Abnormal Psychology BPS307


How can you know whether a person’s behaviour is within the ‘normal’ range or abnormal (thus requiring the attention of a specialist)? Counsellors and support workers will benefit from this course. Develop your ability to identify psychological disorders, and determine when to refer clients for treatment. The course will also be of interest to anyone who wants to understand more about common psychological disorders, their causes and treatment. Prerequisite: Introduction to Psychology

SKU: BPS307 Category:


Why are some people different?

Want to learn about schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, mania, childhood disorders? Why not take this course? Understanding abnormal behaviour is the first step toward dealing with it, both for professionals as well as friends, relatives and aquaintances.

This course can be of value to anyone who wants to understand more about common psychological disorders, their causes and treatment.

It is particularly beneficial for counsellors or support workers, for it will develop their ability to distinguish different types of psychological disorder, and determine when to refer clients for treatment. It is also of interest to anyone who finds human nature fascinating. We cover why different conditions may occur, what happens in different conditions and how we can treat them.


  1. Disorders Usually First Diagnosed in Infancy, Childhood, or Adolescence
  2. Delirium, Dementia, Amnestic & Other Cognitive Disorders
  3. Substance-Related Disorders
  4. Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders
  5. Mood Disorders
  6. Anxiety Disorders
  7. Somatoform, Factitious, and Dissociative Disorders
  8. Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders
  9. Eating & Sleep Disorders
  10. Impulse-Control Disorders; Adjustment Disorder
  11. Personality Disorders


  • Identify disorders first prevalent under 18 years of age;
  • Describe how you would diagnose a case of suspected Autism in a child of 4 years of age;
  • Compare and contrast delirium and dementia;
  • Do an internet search for images of PET scans and MRI of brains affected by delirium or dementia include the images an essay discussing these disorders;
  • Distinguish between substance abuse disorders and substance dependence disorders;
  • Differentiate between psychotic disorders;
  • Describe briefly the subtypes of Schizophrenia;
  • Distinguish between Unipolar disorders and Bipolar disorders;
  • Outline a cognitive model of depression;
  • Describe different types of Anxiety Disorders;
  • Develop a treatment to overcome a client’s fear of spiders;
  • Distinguish between Somatoform and Dissociative Disorders;
  • Explain the primary criticisms of dissociative identity disorder;
  • Provide a diagnosis of a case study and justify your diagnosis;
  • Discuss Gender Identity Disorder, Paraphilias and Sexual Dysfunction;
  • Explain what distinguishes a preference of sexual act or object as a paraphilia;
  • Identify Eating Disorders and Sleep Disorders;
  • Explain how eating disorders develop;
  • Distinguish between Impulse Control Disorders and Adjustment disorders;
  • Develop a diagnostic table for impulse control disorders;
  • Distinguish between different types of Personality Disorder;
  • Differentiate between Narcissistic and Histrionic personality disorders.

Want to learn more about Psychosis, such as schizophrenia, manic depression, bipolar disorder – then have a look at a brief example of the course notes below.


You have probably heard the word psychosis, it is often used in the everyday language of the layperson to mean ‘very mad’. In psychology, it is a condition where the person is not in contact with reality like most people. It can take several forms including:

  • Sensing things that aren’t really there : hallucinations
  • Believing things not based on reality : delusions
  • Not realising there is anything wrong with them : lack of insight
  • Problems thinking clearly : thought insertion, withdrawal, broadcasting thoughts.

There are a number of disorders that come under the general title of psychosis. They are all different in their symptoms, but are similar in the fact that the person is out of touch with reality. The disorders are :

  • Schizophrenia
  • Schioaffective disorder
  • Manic-depression (bipolar disorder) : this will be covered in a later lesson
  • Mania
  • Delusional (Paranoid) Disorders
  • Psychotic depression

However, there is a lot of controversy about psychiatric classifications of psychoses. Some experts are now arguing that it is more helpful to treat people according to their specific symptoms, e.g. Hearing voices in their head, than to put them under a wide label of ‘schizophrenic’, which can cover a wide range of people with very different problems. People with long term psychosis often have problems looking after themselves and getting on with other people.

It is not known what causes psychosis, but the most popular theories are :

  • It is an inherited condition
  • There is a ‘wiring problem’ in the person’s brain.
  • There is a chemical imbalance
  • They are too anxious or stressed.
  • It is a psychological defence mechanism
  • A combination of the above.

Psychosis is also brought on in some people by :

  • using illegal drugs, such as LSD or cannabis
  • Brain tumours (cancer)
  • infections such as meningitis
  • Epilepsy
  • Head injuries

So if you want to learn more about Abnormal Psychology – why not try this course?