Categories for Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Essay

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Essay

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a form of anxiety disorder which is characterized by both compulsions and obsessions. The obsessions are experienced in form of recurrent, unwanted and disturbing images, thoughts, or impulses which usually pop into the minds of individuals causing them a lot of distress and anxiety (Hyman & Pedrick, 2009). This results in compulsions which are repetitive intentional behaviors that are done in a bid to reduce the anxiety brought about by the obsessions. The onset of the disorder is earlier among men than among women (Jakes, 1996).

In addition, the condition is more common in whites than in blacks and social class does not influence development of the condition (Jakes, 1996). In children, Strep throat is known to trigger onset of the condition or worsen the condition (Jakes, 1996). This is a case of autoimmunity where the antibodies produced to fight streptococci attacks basal ganglia. There are several ways in which the disease is manifested and an individual could have either a single manifestation or multiple manifestations.

One grouping of OCD is referred to as checkers and individuals who fall under this category have compulsions to keep on checking things which could be locks, doors, and appliances in order to prevent potential disasters. They do this because they are afraid of disasters befalling themselves and others due to something they do or they do not do (Hyman & Pedrick, 2009). Another manifestation is in form of washers and cleaners. Individuals who fall under this category have the tendency to repeatedly keep on showering, washing their hands, and cleaning the surroundings.

This is because they are afraid and worried about contamination by germs and dirt (Hyman & Pedrick, 2009). Orderers form another manifestation of OCD where individuals under this category feel compelled to do things in a given, exact way. For example an individual would be obsessed with arranging clothes in a given way. The other group is known as pure obsessionals and individuals in this group keep on having repetitive thoughts which could be in form of counting, praying, or repetition of certain words (Hyman & Pedrick, 2009).

These compulsions result from troubling intrusive thoughts and images where they think and see themselves harming or endangering others and this leaves them horrified (Hyman & Pedrick, 2009). Another grouping of individuals with OCD comprises of individuals with scrupulosity. People under this category are obsessed with moral and religious issues and will compulsively pray or engage in religious services. The last manifestation is in form of hoarders where individuals in this category will collect things which others consider as trash or junk.

In most cases, these individuals cannot explain why exactly they collect the items and they usually tend to develop an attachment to these items such that they cannot throw them away (Hyman & Pedrick, 2009). The cause of the condition is thought to be genetic but environmental factors do modify its manifestation. Researchers believe that multiple genes are involved in its transmission from generation to generation and these genes are responsible for modifying brain function (Hyman & Pedrick, 2009).

When these genes are inherited, they cause variations in brain structure, circuitry, and neurochemistry and this inclines one to develop OCD. According to research statistics, the rate of OCD among family members where one individual has the condition is higher than among members of families where no relative has the condition (Hyman & Pedrick, 2009). In addition, for majority of the people where the condition appears in childhood, there is usually a blood relative with the condition leading to confirmation that genetic factors are involved. Apart from genetics, environmental factors also play a role in the development of the condition.

If individuals who are genetically predisposed to development of the condition are subjected to factors in the environment that stress them, then they are more likely to develop the condition. These stressing factors include childhood neglect, family stress, death, physical trauma, psychological trauma, illness, and divorce (Hyman & Pedrick, 2009). In addition, people who are genetically predisposed to development of the condition can develop the disease as they go through major transitions in life which could be adolescence, marriage, retirement or parenthood.

Studies have shown that serotonin is involved in the development of OCD (Hyman & Pedrick, 2009). Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which enables communication between brain cells. In people with OCD, brain imaging reveals abnormalities in some areas of the brain and these are usually the basal ganglia, the cingulate gyrus, the thalamus, and orbital cortex (Hyman & Pedrick, 2009). These are the brain areas that are involved in the following: processing of information received from the world, sorting of this information based on importance, they enable one to concentrate on tasks being undertaken, and they also alert one to danger.

For people who have this condition, these brain areas work overtime, and they focus on ideas and thoughts that are intrusive which under normal circumstances would be filtered out (Hyman & Pedrick, 2009). There are several signs and symptoms that characterize OCD. Though the objects of obsession vary slightly from individual to individual, the manifestations of the disorder are usually the same. One of these is obsession and compulsions which usually take more than an hour each day and which interferes with the individuals’ normal lives (Domino, 2007).

The obsessions are usually recurrent and the patients usually try to ignore the thoughts or they neutralize these thoughts with compulsions. The individuals with these compulsions and obsessions usually have no other mental disorders (Domino, 2007). The compulsions are also repetitive and deliberate and they are aimed at neutralizing the obsessive thoughts. There are usually no specific tests for this condition and diagnosis is usually based on presence of the above signs and symptoms after which differential diagnosis is made (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2008).

