Psychological disorder

In a study by Myers (2008), ‘‘Psychological disorder is an enduring patterns of thoughts, feelings and actions that is abnormal, distressful and dysfunctional’’. In this definition, defiant behavior reflects divergence from regular way of life. An example of a deviant behavior is a person who has decided to go on a shooting spree.

This is an abnormal behavior but to qualify it as a psychological disorder, then it must cause distress to the person in question or those in the vicinity. An extreme level of distress is dangerous since it can lead to suicide.

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Also incorporated in the definition of a psychological disorder is its dysfunctional concept. An explicit example of a dysfunctional behavior is a student who does not respond to questions in a classroom environment. Such a student is against the normal participatory learning evident in class. In this sense, such a behavior which tempers with daily operations is termed as a disorder.

The medical model

Intense medical research reveals that syphilis has an adverse effect on the brain. This finding prompted further scientific research to unearth the reasons behind vast mental disorder. The research also aimed at discovering probable treatment for mental disorder. Medical model came as a substitute to mad-houses. It operates by running a diagnosis based on symptoms.

The medical cure for mental disorder is the use of therapeutic measures available in a hospital setting such as psychiatric hospital. Latest research findings bring to light contribution made by abnormal brain development to disorders. Furthermore, biochemistry plays a role in the normal operation of life.

Psychosocial Approach

This approach justifies the role of Biology in psychological disorder. It strictly alienates itself from environment availed by a given society, culture and past description of a person. Myers (2008) visibly points out interactivity of society, psychology, culture and biology in the formation of specific opinions, feelings and deeds.

This means that environmental factors in conjunction with thoughts, habits and shared expertise have a pivotal role in forming a psychological disorder structure. People in a varied social- cultural background experience different levels and kinds of stress which may lead to disorder. For this reason, they invent their own ways of counteracting the stress.

A common observation about disorders is its anxiety level. On the contrary, disorders demonstrate diverse symptoms depending on cultures. To elaborate on this point is a scrutiny by Myers (2008), ‘‘that anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa occur mostly in North America and other Western cultures’’.

An observable disorder occurring world wide is depression and schizophrenia which are characterized by illogical behavior. The victim also speaks unsteadily. All factors considered, we can conclude that biopsychosocial stand requires an in-depth understanding not only of genetic make up but also of community, culture, physiology, and inner psychology of a person.


The aim of DSM-IV-TR is to describe a disorder and make a rough approximation of the number of times they transpire. The five axes of the DSM-IV-TR assist clinician in diagnosing psychological disorder. These axes as researched by Myers (2008) are:

Is the clinical syndrome present?
Is a personality disorder or mental retardation present?
Is a general medical condition such as diabetes, hypertension or arthritis also present?
Are psychosocial or environmental problems such as school or housing issues also present?
What is the global assessment of this persons functioning?

One of the advantages attached to DSM-IV-TR is its reliability level. This means that a diagnosis made by one psychologist will give the same result as the one made by different psychologist or health worker not to mention a psychiatrist. The labels by DSM-IV-TR assist mental health professionals to explain the causes of mental disorders and be able to find treatment.

However, DSM-IV-TR has been criticized for including many behaviors on the range of analysis. To add on this, as the number of disorder categories increase, many adults are seen to fit in. Other complaints relates to the labels which reflects the judgment by society and may distort the actual reality. An example is a person classified or labeled as humble when in reality is an arrogant individual. This person will always assume a humble behavior as expected by the society and not that real arrogant individual.


Myers, D. (2008). Psychology in Everyday life. New York, NY: worth Publishers.


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