Psychology A-level summer homework HELP!

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fairlyemily
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Could someone please tell me what the main problems with the classification of mental illness are? Google hasn't helped so far and i'm a bit lost.
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TSR Jessica
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Sorry you've not had any responses about this. Are you sure you’ve posted in the right place? Posting in the specific Study Help forum should help get responses.

I'm going to quote in Tank Girl now so she can move your thread to the right place if it's needed. :yy:

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username2110825
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(Original post by fairlyemily)
Could someone please tell me what the main problems with the classification of mental illness are? Google hasn't helped so far and i'm a bit lost.
I'm guessing you're familiar with the DSM-IV, but just in case - that's a reference book psychologists use to diagnose mental disorders (short for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.)

There are problems with using it, mainly;
1. Normal problems can be made into an illness; for example an inattentive and unfocussed child could be diagnosed with ADHD or something when there are other factors at work. It's worth noting - homosexuality used to be listed as one as well for the same reasons; it has been revised four times because diagnosis can be subjective.

2. Minor problems like drinking too much caffeine and causing sleep-inducing problems can be likened by people to things like bipolar disorder unfairly.

3. Diagnosing someone can cause a self-fulfilling prophecy; that child diagnosed with ADHD might really have just been going through a phase, but the reinforcement by the parents and other adults that they have this problem will make it harder to overcome than if they hadn't been diagnosed and didn't have the mental disorder considered part of their personality.

4. The use of the DSM makes diagnosis seems scientific when in reality it is a completely subjective decision.
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kennz
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(Original post by fairlyemily)
Could someone please tell me what the main problems with the classification of mental illness are? Google hasn't helped so far and i'm a bit lost.
3 definitions of abnormalities: (note these are the 3 I learned and there are more)
ideal mental health: So being able to cope with stressful situations, having high self esteem and being able to adapt to new surroundings.
weaknesses: This definition attempts to classify mental disorders in a similar way to physical illnesses, but things like broken legs have definite signs whereas people with depression May hide it do its harder to spot.

failure to function adequately: Mental illnesses usually interfere with everyday life e.g. A person may be depressed for a short period of time due to grieving, but still eats and goes to work whilst another depressive may refuse to eat or go outside.
weaknesses: Who judges when someones abnormality prevents them from everday life? Some people May just be doing other things. Schizophrenics commonly believe they are fine but are not, so its hard to see

deviation from social norm: This one is very easy to critique as being different from the average person is not a bad thing and is usually embraced nowadays. But there's no question that people with severe mental illnesses differ from others e.g. Some people with autism may come into school in beach clothes as a joke, but no one else does.
weaknesses: There is no clear line between abnormal behaviour and just being different. Also, the contexts and degree of being different vary, e.g. Wearing small amounts of clothing at the beach is fine but at school its very wrong. Also, culturally the social norms differ quite drastically, in the UK, eating little may be anorexia, but in countries with not much food, it might make you a strong survivor.
Someone also mentioned the DSM- 50 years ago homosexuality was a mental illness so you can see how if incorrectly classifies people.
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