After OCD is confirmed, several tests are done to determine severity and nature of the compulsions and obsessions. They include the Maudley obsessional compulsive inventory, the Yale brown Obsessive compulsive scale, and Leyton obsessional inventory (Domino, 2007). There is need for differential diagnosis in people suspected to have this condition. Distinguishing this condition from other disorders such as mood disorders, other anxiety disorders, impulsive spectrum disorders, Padua inventory, obsessive compulsive personality disorders (OCPD), impulsive spectrum disorders, and delusional disorders can be challenging.

Accurate diagnosis requires a careful evaluation of an individual’s history. There is need to differentiate depression caused by OCD from that caused by others factors. It is also important to differentiate between OCD and trichotillomania where in trichotillomania just like in OCD individuals get relief out of pulling their hair but have no obsessive thoughts (Hollander & Stein, 1997). Another condition requiring differential diagnosis is schizophrenia which is also characterized by obsession and rituals though the rituals in schizophrenic individuals are usually purposeless (Hollander & Stein, 1997).

In addition, other symptoms of schizophrenia are absent. Since some OCD patients also experience panic attacks, this can make OCD to be confused with panic disorder. However, OCD panic attacks are secondary to obsessional fears (Hollander & Stein, 1997). Differential diagnosis between OCD and OCPD is also required since OCPD patients exhibit symptoms that are similar to those of OCD such as preoccupation with orderliness and perfectionism (Hollander & Stein, 1997).

However, in OCPD there is no obsession and compulsions. Borderline personality disorder may also be confused with OCD as patients also experience strong feelings and thoughts about certain issues. There are several approaches that are employed in the care of OCD patients. The treatments used include behavioral therapies, medications and cognitive behavioral therapy. Medications used are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and they include sertraline, paroxetine, cilatopram, and fluvoxamine (Domino, 2007).

Medications are usually combined with cognitive behavioral therapy. The behavioral therapies usually include exposure therapy and ritual prevention therapy. For ritual prevention, the patients are helped to resist urges to engage in compulsive behavior for long while in exposure therapy individuals are subjected to the factors that compel them to behave compulsively and then helped to resist the urges (Hollander & Stein, 1997).

Cognitive behavioral therapy involves helping the patients to change their negative thoughts and behaviors. At other times, cognitive behavioral therapy is administered to a group. Response to treatment varies with age where medications are less effective in children and adolescents while adults respond well to treatment with a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and medications (Hollander & Stein, 1997). References Domino, F. J. (2007). The 5-minute clinical consult. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams &

Wilkins. Hollander, E. & Stein, D. J. (1997). Obsessive compulsive disorders: diagnosis, etiology treatment. London: Informa health care Hyman, B. C. & Pedrick, C. (2009). Obsessive compulsive disorder. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publishing Group, Inc. Jakes, I. (1996). Theoretical approaches to obsessive compulsive disorder. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. (2008). Nurse’s 3-minute clinical reference. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder Essay

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder Essay

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) is a personality disorder which is characterized by a pervasive pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency (Taber, 1968). This pattern begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts. Individuals with Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder attempt to maintain a sense of control through painstaking attention to rules, trivial details, procedures, lists, schedules, or form to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost (Criterion 1).

OCPD and OCD are often confused as they are thought of as being similar. There is, however, a great difference between the two conditions. A person with OCD experience tremendous anxiety related to specific preoccupations, which are perceived as threatening. Within the condition OCPD it is one’s dysfunctional philosophy which produces anxiety, anguish and frustration (Phillipson). History of Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder: Back in the early 1900s, Freud observed and treated patients with OCPD.

From his findings, he noted, “persons with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder are characterized by the three ‘peculiarities’ of orderliness [which include cleanliness and conscientiousness], parsimony, and obstinacy.

” He also called it, “a neurosis connected with difficulties at the anal phase in psychosexual development,” and made a distinction between Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which he referred to as a “symptomatic neurosis” and OCPD, which he referred to as a “character neurosis” (Skodol & Gunderson, 2009).

In 1918, Ernest Jones went on to describe someone afflicted with OCPD as being overly concerned with money, cleanliness, and time. The observations from these men were important at the time, because not much was known about this disorder. Literature begot the term “anal character”, combining the character (personality) neurosis (anxiety), and according to Freud, OCPD begins development in the anal phase of development (Skodal & Gunderson, 2009). Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder tends to occur in families, so genes may be involved.

A person’s childhood and environment may also play roles. As with all personality disorders, the person must be at least 18 years old before they can be diagnosed. OCPD is approximately twice as prevalent in males then females, and occurs in about 1 percent of the general population. It is seen in 3 to 10 percent of psychiatric outpatients. Like most personality disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder typically will decrease in intensity with age, with many people experiencing few of the most extreme symptoms by the time they are in the 40s or 50s.

