By going through these Maharashtra State Board Class 12 Psychology Notes  Chapter 6 Psychological Disorders Cognitive Processes students can recall all the concepts quickly.

Maharashtra State Board Class 12 Psychology Notes Chapter 6 Psychological Disorders

Mental Health Continuum Model:
The major criteria of abnormality are deviance, personal distress and impaired functioning. Illness and absence of illness are not distinct categories but are on opposite poles of the continuum sequence as explained below.
Maharashtra Board Class 12 Psychology Notes Chapter 6 Psychological Disorders 1

Stage 1 – The person is physically and psychologically healthy. He/She is motivated and emotionally stable.

Stage 2 – The person may get affected by life stressors, feel anxious, lack energy, etc., for e.g., most students are tense before the exams. It is possible to push oneself back towards positive health by adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Stage 3 – The person shows signs of psychological damage and may experience negative feelings like sadness, lack of motivation, fear and may even indulge in addictive behaviour. However, even this stage is not irreversible.

Stage 4 – The person exhibits extreme distress, impairment in mental, emotional and social functioning. He/She needs professional treatment.

Criteria For Psychological Disorders:
According to DSM-5, there are five criteria for psychological disorders.

  • Clinically significant syndrome – In psychological disorders, there should be a cluster of symptoms together i.e., a syndrome.
  • Distress and Impairment – There should be distress, i.e., psychological pain due to negative feelings and stress, as well as impairment, i.e., inability to perform appropriate roles in personal and social situations.
  • Dysfunction – If the symptoms lead to developmental or psychological dysfunctions, it signifies mental disorders.
  • Responses to stressors that are normally accepted responses e.g., sadness experienced at the loss of a loved one or culturally sanctioned responses are not considered as signs of mental disorders.
  • Behaviour which is only deviant but does not produce any disability or distress or dysfunction does not become a sign of mental disorder.

Maharashtra Board Class 12 Psychology Notes Chapter 6 Psychological Disorders

Mental Wellness:
According to the WHO, mental wellness refers to “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope up with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

The important aspects of mental wellness are –

  • Emotional aspect – There is a sense of well-being and contentment
  • Psychological aspect – There is high self-esteem and tendency of self-actualization.
  • Life philosophy – There are clear goals and objectives in life.

The Illness Wellness Continuum Model by John Travis:
Maharashtra Board Class 12 Psychology Notes Chapter 6 Psychological Disorders 2
Quadrant 1 – The person is in an ideal state of functioning.
Quadrant 2 – The person has no mental illness but experiences subjective feeling of unhappiness.
The person suffers from mental illness yet he/she experiences a high sense of subjective well-being.
This is the lowest level of functioning. The person has mental illness and also experiences distress.

Mental Disorders – Classification:
There are two major systems to classify psychological disorders.

  1. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM) – DSM-5 was published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in 2013. It contains 22 broad categories of mental disorders with subcategories.
  2. International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) – ICD-11
    was created by the WHO in 2019, according to which there are 19 broad categories of mental disorders.

Maharashtra Board Class 12 Psychology Notes Chapter 6 Psychological Disorders

Major Psychological Disorders:
Anxiety Disorders:
The word ‘anxiety’ is derived from the Latin word ‘Anxietas’ which means ‘uneasy or troubled mind’. Anxiety refers to a condition in which the person feels worried and uneasy for a long time for no obvious reasons.
The main anxiety disorders are:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder:
The person frequently experiences anxiety more intensely so that it starts interfering with the ability to perform daily tasks. Symptoms include irritability, headaches, insomnia, dizziness, breathlessness, etc.

Phobic disorders:
The word ‘phobia’ is derived from the Greek word ‘Phobos which was used to refer to the God of Fear. A phobia is an intense, persistent but irrational and disproportionate fear of a specific object or situation. DSM classifies phobias as simple phobias, e.g., Acrophobia, Claustrophobia etc., and social phobias, e.g., fear of speaking or eating in public.

Depressive Disorders:
Depression is an emotional state typically marked by sadness and guilt, feelings of anxiety and hopelessness. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, interest and sleep, fatigue, sexual dysfunction and suicidal thoughts.

Bipolar Disorders:
Bipolar disorder is also known as Manic Depressive disorder. The person experiences alternate phases of two states viz. mania, i.e., extreme excitement and elation and depression, i.e., extreme irritability, hopelessness and sadness. Main causative factor are genetic factors and imbalance in neurotransmitters such as dopamine, epinephrine, etc.

Trauma And Stress-Related Disorders:
Stress is inevitable in life. Daily hassles, relationship issues, frustration, chronic illness, etc., lead to stress. If stress is in moderate intensity, it acts as a motivation. However, intense and prolonged stress impairs normal functioning of the individual and may lead to stress disorders.

The two types of stress disorders are –
Acute Stress Disorder (ASD):
If a person (aged 6 years and above) has experienced extremely stressful situations like death of a loved one, serious disease or injury, sexual abuse, natural disasters, etc., then he/she may experience ASD.

