130 Introduction to Psychopathology

Chapter Outline

  • What is Psychopathology?
  • Diagnosing and Classifying Psychological Disorders
  • Perspectives on Psychopathology
  • Neurodiversity
  • Schizophrenia
  • Mood Disorders
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Related Disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Dissociative Disorders
  • Personality Disorders
In a darkened room, a university student sits on the floor leaning against the bed and looks away from camera and towards a light source.
PY.1 Many university students may experience challenges, set-backs, and low-moods, but when should they (or their friends and family) be concerned? (credit: Pexels user Sofia Alejandra)

Esmé is an 18-year-old from Hamilton, ON (Figure PY.1). She did well in high school and received scholarships to attend university in Halifax, NS. Esmé is excited to start this new chapter in her life, even though she’ll be almost 2000 kms away from home.

When the semester began, Esmé was optimistic about her courses and future degree. She made friends and was engaged in her courses. Halfway through the semester, however, Esmé’s friends noticed that she seemed disinterested in social activities and was falling behind in her classes. When they asked about her change in behaviour, Esmé said that she was just a bit homesick. Towards the end of the term, Esmé seemed even more withdrawn from her friends, classes, and other activities. She was spending most of her time alone in her room and was failing most of her courses. Esmé’s friends decide to contact the Health & Wellness Centre on campus for support. With regular counselling sessions and support from her friends and family, Esmé was able to deal with her depression and made significant improvements the following semester.

Esmé’s story is hypothetical but may be similar to the experience of many undergraduate students across the country. As you’ll learn in this chapter, the experiences and journeys of everyone are different, and with different outcomes. In this chapter, we’ll explore the difference between atypical and dysfunctional, the concept of psychopathology, and symptoms and signs of common psychological disorders.


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Introduction to Psychology & Neuroscience (2nd Edition) Copyright © 2020 by Edited by Leanne Stevens & Jennifer Stamp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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