Their ability to work with others is equally affected, since they have symptoms perfectionism. This perfectionism may interfere with the person’s ability to complete tasks, because their standards are so rigid. People with this disorder may emotionally withdraw when they are not able to control a situation. This can interfere with their ability to solve problems and form close relationships.

Personality disorders such as Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder are typically diagnosed by a trained mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. Psychological test that may help diagnose this condition include: •The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM IV Disorders (SCID II) •The Schedule for Non-Adaptive and Adaptive Personality (SNAP) Treatment options for Obsessive-Compulsion Personality Disorder include medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (Prozac) may help reduce some of the anxiety and depression from this disorder.

However, talk therapy (psychotherapy) is thought to be the most effective treatment for this condition. •Psychodynamic psychotherapy helps patients understand their thoughts and feelings. •Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can also help. In some cases, medications combined with talk therapy may be the more effective than either treatment alone. Hospitalization is rarely needed for people with this disorder, unless an extreme or severe stressor or stressful life event occurs which increases the compulsive behaviors to an extent where regular daily activities are halted or present possible risks of harm to the patient.

Many support groups exist within communities throughout the world which are devoted to helping individuals with this disorder share their common experiences and feelings. Such support groups are recommended to individuals suffering from this disorder, especially if they found therapy unhelpful or too expensive. Many people with Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder don’t seek treatment. People with personality disorders, in general, do not often seek out treatment until the disorder starts to significantly interfere or otherwise impact a person’s life.

I think that the outlook for people with Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder tends to be better than that for other personality disorders. The four major complications for OCPD are: anxiety, depression, difficulty moving forward in career situations and difficulties in relationships. I strongly believe that being informed about this condition’s manifestations, people can better seek appropriate treatment.

Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in Military Personnel Essay

Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in Military Personnel Essay

Post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS) is defined as a psychological disorder which arises from life-threatening experiences; affecting the physical or emotional state of the individual. Examples of these experiences are motor accidents; natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and the like; man-made tragedies such as plane crash and hijacking; abusive experiences in childhood; traumatic personal experience such as rape or torture; and violent military associated events. The symptoms associated with this disorder include those homologous to anxiety attacks or depression.

The patient will also experience sleeping problems, emotional numbness, psychological catatonia, lack of affection for other people and even aggressiveness.

One outstanding symptom of PTSS patients is avoidance of specific places and situations that is associated to the primary cause of the disorder. Since these will trigger memories related to their traumatic experience, it is of utmost importance for them to avoid any contact and encounter with these scenarios. Also, the patient usually has recurrent flashbacks or hallucinations of this particular, damaging event (University of Virginia Health System, 2007).

Post traumatic stress syndrome can be observed in a varied class of individuals: regardless of sex, age, culture or economic status. In short, PTSS can be observed in any kind of character, given enough dose of traumatic experience. In the United States, the percentage of the population affected by PTSS is estimated to be between 1% to 12%. It was estimated that around 7. 7 million Americans are suffering from PTSS and that 30% of individuals who were in war-stricken areas will suffer from PTSS (University of Virginia Health System, 2007).

In specific classes in society, PTSS is observed to occur at 0. 2% in post partum women, 18% in fire fighters, 34% in adults involved in vehicular accidents, 48% in female rape victims and 67% in prisoners of war. (Lange, 2000) In this paper, the impact of this phenomenon will be studied on military personnel: the factors contributing to the advent of the disorder, the statistics of military personnel with PTSS, the medical intervention and treatment used for PTSS and the effectiveness of the treatment used by the military to cure PTSS.

History of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in the US Military: Various Wars through the Years Post Traumatic Syndrome in military personnel was correlated with a number of pre-military, military and post-military factors. These three pertain to the background of the soldier before joining the military, the activities one engaged in as a military personnel and one’s life after military service. For pre-military risk factors, some of these were emotional instability, age of entry into the military, past child abuse, minority status, socioeconomic status, substance abuse and years of education.

For military risk factors, these were degree of atrocities witnessed or participated in of a soldier, combat exposure, captivity, injury in combat and danger threatening the soldier’s life. Post-military risk factors, on the other hand, include time of discharge from the military, substance abuse, available social support and socioeconomic status (Bremmer, 2005). Post traumatic stress syndrome was first observed in war veterans who were assigned in the war against Vietnam during the 1980’s. This was the first time the scientific and psychological community acknowledge this disorder.

Since PTSS was not yet known to the world, it was initially called battle fatigue and shell shock (University of Virginia Health System, 2007). In this war, it was estimated by the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Survey (NVVRS) that 15. 2% of male veterans and 8. 1% of female veterans; 479,000 out of 3,140,000 and 610 out of 7,200, respectively; were diagnosed with PTSS during a two year study in 1986. In terms of delinquency observed in these Vietnam War veterans, almost half of male soldiers who were diagnosed with PTSS were arrested or jailed at least once after their diagnosis.

