Terri L. Kern
University of Toledo
Dr. John Laux
April 2, 2014
The author’s definition of psychopathology is the manifestation of behavior that may be indicative of mental illness. Psychopathology intersects with disease, fundamental personality flaws and cultural influences. Additionally, it encompasses the study of how mental illness originates and how it develops. The author’s definition is based on in-class discussions, case studies and required reading. The following points support this definition:
The term psychopathology is often confused with the term insanity. Although psychopathology and normality are clear, the line that separates them is not. Further, there are no sharp distinctions between mental disorders. The manifestation of psychopathology involves signs and symptoms. The terms “symptoms” and “signs” are often used interchangeably, which is incorrect, as there is a clear distinction between the two. Symptoms are subjective and reported by the patient; signs are observed and documented objectively. Symptoms are evidence of a sign and, a sign is an indication of an issue, including problems in living. People may have symptoms and issues and problems in living without having a mental disorder, where people with mental disorders have all three. A symptom indicates a mental disorder when it is part of a specific pattern. (Maxmen, Ward, & Kilgus, 2009, p. 7) The author interprets these patterns as aberrant; a dysfunctional way of functioning. The DSM is a tool that organizes these patterns into classifications of mental disorders, although it is far from being scientifically validated. (Keisler, 2000, p. 5) Problems caused by mental disorders cause significant impairment and distress on a personal’s personal, social, or occupational life. Problems can be thought disorders, perceptions, behaviors or emotional clusters; these problems are different than problems...