Thread: Psychology
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Old Friday, July 13, 2007
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stuttering

stuttering or stammering,speech disorder marked by hesitation and inability to enunciate consonants without spasmodic repetition. Known technically as dysphemia, it has sometimes been attributed to an underlying personality disorder. About half of all those who have speech and voice defects suffer from stuttering or stammering (the terms are used interchangeably). In 65% of people who stutter, there is a family history of the disorder, thus suggesting a genetic link. Studies with twins have also indicated that inheritance has an important role in stuttering; comparing pairs in which at least one twin stuttered, it has been found that identical twins were much more likely to be stutterers than fraternal twins (see multiple birth). Brain scans of stutterers have found higher than normal activity in brain areas that coordinate conscious movement, suggesting that in people who stutter speech occurs less automatically than it does in most people.

In many instances the speech disturbance appears to be precipitated by such situations as a change of surroundings, the advent of a younger child in the family, or by a family environment in which parents are overly concerned with childhood speech interruptions, which occur normally. Negative reactions to the stuttering frequently create feelings of inadequacy and anxiety, which, in turn, intensify the condition. Parents with young children who stutter have been urged by specialists to help their children develop positive attitudes about themselves and their speech. Older stutterers are taught to understand what processes interfere with fluent speech and to speak without the disruptions caused by tension. Psychiatric treatment and group psychotherapy have been helpful for many.



schizophrenia

group of severe mental disorders characterized by reality distortions resulting in unusual thought patterns and behaviors. Because there is often little or no logical relationship between the thoughts and feelings of a person with schizophrenia, the disorder has often been called “split personality.” However, the condition should not be confused with multiple personality, a disorder in which the individual has two or more distinct personalities that dominate at different times.

In 1896, the German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin grouped what were previously considered unrelated mental diseases under the term dementia praecox. It was not until 1908, however, that an influential essay by Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler corrected Kraepelin's theory that the disease was an organic brain deterioration and thus incurable. Bleuler introduced the term schizophrenia to replace dementia praecox, emphasizing the dissociative phenomena in the mind and avoiding the implications of early onset and progressive brain deterioration.

Schizophrenic disorders generally begin in the late teenage years or early adulthood and tend to occur in withdrawn, seclusive individuals. The lifetime prevalence worldwide has been estimated to be just under 1%, and the disorder affects 1.5 to 2 million people in the United States alone. Symptoms include disturbances of thought, both in form and content, and disturbances of perception, most commonly appearing as visual or aural hallucinations.

There are five major types of schizophrenia listed by the American Psychiatric Association in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The most severe are disorganized (hebephrenic) schizophrenia, characterized by hallucinations, delusions, inappropriate laughing and crying, incoherent speech, and infantile behavior; and catatonic schizophrenia, characterized by physical rigidity or hyperactivity. Paranoid schizophrenics can often function relatively normally, although they may be disturbed by persecutory delusions and hallucinations, and they tend to exhibit argumentative behavior. The presence of a combination of symptoms from other types is classified as undifferentiated schizophrenia. Residual schizophrenia is constituted by minor symptoms, which occur as an active episode diminishes.

The cause of schizophrenia is unknown. Genetic factors appear to be involved in producing susceptibility to the condition, with studies among identical twins showing a 30%–50% concordance rate, a figure that has been confirmed by the results of adoption studies. Biochemical research suggests that high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, or excessive numbers of receptors for dopamine, may be at the root of schizophrenia. Medical imaging studies have revealed various physical and physiological anomalies in some patients. Other research has focused on mistiming of neural responses to stimuli in the brain. Many researchers maintain that a combination of influences, including such environmental factors as viral illness or malnutrition in the patient's mother during pregnancy, may lead to schizophrenia,

Antipsychotic drugs, sometimes in conjunction with psychotherapy, have greatly improved the treatment of schizophrenia. Hospitalization is sometimes needed initially to provide basic personal needs (safety, food, and hygiene) while acute symptoms are treated. Most patients return to the community with varying degrees of independence and with good prospects for long-term remission of symptoms.


seasonal affective disorder

seasonal affective disorder (SAD), recurrent fall or winter depression characterized by excessive sleeping, social withdrawal, depression, overeating, and pronounced weight gain. SAD effects an estimated 6% of Americans; for reasons not yet understood, 80% of those affected are women. Most children who are affected have a close relative who also has SAD or another psychiatric condition. The disorder particularly affects people who live in the upper latitudes.

