Free «Abnormal Psychology 3» UK Essay Sample

Abnormal Psychology 3

1. What are the factors that put males at risk of having eating disorders? Eating disorders are common in numerous people around the world.

Anorexia Nervosa is among the major eating disorders evidenced in most men. This is a condition that involves a pattern of self-starvation. Men are also at risk of suffering from Bulimia Nervosa that is a condition involving a pattern of bingeing and purging.  Most men who suffer from these conditions have low self-esteem, dependency, and self-direction problems. A big part of the affected men also suffers from psychiatric conditions. Male athletes, especially male wrestlers and lightweight rowers, are at high risk of developing eating disorders. Wrestlers use a method of rapid weight loss known as weight-cutting. It involves food restrictions and fluid depletion. Men with diabetes and other chronic diseases also are highly likely to suffer from eating disorders.

2. Describe the studies on rats and "comfort food" and its findings?

A study on rats and “comfort food” was done by the UCSF Medical Center. The study found that tasty high fat diets, “comfort food,” act like drugs that calm the brains of chronically stressed rats. The study results showed that this could be the reason why people who are under stress take chocolate cakes and potato chips. In such a way, these people are medicating themselves. A study done on rats can be applied to humans, because both humans and rats have a stress response system that reacts to a threat in a similar way. 

Research findings indicated that high stress levels that are constant override the shut-off system. The results exhibited in rats include compulsive feeding, frantic wheel running, and preference of foods that have high energy content and are highly palatable. A hormone known as glucocorticoids was seen to lead to the preference of high-fat foods that, in turn, result in accumulated belly fat. The belly fat stores generate a signal that relieves stress in the brain; in case this does not happen, the person continues eating more comfort food that causes abdominal obesity.

3. Identify and describe the disorders of addicts according to the DSM-IV-TR.

According to DSM-IV-TR, an “addict” might be diagnosed with tolerance and withdrawal conditions. Tolerance is the need to increase the amounts of the substance taken so as to achieve the desirable effects. It can also be characterized by intake of the same amounts of substances leading to less effect. When withdrawing, the patient experiences physiological, mental, and emotional changes. The conditions are immensely unpleasant when he\she ceases to take the drugs. A person tends to use the substance in an attempt to prevent or relieve the withdrawal symptoms; thus, one resorts to using the substance longer than was intended. 

There is an obstinate desire or unsuccessful attempts to put an end to using the substance. Therefore, a person spends much time trying to recover from the substance effects. The affected person has a reduction in work performance, and his social skills diminish over time. Socialization with others eventually ceases. The person continues to be dependent on the substance despite it having negative physical and psychological effects on him/her and experiences “craving” or the great desire to use the substance despite the need to abstain from it.

A person also tends to abuse the substance due to his/her failure to fulfill school work, home obligations, or if they are experiencing legal problems. An addict continues to abuse the substance despite the harm done to social relationships. Depending on the substance abused, a person may experience the lack of coordination, slurred speech, memory impairment, and mood volatility. He/she could also suffer from a rapid heartbeat, high or low blood pressure, sleeplessness, confusion, weight loss, paranoia, unusual response to hallucinations, and lack of muscular coordination.

4. What do all abused substances have in common? What are their innate factors that might lead to an elevated susceptibility to substance abuse?

All abused substances have an intoxicating effect which is desired by the user. The substance can either have stimulating or depressive effects on the body. There are some inherited factors that might lead to increased vulnerability to substance abuse. Structural abnormalities are among such factors. Drug addicts have been found to have structural abnormalities similar to those of their non-addicted siblings. Parental alcoholism contributes highly to the risk of a child developing the same condition. Identical twins of alcohol dependent parents are at a higher risk than fraternal twins or full siblings.

5. Describe two psychosocial causal factors in the development of alcohol abuse and dependence?

There are two psychosocial causal factors in the development of alcohol abuse dependence. Stress and tension are great factors that trigger excessive alcohol consumption. Numerous people choose alcohol as a way of unwinding. Regular usage leads to more frequent alcohol intakes. When such persons fail to follow the obligations expected from them, they tend to abuse alcohol to escape from the reality. Continued use makes them get deeper into problems leading to more stressful situations. As time moves on, users become fully addicted and can no longer perform their duties unless they take alcohol. The other factor which can also lead to alcohol dependency is poor parental guidance.

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Most people listen to their parents talking about the dangers of substance abuse. It is the parents’ responsibility to advice their kids to abstain from the factors that lead to substance abuse. Such factors include peer group pressure, desire for fun, curiosity, pressure from work or school, as well as escape from boredom and reality among others. When a person is exposed to such factors and the parents are not there to assist, then he/she may become alcohol dependent.  If the peers take alcohol, they encourage the teenager to adopt this behavior too.


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