Clinical Disorder Clinical Psychology and Thesis
Excerpt from Thesis :
This leaves many veterans prone to the condition known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This may be characterized as "an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat." (NIMH, 1) in the particular case of this discussion, military combat is a cause of PTSD that can have devastating long-term outcomes. Indeed, "studies estimate that as many as 500,000 troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan will suffer from some form of psychological injury, with PTSD being the most common." (Eliscu, 58) the outcomes of this condition will run a wide range of symptoms that impact the ability of individuals to cope with the pressures of everyday life, to relate to those who have not experienced the traumas of war, and heightened propensities toward violence, toward crime, toward alcoholism, toward substance abuse and toward depression. Such is to say that the real and tangible outcomes of this condition suggest a detectable sociological problem potentially afflicting in some degree an entire class of Americans.
The discussion above on PTSD reveals a correlation between specific traumatic experiences and the development of pathogenic emotional responses. In some instances, clinicians must attempt to delve into memory which has been obscured by psychoses or what clinical psychology refers to as Dissociative Disorder. Repression is often the most attractive label to apply to those suffering the long-term emotional repercussions of vaguely recalled or completely forgotten trauma, but this might be a flawed approach to treatment of an emotional condition.
According to the study by Gleaves et al. (2004) "amnesia and/or subsequent recovery of memories have been found to be relatively common in studies of clinical populations that experienced childhood sexual and physical abuse." (Gleaves, 4) This is indicative of the long-standing relationship between trauma such as sexual abuse during childhood and psychological conflicts later in life. There are a broad range of resolutions or evasive tactics which individuals might employ to contend with the presence of such experiences in their past. And there is an illustrated pattern wherein memories of such occurrences may be obscured over time. It has been even further argued by advocates of the repression theory that individuals subjected to recurrent abuse may adapt dissociative skills to contend with untenable emotional conditions, thus obscuring such experiences within the adult psyche. Thus, most clinicians believe that repetition of traumatic atrocities is likely to increase the presence and cosmetic pervasion of dissociative tendencies. Habitual sexual abuse is in particular a matter in which victims may be vulnerable to developing the coping mechanisms that banish such experiences to the periphery of the consciousness. Clinicians have consistently engaged in semantic discourse over the parameters by which the Dissociative Disorder is more or less likely under such a condition.
However, through a review of the clinical history and the semantic debate over the relationship between trauma -- especially sexual abuse -- during childhood and the surfacing of psychologically distressing consequences in adulthood, it is evident that the diagnosis of repression is often misapplied. "The term 'dissociative." As applied to these disorders, is better construed as a descriptive label (referring to loss of conscious access to memory) than any pathological process instigated by trauma." (Kilstrom, 36)
Though it is regarded in popular psychology as a relatively common route to evading traumatic experiences, dissociative repression is actually not as easy to assign to subjects as it has appeared. Though there is enough case history to illustrate that memory repression is a phenomenon which does occur under the conditions above mentioned, investigative research on the topic illuminates the proclivity by clinicians and mental health physicians to incorrectly employ it as a catch-all term for characterization of the psychological conflicts incited in a person by forgotten experiences.
A basic understanding of the subject identifies eating disorders as psychological diseases. Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia have replaced, for many emotionally vulnerable young individuals, sound nutritional and physiological patterns of behaviors as a means to weight loss. "A person with anorexia nervosa, often called anorexia, has an intense fear of gaining weight.
Someone with anorexia thinks about food a lot and limits the food she or he eats, even though she or he is too thin. Anorexia is more than just a problem with food. it's a way of using food or starving oneself to feel more in control of life and to ease tension, anger, and anxiety." (1, DHHS) 1
Simply stated, the presence of an eating disorder relating to the stifling of one's dietary needs is generally reflective of some discontent with one's self or one's life. Often, an eating disorder such as anorexia, which the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services identifies as considerably more of a threat to women, will be attached to a host of other mental health symptoms. Among them, an individual may additionally suffer from depression, self-esteem or body image issues or an array of potential symptoms relating to identity and self-perception. There may additionally be present in the familial or childhood background of such an individual a history or an incident of trauma which may consciously or unconsciously relate to the pattern of negative health behaviors. This matter of trauma in one's personal history reflects the nature reflects this recurrent theme in the discussion on clinical psychology.
In many individuals who are driven to afflict themselves through such physically and emotionally devastating behaviors, there is evidence of some internalized shame or self loathing which does again call into relevance the possible impact of some childhood or formative trauma. In addition or alternative to experiencing serious emotional shortcomings in establishing stable and healthy interpersonal relationships, the way that the afflicted individual relates to his or her self is likely to be negatively impacted. As Kaufman (1989) would argue, shame had long been a subject ignored by researchers and clinicians due to its obscurity and its association to the taboos of childhood sexuality. (p. 4) However, the author contends, "the recent acceleration of addictive, abusive, and eating disorders has shifted the focus of attention. These are syndromes in which shame plays a central role, and the new and growing focus on these particular disorders has moved shame into the spotlight." (Kaufman, 1989, p. 4) the correlation in one manner or another drawn between consumption habits and a personal sense of shame turns the sufferer's attention from personal relationships to a relationship with one's health and body. To the latter, the close association between negative body image and the onset of eating disorder cycles is directly evidenced.
Depression, Bipolar Disorder and other major depressive disorders can have a debilitating impact on the life of the sufferer. The persistent symptoms that include intense melancholy, self-destructive behavior, manic emotional inconsistency and the damaging of personal relationships can impede upon the desires or ability of the sufferer to engage in normal everyday activities.
Here, the article by Blanco et al. (2002) brings the benefits of pharmaceutical treatment as a clinical approach to bipolar depression to this discussion, considering the often severe condition as one which is generally treated by therapy, medication and, where necessary, institutionalization. The nature of its symptoms and treatment approach tends to discourage a social-cognitive approach primarily due to the combined evidence of progress made by medicating those with the condition and to the danger imminent in failing to address such conditions. Indeed, according to the article by Blanco et al., "in the last decade, a number of pharmacological agents have shown efficacy in the treatment of bipolar disorder, and several guidelines have been published to suggest appropriate clinical management." (Blanco, 1003). Without clinical treatment, patients with depression or bipolar disorder face substantial distress and impairment and have a significant risk of morbidity and mortality." (Blanco et al., 1006) the dangers of suicide, self-abuse or erratic social interaction which may be associated with bipolarity suggest that clinical therapy and course of treatment might be the only realistic approach for some such sufferers.
Schizophrenia is one of the more challenging disorders faced by clinical psychologists. As denoted in the text by Craddock et al. (2005), even pinning down its cause can be extremely daunting for the clinical psychology. As Craddock et al. indicate, this disorder is shrouded in uncertainty based on the continuing dialogue invested in defining its causes. Today, theories promote a whole of myriad of explanations, among them, the argument that "future identification of psychosis susceptibility genes will have a major impact on our understanding of disease pathophysiology and will lead to changes in classification and the clinical practice of psychiatry." (Craddock et al., 193) This is an important part of defining clinical treatment…
Sources Used in Documents:
Blanco, C.; Laje, G.; Olfson, Marcus, S.C. & Pincus, H.A. (2002). Trends in the treatment of bipolar disorder by outpatient psychiatrists. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 159(6), 1005-1011.
Craddock, N.; O'Donovan, M.C. & Owen, M.J. (2005). The genetics of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder: dissecting psychosis. Journal of Medical Genetics, 42, 193-204.
Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS)1. (2006). Anorexia Nervosa. Women's Health.gov
Ellenberger, H. (1970). Discovery of the Unconscious. New York: Basic Books.
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