromes.
This class will discuss mental health issues, including how culture and social institutions influence the definition and treatment of human distress. We will consider how mental health diagnoses are associated with social identities related to gender, race/ethnicity, social class and status, and sexual orientation, and how mental health problems are related to discrimination, violence, and social injustice. Students will be encouraged to consider the role of stigma in mental illness. We will also take a critical look at the current diagnostic systems for conceptualizing problems around the world.