The percentage of those who were convicted was estimated to be at 11. 5%. In 2004, there were around 161,000 veterans who are still receiving PTSS disability compensation from the government. But even before this decade, military men and women had already suffered from war-related disorders. In World War II, it was estimated by the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that in every 20 deployed military, there was one individual who suffered PTSS-related symptoms such as irritability, nightmares and flashbacks.

The actual number of PTSS affected soldiers was estimated to be at 25,000 based on the number indicated by the Department of Veterans Affairs back in 2004. These soldiers were still receiving PTSS disability compensation from the department during this time. A prisoner of World War II’s (POW) tendency to developed PTSS was also investigated by various studies long after the war was over. According to Speed, 50% of those who were involved in WW II developed PTSS a year after the war and 29% still developed PTSS even after 40 years (Speed, 1989).

Meanwhile, in terms of recovery, Klusnik determined that among the 188 POW who suffered PTSS, only 36 of them had recovered from the disorder (Klusnik, 1986). If the war between Korea and the United States will be considered, the approximate percentage of soldiers who suffered PTSS is around 30%, according to an independent study by a Korean researcher. The Persian Gulf War back in 1991 is also noteworthy to mention. This war was also an avenue for soldiers to suffer post traumatic stress syndrome.

In 1999, a study conducted by Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found out that among the 697,000 soldiers deployed to this war, there was an increasing number of soldiers who were suffering from the disorder. Initially, the rate of PTSS development for men and women were 3% and 8%, respectively. But after 18 to 24 months of returning to the United States of America, the rate increased from 7% to 16%. In the recent years, wars launched against Iraq and Afghanistan were enough reasons for the government to revive studies focusing on PTSS and its impact on the soldiers deployed to this heavily-bombarded countries.

In Afghanistan, it was showed that 18% of the 45,880 soldiers deployed to this country suffered some kind of psychological disorder (PD), while the number of PTSS cases reached 188. In Iraq, from the 155,000 US soldiers in this country, 20% were diagnosed with PD and 1,641 were with PTSS. Women personnel who were affected with this disorder was from 8%-10% (Epstein & Miller, 2005). When these data are combined, 46. 4% of soldiers sent to Iraq and Afghanistan suffered PTSS in 2007, totalling to 40,000 cases in a five-year period.

The distribution of the cases is as follows: for the Air Force-2,476; Army-28,365; Navy-2,884; and Marines-5,641 (Morgan, 2008). Treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome from the Military A special division of the US government is devoted to treating PTSS patients, and this is the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Through the years, since the late 1970’s, VA had developed programs that continuously monitor and improve the state of soldiers once they return to their home country after being deployed in a war-stricken zone.

There are three approaches that the department uses in order to achieve this goal: one, through outpatient approach; two, through varying length inpatient stay; and three, through residential care. These ways vary in the length of stay of the PTSS cases in the medical facility. Some of the treatments given to the cases were group counselling, educational support and psychological assessment of the soldiers. It was determined that there was no statistically significant difference between the length of stay of a PTSS patient in the facility.

Since the duration of the soldiers in the treatment facility is equated to monetary costs, it was recommended that treatment not be prolonged, since the same results will be achieved with shorter treatment duration (Broschat, 1998). Another form of treatment for this disorder came from the military itself. In the core’s training program, each soldier is taught how to recognize post traumatic stress syndromes among themselves and among their comrades.

This program is called the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (PTSD/MTBI) Chain Teaching Program, with the main objective of putting the knowledge and power in the soldiers themselves in order to take care of one another (U. S. Army Medical Department, 2007). Summary and Conclusion Since time immemoria, post traumatic stress syndrome was observed to plague war combatants since World War II. In every conflict that the United States government engaged in, there was the inevitable rise of PTSS cases documented.

From The Persian Gulf War, to the Korean War, to the latest invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, soldiers continuously suffered from this disorder in an increasing fashion. Post traumatic syndrome is a serious problem faced, not only by military personnel, but also by the government. With an increasing number of PTSS cases through the years in every war launched by the government, there is also an increase in the corresponding amount of budget to be used for the treatment and rehabilitation of the soldiers.

With this, it is imperative that this disorder be given enough attention and support from those in authority. Soldiers are the backbone of the country’s security. Without them, invasion by foreign and local enemies is likely to happen. But defence without psychologically sound soldiers will not be possible. Therefore, for a land to be secured and safe from any threat, the well-being of soldiers must be valued, thus, post traumatic syndrome must be answered with utmost urgency.

