ap psych study guides

🤔  Unit 5: Cognitive Psychology

👶  Unit 6: Developmental Psychology

🤪  Unit 7: Motivation, Emotion, & Personality

🛋  Unit 8: Clinical Psychology

8.3 Neurodevelopmental and Schizophrenic Spectrum Disorders

#abnormalpsychology

⏱️  3 min read

written by

Emily Pedrazzi

emily pedrazzi

Dalia Savy

dalia savy

November 11, 2020


Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Neurodevelopmental disorders are caused by unusual brain development, brain damage, or any other abnormality in the brain. The most commonly addressed neurodevelopmental disorders on the exam are Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and intellectual disabilities.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

ASD is characterized by atypical behaviors, speech, interests, thought patterns, and interpersonal interactions. People with ASD have a difficult time interpreting social cues and may prefer routine over spontaneity. 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD is marked by the appearance of one or more symptoms:

  1. Extreme inattention

  2. Hyperactivity

  3. Impulsivity

ADHD is inheritable and can be treated with medications that calm the above symptoms 🧬 It often exists with another disorder, specifically a learning disorder or emotional disorder.

Those that are skeptic of ADHD simply blame the impulsiveness on the presence of the Y chromosome. They believe that in a boring environment, the child will be energized and improperly diagnosed with ADHD.

There is generally a lot of disagreement about ADHD and if it really is a neurodevelopmental disorder 🤷

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Image Courtesy of Verywell Mind.

Intellectual Disability

Having an IQ below 70 often means that there is some sort of intellectual disability that causes a person to:

  • have limitations in learning

  • have a hard time solving problems

  • have a hard time communicating

  • lack in many skills needed for everyday life

People with an intellectual disability have a really hard time adapting to the demands of life that require conceptual, social, and practical skills. An example of an intellectual disability is down syndrome.

Neurocognitive Disorder

Neurocognitive disorder is a decrease in mental functioning caused by a somatogenic cause. Examples include breathing conditions, brain trauma, and cardiovascular disorders.

The most common neurocognitive disorder is Alzheimer's disease, which is basically memory loss as you age. Common symptoms include:

  • 🧠 Short-term memory loss

  • 🤕 Headaches

  • 🚗 Difficulty walking and driving

  • 😩 Inability to focus

Psychotic and Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders

Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder that impacts an individual’s perception of reality. During a psychotic episode, people may experience improbable or possible delusions and auditory and/or visual hallucinations.

Schizophrenia is an example of psychosis, in which a person loses complete contact with reality and experiences false sensations.

Subtypes of Schizophrenia

There are many types of schizophrenia and their symptoms greatly vary.

Acute Schizophrenia

Acute Schizophrenia is developed rapidly after a period of stress. They have more positive symptoms and are responsive to therapy, so recovery is possible. Positive symptoms are added symptoms, such as delusions and hallucinations. They add to a person's personality.

  • Delusions, or false beliefs, can be erotomanic, grandiose, jealous, persecutory, somatic, or mixed. 
  • Hallucinations, or false sensory experiences, are often auditory👂

Chronic Schizophrenia

Chronic Schizophrenia is slow and develops over time. Those with chronic schizophrenia exhibit negative symptoms. Recovery is doubtful. Negative symptoms remove from a person's personality. Some examples include:

  • Inability to feel emotion
  • Difficulty understanding emotion
  • Difficulty reading others' emotions
  • Flat speech
  • Impaired attention
  • Lack of pleasure
  • Catatonia— Being motionless for hours and agitated shortly after

  • Flat Affect—emotionless state

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-fb4VPs9SRtqE.webp?alt=media&token=3b590971-4546-4e7c-8938-9510f79828c8

Image Courtesy of Verywell Mind.

Brain Abnormalities

Schizophrenia is purely a disease of the brain.

  • If dopamine levels are high, there are too many receptors and schizophrenia is intensified.

  • Some display low brain activity in the frontal lobes and a shrinkage of tissue.

  • There is increased activity in the amygdala and thalamus.

  • Spaces in the brain are enlarged:

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-1KTteLOwxetj.png?alt=media&token=6a28ff3c-4b28-47c0-bff9-8bd3370b17d3

Image Courtesy of ResearchGate.

  • Since it is very genetic, risk could be increased during fetal development.

    • For example, if there is a pandemic, the mother is sick with the flu, or the mother lives in dense areas, there is an increased risk of schizophrenia.

  • To explain acute schizophrenia, stress could turn on specific genes that eventually lead to the disorder. Remember, your environment influences gene expression and behavior!

  • These are mainly biological factors and there aren't any psychological factors unless there is an underlying biological factor involved too.

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