Although the mechanism of the disorder is not perfectly understood, it is known to be a reaction to the biological effects of light on the body (see biorhythm). Daily, or circadian, rhythms help animals keep track of the seasonal changes in the environment, such as the shortening of days in winter, so that they can make the adaptive changes necessary for their survival in each season. Two substances, the hormone melatonin and the neurotransmitter serotonin, are a part of this process and are being studied for a possible role in SAD. Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland, which is in turn controlled by an area (the suprachiasmatic nuclei) of the hypothalamus; the hypothalamus, among other things, performs a clocklike function in the body. The eye's retinal nerves are connected to this area. Melatonin is secreted chiefly at night, and its secretion is suppressed by light. Secretion of the neurotransmitter serotonin declines in the winter and may undergo abnormal declines in those with SAD; concentrations of serotonin are increased by bright light. Serotonin is especially active in the hypothalamus. Decreased sensitivity of the retina has also been implicated as a cause of SAD.

Treatment with bright light (about five to twenty times brighter than normal lighting) often alleviates symptoms within a period of days. Unwieldy lighting paraphernalia has given way to smaller, portable light boxes and lighted visors. Doses range from 30 minutes to a few hours per day, often undergone in the morning to simulate the dawn.


shock therapy

in psychiatry, treatment of mood disorders by means of electricity; the broader term “shock therapy” also includes the use of chemical agents. The therapeutic possibilities of these treatments were discovered in the 1930s by Manfred Sakel, a Polish psychiatrist, using insulin; L. J. Meduna, an American psychiatrist, using Metrazol; and Ugo Cerletti and Lucio Bini, Italian psychiatrists, using electric shock. Metrazol and insulin accounted for a very limited number of remissions in cases of schizophrenia. However, the injection of insulin often caused coma, while Metrazol and electric shock resulted in convulsions similar to those of epileptics.

Advances in electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) have made it the standard mechanism of shock therapy. ECT has had unquestionable success with involutional melancholia and other depressive disorders, although it may be ineffective or only temporarily effective. ECT is generally employed only after other therapies for depression, mania, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia have proven ineffective. The administration of anesthetics and muscle relaxants prior to ECT has greatly reduced the risk of injury during the procedure, which is typically administered six to eight times over a period of several weeks. The seizure lasts for up to 20 seconds, and the patient can be up and about in about an hour. Long-term memory loss is the main significant potential side effect; headache and temporary short-term memory loss may occur. Why ECT works, however, is still not fully understood, but it may be the result of neurotransmitters released in the brain as a result of the seizure.



telepathy

telepathy, supposed communication between two persons without recourse to the senses. The word was formulated in 1882 by Frederic William Henry Myers, English poet, essayist, and a leading founder of the Society for Psychical Research in London. Telepathy experiments have been conducted in Europe, the Soviet Union, and the United States, but the phenomenon remains unproved.


unconscious

unconscious, in psychology, that aspect of mental life that is separate from immediate consciousness and is not subject to recall at will. Sigmund Freud regarded the unconscious as a submerged but vast portion of the mind. In his view, the unconscious was composed of the id, which accounts for instinctual drives, acts as the motivating force in human behavior, and contains desires and wishes that the individual hides—or represses—from conscious recognition; and part of the superego, the system that acts to restrain and control id impulses. Conscious cognitive processes, such as thinking, are performed by the ego and part of the superego. Conflict between conscious and unconscious impulses are said to give rise to anxiety, then to defense mechanisms, which counteract this anxiety. To tap the unconscious, Freud used a variety of techniques, including hypnosis, free association, and dream interpretation. C. G. Jung expanded on the Freudian concept, adding the idea of an inherited unconscious, known as the collective unconscious. The idea of the unconscious has been rejected by some psychological schools, although it is still used by many psychoanalysts. The term unconscious is also used to describe latent, or unretrieved, memories, or to describe stimuli too weak to enter an individual's conscious awareness.




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Note : This thread contains almost terms and structures of the subject. If any point has been missed, You can contact me
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Ref :The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2007, Columbia University Press
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