Classical Conditioning Essay

Classical Conditioning Essay

It is a continuous challenge living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and I’ve suffered from it for most of my life. I can look back now and gently laugh at all the people who thought I had the perfect life. I was young, beautiful, and talented, but unbeknownst to them, I was terrorized by an undiagnosed debilitating mental illness. Having been properly diagnosed with PTSD at age 35, I know that there is not one aspect of my life that has gone untouched by this mental illness.

My PTSD was triggered by several traumas, most importantly a sexual attack at knifepoint that left me thinking I would die.

I would never be the same after that attack. For me there was no safe place in the world, not even my home. I went to the police and filed a report. Rape counselors came to see me while I was in the hospital, but I declined their help, convinced that I didn’t need it.

This would be the most damaging decision of my life. For months after the attack, I couldn’t close my eyes without envisioning the face of my attacker. I suffered horrific flashbacks and nightmares. For four years after the attack I was unable to sleep alone in my house. I obsessively checked windows, doors, and locks.

By age 17, I’d suffered my first panic attack. Soon I became unable to leave my apartment for weeks at a time, ending my modeling career abruptly. This just became a way of life. Years passed when I had few or no symptoms at all, and I led what I thought was a fairly normal life, just thinking I had a “panic problem. ” Then another traumatic event retriggered the PTSD. It was as if the past had evaporated, and I was back in the place of my attack, only now I had uncontrollable thoughts of someone entering my house and harming my daughter. I saw violent images every time I closed my eyes.

I lost all ability to concentrate or even complete simple tasks. Normally social, I stopped trying to make friends or get involved in my community. I often felt disoriented, forgetting where, or who, I was. I would panic on the freeway and became unable to drive, again ending a career. I felt as if I had completely lost my mind. For a time, I managed to keep it together on the outside, but then I became unable to leave my house again. Around this time I was diagnosed with PTSD. I cannot express to you the enormous relief I felt when I discovered my condition was real and treatable. I felt safe for the first time in 32 years.

Taking medication and undergoing behavioral therapy marked the turning point in my regaining control of my life. I’m rebuilding a satisfying career as an artist, and I am enjoying my life. The world is new to me and not limited by the restrictive vision of anxiety. It amazes me to think back to what my life was like only a year ago, and just how far I’ve come. For me there is no cure, no final healing. But there are things I can do to ensure that I never have to suffer as I did before being diagnosed with PTSD. I’m no longer at the mercy of my disorder, and I would not be here today had I not had the proper diagnosis and treatment.

The most important thing to know is that it’s never too late to seek help. [1] In the early part of the 20th century, Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov (1849–1936) was studying the digestive system of dogs when he noticed an interesting behavioral phenomenon: The dogs began to salivate when the lab technicians who normally fed them entered the room, even though the dogs had not yet received any food. Pavlov realized that the dogs were salivating because they knew that they were about to be fed; the dogs had begun to associate the arrival of the technicians with the food that soon followed their appearance in the room.

With his team of researchers, Pavlov began studying this process in more detail. He conducted a series of experiments in which, over a number of trials, dogs were exposed to a sound immediately before receiving food. He systematically controlled the onset of the sound and the timing of the delivery of the food, and recorded the amount of the dogs’ salivation. Initially the dogs salivated only when they saw or smelled the food, but after several pairings of the sound and the food, the dogs began to salivate as soon as they heard the sound.

The animals had learned to associate the sound with the food that followed. Pavlov identified a fundamental associative learning process called classical conditioning. Classical conditioning refers to learning that occurs when a neutral stimulus (e. g. , a tone) becomes associated with a stimulus (e. g. , food) that naturally produces a specific behavior. After the association is learned, the previously neutral stimulus is sufficient to produce the behavior. As you can see in the following figure, psychologists use specific terms to identify the stimuli and the responses in classical conditioning.

Theunconditioned stimulus (US) is something (such as food) that triggers a natural occurring response, and the unconditioned response (UR) is the naturally occurring response (such as salivation) that follows the unconditioned stimulus. The conditioned stimulus (CS) is a neutral stimulus that, after being repeatedly presented prior to the unconditioned stimulus, evokes a response similar to the response to the unconditioned stimulus. In Pavlov’s experiment, the sound of the tone served as the conditioned stimulus that, after learning, produced the conditioned response (CR), which is the acquired response to the formerly neutral stimulus.

Note that the UR and the CR are the same behavior—in this case salivation—but they are given different names because they are produced by different stimuli (the US and the CS, respectively). Classical Conditioning Before conditioning, the unconditioned stimulus (US) naturally produces the unconditioned response (UR). Top right: Before conditioning, the neutral stimulus (the whistle) does not produce the salivation response. Bottom left: The unconditioned stimulus (US), in this case the food, is repeatedly presented immediately after the neutral stimulus.

