Discuss Issues Surrounding Diagnosis and Classification of Phobic Disorders

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Discuss issues surrounding diagnosis and classification of phobic disorders (16 mks) Phobias are very common in today’s society and the spectrum of what someone may be phobic of is very large. However, views on how phobias are formed vary just as much. Some psychologists believe that phobias have a basis in genetics, while some believe they are learned. Because of this disparity in ideas, coupled with the fact that psychology is a very subjective science, there are a lot of issues relating to diagnosis and classification of phobic disorders. One of the main issues pertaining to diagnosis is the reliability of it. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) and the International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) are the main references for when psychologists are determining whether or not someone has a phobia. If diagnosis was being done with little or no reference to the mentioned articles then it would not be very reliable, as opposed to if they were being cited then it would be a much more reliable classification. Another problem is that it is very possible for diagnostic disagreements to occur due to differences in interpreting the causes or effects. For example, one of the main constituents of a phobia is generally described as being where the ‘anxiety causes interference with the functioning of a normal life’, but what if different doctors had different ideas of what a normal life was? You would be classed as phobic by one and not by the other. Another main issue relating to the classification of phobias is the fact that an anxiety disorder may present differently in different cultures, so it is not universalisable. For example, in Japan people can get diagnosed with phobias of offending people through one’s own awkwardness, but in Western countries this doesn’t exist. This is probably because in Japan there
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