Putting It Together: Psychological Disorders

Learning Objectives

In this module, you learned to

  • define psychological disorders and explain how they are classified
  • describe the features and characteristic symptoms of anxiety disorders (generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias), obsessive-compulsive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder; differentiate these anxiety disorders from each other
  • describe the characteristic symptoms and risk factors of mood disorders, including major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder
  • explain symptoms and potential causes of schizophrenic and dissociative disorders
  • define personality disorders and distinguish between the three clusters of personality disorders
  • explain common childhood disorders, including attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder

This module covered a lot of ground and gave you a foundation for understanding psychological disorders. If you are interested in learning more, there are entire courses on abnormal psychology and classes on specific mental illnesses as well. In this module, you learned about how mental disorders are defined and classified using the DSM-V, and how psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals identify mental illnesses. One tendency while reading through this material is for students to self-diagnose, as it is easy to identify with various descriptions of mental disorders. Be wary of self-diagnosis as you may see symptoms that aren’t there, or miss symptoms or signs of something more serious. If you do think you may be suffering from a mental illness (defined as significant disturbances in thoughts, feelings, and behaviors causing impairment in one’s life), then please seek for help from a counselor, doctor, or other trained professional. Hopefully, your reading from this module has also helped you to better understand mental illness and be less inclined to judge or stigmatize those who are suffering from or managing an illness.

Watch It

To quickly review the main disorders from your reading, take a moment to consider how you might visually or artistically represent each of the disorders.

Watch It

Watch this video from architect and graphic designer Federico Babina to see his interpretation of various mental disorders. How might you change or alter his depictions, or what would you add to this list?