Bottom right: After learning, the neutral stimulus (now known as the conditioned stimulus or CS), is sufficient to produce the conditioned responses (CR). From Flat World Knowledge, Introduction to Psychology, v1. 0, CC-BY-NC-SA. Conditioning is evolutionarily beneficial because it allows organisms to develop expectations that help them prepare for both good and bad events. Imagine, for instance, that an animal first smells a new food, eats it, and then gets sick. If the animal can learn to associate the smell (CS) with the food (US), then it will quickly learn that the food creates the negative outcome and will not eat it next time.

Module 13 /The Persistence and Extinction of Conditioning After he had demonstrated that learning could occur through association, Pavlov moved on to study the variables that influenced the strength and the persistence of conditioning. In some studies, after the conditioning had taken place, Pavlov presented the sound repeatedly but without presenting the food afterward. As you can see, after the initial acquisition (learning) phase in which the conditioning occurred, when the CS was then presented alone, the behavior rapidly decreased—the dogs salivated less and less to the sound, and eventually the sound did not elicit salivation at all.

Extinction is the reduction in responding that occurs when the conditioned stimulus is presented repeatedly without the unconditioned stimulus. Although at the end of the first extinction period the CS was no longer producing salivation, the effects of conditioning had not entirely disappeared. Pavlov found that, after a pause, sounding the tone again elicited salivation, although to a lesser extent than before extinction took place. The increase in responding to the CS following a pause after extinction is known as spontaneous recovery.

When Pavlov again presented the CS alone, the behavior again showed extinction. Although the behavior has disappeared, extinction is never complete. If conditioning is again attempted, the animal will learn the new associations much faster than it did the first time. Pavlov also experimented with presenting new stimuli that were similar, but not identical to, the original conditioned stimulus. For instance, if the dog had been conditioned to being scratched before the food arrived, the stimulus would be changed to being rubbed rather than scratched.

He found that the dogs also salivated upon experiencing the similar stimulus, a process known as generalization. Generalization refers to the tendency to respond to stimuli that resemble the original conditioned stimulus. The ability to generalize has important evolutionary significance. If we eat some red berries and they make us sick, it would be a good idea to think twice before we eat some purple berries. Although the berries are not exactly the same, they nevertheless are similar and may have the same negative properties.

Lewicki [1] conducted research that demonstrated the influence of stimulus generalization and how quickly and easily it can happen. In his experiment, high school students first had a brief interaction with a female experimenter who had short hair and glasses. The study was set up so that the students had to ask the experimenter a question, and (according to random assignment) the experimenter responded either in a negative way or a neutral way toward the students. Then the students were told to go into a second room in which two experimenters were present, and to approach either one of them.

However, the researchers arranged it so that one of the two experimenters looked a lot like the original experimenter, while the other one did not (she had longer hair and no glasses). The students were significantly more likely to avoid the experimenter who looked like the earlier experimenter when that experimenter had been negative to them than when she had treated them more neutrally. The participants showed stimulus generalization such that the new, similar-looking experimenter created the same negative response in the participants as had the experimenter in the prior session.

The flip side of generalization is discrimination—the tendency to respond differently to stimuli that are similar but not identical. Pavlov’s dogs quickly learned, for example, to salivate when they heard the specific tone that had preceded food, but not upon hearing similar tones that had never been associated with food. Discrimination is also useful—if we do try the purple berries, and if they do not make us sick, we will be able to make the distinction in the future. And we can learn that although the two people in our class, Courtney and Sarah, may look a lot alike, they are nevertheless different people with different personalities.

In some cases, an existing conditioned stimulus can serve as an unconditioned stimulus for a pairing with a new conditioned stimulus—a process known as second-order conditioning. In one of Pavlov’s studies, for instance, he first conditioned the dogs to salivate to a sound, and then repeatedly paired a new CS, a black square, with the sound. Eventually he found that the dogs would salivate at the sight of the black square alone, even though it had never been directly associated with the food.

Secondary conditioners in everyday life include our attractions to things that stand for or remind us of something else, such as when we feel good on a Friday because it has become associated with the paycheck that we receive on that day, which itself is a conditioned stimulus for the pleasures that the paycheck buys us. Module 13 /The Role of Nature in Classical Conditioning Scientists associated with the behaviorist school argued that all learning is driven by experience, and that nature plays no role.

Classical conditioning, which is based on learning through experience, represents an example of the importance of the environment. But classical conditioning cannot be understood entirely in terms of experience. Nature also plays a part, as our evolutionary history has made us better able to learn some associations than others. Clinical psychologists make use of classical conditioning to explain the learning of a phobia—a strong and irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation. For example, driving a car is a neutral event that would not normally elicit a fear response in most people.

