Four Ds – Intro to Psychology


First we have disturbance. And here we mean, disturbance of though, emotion or behavior. That is, things are not going well in how a person thinks, feels or behaves. Second, we have dysfunction. And here we mean, dysfunction of biological or development processes. Dysfunctional behavior interferes with everyday functioning, and could lead a person to being at risk, or the person is risking the safety of others. Dysfunction can mean the inability for a person to hold down a job or engage in meaningful social relationships with close friends or loved ones. And third, we have distress or disability. And here we mean, distress or disability in everyday life. Especially relationships, work or other activities. Here, the behavior leads to real discomfort or anguish. Either in the person directly or in others. The distressing element is one reason we may say a person is suffering from a disorder. It can cause pain to a person and/or other people, especially family members. And this is an important point to bring up. In something we discussed throughout the class, that it’s not only the person with the disorder that experiences the difficulty, pain, anxiety or sadness. It’s also the person’s loved ones who can experience difficulty as well. That is, it can be painful and sad to watch a loved one suffer through some of the symptoms of mental illness. Remember in the lesson on memory, when we talked about HN and people with amnesia or dementia. And how we talked about how difficult it could be, if you were the husband or wife, mother, father, brother, sister of the person who was unable to remember you? Obviously, it’d be really painful to deal with. And now finally, for the last D, we have deviant. By this we mean, deviant thought, emotion or behavior. But only if it’s also dysfunctional. Deviance alone is not enough. Deviant literally means, different from the norm, or different from what most people do. The [UNKNOWN] does stress that deviant behavior can be classified as a disorder, only if it’s also dysfunctional. Einstein, for example, was deviant in many ways, but he wasn’t dysfunctional.

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