But if a person were to experience a panic attack in which he suddenly experienced strong negative emotions while driving, he may learn to associate driving with the panic response. The driving has become the CS that now creates the fear response. Psychologists have also discovered that people do not develop phobias to just anything. Although people may in some cases develop a driving phobia, they are more likely to develop phobias toward objects (such as snakes, spiders, heights, and open spaces) that have been dangerous to people in the past.

In modern life, it is rare for humans to be bitten by spiders or snakes, to fall from trees or buildings, or to be attacked by a predator in an open area. Being injured while riding in a car or being cut by a knife are much more likely. But in our evolutionary past, the potential of being bitten by snakes or spiders, falling out of a tree, or being trapped in an open space were important evolutionary concerns, and therefore humans are still evolutionarily prepared to learn these associations over others. [1] [2] Another evolutionarily important type of conditioning is conditioning related to food.

In his important research on food conditioning, John Garcia and his colleagues [3] [4] attempted to condition rats by presenting either a taste, a sight, or a sound as a neutral stimulus before the rats were given drugs (the US) that made them nauseous. Garcia discovered that taste conditioning was extremely powerful—the rat learned to avoid the taste associated with illness, even if the illness occurred several hours later. But conditioning the behavioral response of nausea to a sight or a sound was much more difficult.

These results contradicted the idea that conditioning occurs entirely as a result of environmental events, such that it would occur equally for any kind of unconditioned stimulus that followed any kind of conditioned stimulus. Rather, Garcia’s research showed that genetics matters—organisms are evolutionarily prepared to learn some associations more easily than others. You can see that the ability to associate smells with illness is an important survival mechanism, allowing the organism to quickly learn to avoid foods that are poisonous.

Classical conditioning has also been used to help explain the experience of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as in the case of P. K. Philips described at the beginning of this module. PTSD is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a fearful event, such as the threat of death. [5] PTSD occurs when the individual develops a strong association between the situational factors that surrounded the traumatic event (e. g. , military uniforms or the sounds or smells of war) and the US (the fearful trauma itself).

As a result of the conditioning, being exposed to, or even thinking about the situation in which the trauma occurred (the CS), becomes sufficient to produce the CR of severe anxiety. [6] Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A Case of Classical Conditioning Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) represents a case of classical conditioning to a severe trauma that does not easily become extinct. In this case the original fear response, experienced during combat, has become conditioned to a loud noise. When the person with PTSD hears a loud noise, he or she experiences a fear response despite being far from the site of the original trauma.

From Flat World Knowledge, Introduction to Psychology, v1. 0. © Thinkstock. PTSD develops because the emotions experienced during the event have produced neural activity in the amygdala and created strong conditioned learning. In addition to the strong conditioning that people with PTSD experience, they also show slower extinction in classical conditioning tasks. [7] In short, people with PTSD have developed very strong associations with the events surrounding the trauma and are also slow to show extinction to the conditioned stimulus.

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Hypothesis Testing Paper Essay

Hypothesis Testing Paper Essay

We are seeing the influence of psychosocial stress on the course of bipolar disorder being increasingly recognized. Child adversity is not just a topic that is discussed, but is a topic that is real in the society in which we live. Child adversity can hit close to home. A child experiences this by being in a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty (Merriam-Webster, 2014). Situations of these types are terrible to see and can affect the child, but just not as children.

These types of situations could include: verbal, physical, or sexual abuse, neglect, parental death, bullying, or even poverty. The effects of these types of situations can carry on into an individual’s adulthood as well as concerning his/her physical and mental well-being. See what we are looking into is not just child adversity, but another topic as well.

The question being asked is, “Does early child adversity make bipolar disorder more likely?” Individuals have their own views and opinions on this topic and question.

In this hypothesis testing, a description of the research issue and a hypothesis statement, regarding the research hypothesis and the null hypothesis will be addressed. For the accuracy of the research issue, the population will have to be determined and the sampling method to help in generating the sample. The data will be described as to how it was collected, the level of measurement, and the statistical technique used in helping of the task of analyzing the data. All these steps will help in the explanation of the findings.


In understanding the meaning of child adversity, we want to look at the meaning of the term, bipolar disorder. Here we aren’t just focusing on child adversity; we are focusing on both to see if the child adversity emphasizes bipolar disorder more likely. According to U.S. National Library of Medicine (2014), “Bipolar disorder is a condition in which a person has periods of depression and periods of being extremely happy or being cross or irritable In addition to these mood swings, the person has extreme changes in activity and energy” (Bipolar Disorder). Symptoms of bipolar disorder can be severe and can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide (National Institute of Mental Health, 2012).

Bipolar disorder affects both men and women, usually occurring between the ages of 15-25. The exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown. However, there are factors involved that cause or trigger the occurrences. As we are researching, we are finding environment plays a role. According to Mayo Clinic (2014), “An individual’s stress, abuse, significant loss, or other traumatic experiences can contribute to this disorder” (Causes). All these factors and experiences listed can take place in a child’s life, whether we want to admit it or not. Most of the time, more often than we would care to talk about. This connection gives us a starting point in developing our hypothesis.

With a research issue, it is essential a hypothesis be formulated. “Hypothesis is a prediction often based on informal observation, previous research, or theory that is testing in a research study” (Aron, Aron, & Coups, 2013, p. 108). In a research study, the testing is referred to as a hypothesis procedure. We must first state a research hypothesis and a null hypothesis. “Research hypothesis is a statement in a hypothesis testing procedure about the predicted relation between populations. Null hypothesis is a statement about a relation between populations that is the opposite of the research hypothesis” (Aron, Aron, & Coups, 2013, p. 108). The null hypothesis is often said to be the opposite of what is being predicted. For this study, the research hypothesis is, “Early child adversity makes bipolar disorder more likely.” The null hypothesis is, “Early child adversity does not make bipolar disorder more likely.”

In any hypothesis testing procedure, there is great emphasis in determining the population and the sampling method the researcher is using to generate the sample, “The population is the entire group of people to which the researcher intends the results of a study to apply. The sample is the scores of a particular group of people studied” (Aron, Aron, & Coups, 2013, p. 84). For this research issue, the population would include participants consisting of 58 adults, including 29 males and 29 females. These individuals have a diagnosis of bipolar I disorder. According to National Institute of Mental Health (2012), “Bipolar I disorder is defined by manic and mixed episodes that last at least seven days.

Usually depressive episodes occur as well, lasting at least two weeks” (How is Bipolar Diagnosed?). The sampling method used to generate the sample would be classified as nonrandom samples. With this sample method, the probability selection cannot be accurately determined. In using the nonrandom sampling method, we are focusing on the type judgmental/purposive sampling. These individuals of 58 are being chosen with a specific purpose in mind. These individuals are fit for the research compared to other individuals (“Concepts and Definitions”, n.d.). This sampling method makes perfect since we are attempting to research if child adversity is a contributing factor to bipolar disorder.


Regarding the 58 adults of men and women, the data would be collected and evaluated every three months, all the way up to a year. This information would be collected by structured interviews discussing stressful life events pertaining to and dealing with early child adversity. In analyzing the data, the best statistical technique to use would be the t test for independent means. “T test for independent means is a hypothesis testing procedure in which there are two separate groups of people tested” (Aron, Aron, & Coups, 2013, p. 84). Involved in this research issue is two separate groups of people with 29 male participants and 29 female participants. We are testing both of the same number, because we want to find out the conclusion as a whole about the people.

Also, we tested equal amounts of both men and women, because they both are equally likely to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder (WebMD, 2014). The data would be analyzed using the five steps of the t test for independent means. ‘Step one consists of stating the research hypothesis and the null hypothesis. Step two consists of determining the characteristics of the comparison distribution. Step three is determining the cutoff sample score on the comparison distribution at which the null hypothesis should be rejected. Step four is determining the sample’s score on the comparison distribution. And last, step five is deciding to reject the null hypothesis by comparing steps three and four” (Aron, Aron, & Coups, 2013, p. 84). In following these steps to analyze the data, we can account for to either accept or reject the null hypothesis on early child adversity not making bipolar disorder more likely.


After going into detail of the research issue, formulating the hypothesis statement, determining the population, deciding and describing the sampling method, the task of collecting the data, the level of measurement, and the statistical technique for analyzing the data, now is the big intense moment. The results exhibited that the interaction of early child adversity severity and those stressful life events involved predicted an occurrence in a manner consistent with the research hypothesis for both the men and the women. Therefore, we reject the null hypothesis. There were some limitations to this research issue and the hypothesis testing procedure. The sample size and the number of past episodes were determined retrospectively, mainly through self-report.

But, another thought to keep in mind is the individuals who experienced early child adversity had a significantly younger age of bipolar onset. Concerning this conclusion, it would be of great importance for the suggestion for further studies of stress mechanisms in bipolar disorder and of treatments designed to intervene early among those at risk. I would propose when and if the conditions of bipolar disorder are identified, an effective treatment plan needs to be implemented. This approach would be of great benefit for the patient’s health, wellbeing, and longevity. Studies speak for themselves regarding childhood adversity being prevalent and having pervasive and long term impacts on mental and physical health.


Aron, A., Aron, E., & Coups, E. (2013). Statistics for Psychology (6th ed.). Retrieved from The

University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.

Concepts and Definitions. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Mayo Clinic. (2014). _Bipolar Disorder Causes_. Retrieved from

Merriam-Webster. (2014). _Adversity_. Retrieved from

National Institute of Mental Health. (2012). _Bipolar Disorder in Adults_. Retrieved from

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2014). _Bipolar Disorder_. Retrieved from

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