The symptoms of ASD include –

  • emotional numbness and instability
  • nightmares and sleep distturbances
  • insomnia, lack of concentration, irritability and guilt feelings
  • depression

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):
If symptoms of ASD continue for more than one month with the same intensity, the person is diagnosed with PTSD.

A person who has suffered trauma generally goes through three stages viz.-

  • Shock stage – the individual is in shock, i.e., extremely disturbed.
  • Suggestible stage – he/she may seek guidance from others and may either accept these suggestions unquestioningly or may get extra sensitive.
  • Recovery stage – the person shows signs of recovery.
    However, some persons still show signs of mental illness i.e., PTSD.

The symptoms of PTSD include –

  • nightmares, flashbacks, severe anxiety
  • hypervigilance and avoidance of situations that bring back the trauma
  • irritability, social isolation
  • survivor’s guilt.

Maharashtra Board Class 12 Psychology Notes Chapter 6 Psychological Disorders

Substance-Related And Addictive Disorders:
Addictive disorders refer to the physical and psychological inability to stop consuming some substance or indulging in some activity although it is harmful. This includes dependence on drugs, nicotine, alcohol, etc., or activities like gambling, eating, gaming, etc. Drug addiction refers to an inability to control the use of alcohol, nicotine, narcotics, marijuana, medications, etc.

Symptoms of addiction are –

  • Excessive consumption of drugs or alcohol and inability to reduce the dosage.
  • In case the person tries to stop the drug use, then withdrawal symptoms occur which include sweating, tremors, muscle pain, goosebumps, etc.
  • Physical and psychological dependence may lead to drug abuse or overdose of the addictive substance and even cause the death of the person.
  • The person’s physical, emotional, social and financial well-being breakdown. Alcoholics
    Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are organizations that help addicts to overcome dependence.

The term ‘Schizophrenia’ is derived from Greek words Schizein (to split) and phren (mind). It was coined in 1911 by a Swiss psychologist, Paul Eugene Bleuler. Thus, the literal meaning of the word ‘schizophrenia’ is split mind. It is a psychotic disorder.

According to DSM-5 the two types of symptoms for schizophrenia are:

  • Positive symptoms,
  • Negative symptoms.

Positive symptoms are an excess addition to normal thoughts or behaviour of the period. Such symptoms are –

  • hallucinations – mainly auditory and visual hallucination
  • delusions – mainly of grandeur, reference and persecution
  • disorganized thought and speech
  • bizarre body movements and disorganized behaviour
  • incongruent affect.

Negative symptoms are deficits of normal emotional responses or of thought processes. They lead to low level of functioning and may not improve much even with treatment.

This includes –

  • emotional blunting – diminished emotional expression
  • anhedonia – inability to experience deep positive emotions
  • alogia – diminished speed
  • asociality – lack of desire to form relationships
  • avolition – lack of motivation
  • apathy.

Sometimes, a schizophrenic exhibits positive as well as negative symptoms.

Treating Psychological Disorders:
Signs that help to identify individuals who require expert (professional) help in mental health are called ‘red flags’. Symptoms, if present, in any person should satisfy three requirements

  1. it should be present for a considerably long period of time
  2. symptom has become more severe than before
  3. it has created problems in the person’s life.

The signals indicating a need for professional help are:

  • inability to concentrate or to sleep well.
  • severe confusion and memory loss.
  • intense and uncontrollable negative feelings.
  • self-neglect or even self-harm.
  • loss of interest in friends/ family/ activities.
  • odd statements or strange use of words.

Treatment strategies range form pharmacotherapy (administering drugs) to psychotherapy such as Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Group/Family Therapy, etc. Mental heath professionals are qualified to decide the plan of treatment.

Maharashtra Board Class 12 Psychology Notes Chapter 6 Psychological Disorders


Anxiety – A state in which the feelings of an individual experience of uneasiness and worry and tends to anticipate that there will be danger or failure in the future.

→ Delusion – A false belief that is strongly held by an individual even in the presence of contradictory evidence

→ Depression – A state of experiencing sadness, pessimism, loss of interest in activities that previously were enjoyable along with physical, cognitive and behavioural changes.

→ Distress – A negative emotional state indicating worry.

→ DSM-5 – The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 was published by the American Psychiatric Association in 2013: it is a widely used manual on the definition and classification of mental disorders.

→ Dysfunction – Any impairment or disturbance leading to abnormality in behaviours or functioning.

→ Hallucination – It is a false visual/auditory perception that occurs in the absence of appropriate stimuli.

→ ICD- 11 – The International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) consisting of a manual on the definition and classification of mental disorders.

→ Mental Health – It is a state of mind that is characterised by emotional well being, good adjustment and ability to cope with the demands and stresses of daily living.

→ Stigma – A negative social attitude which is associated with individuals diagnosed with a mental disorder and often leads to social disapproval, discrimination and exclusion of that individual in society.

→ Alcoholics Anonymous – It is an international, nonprofessional, self-supporting, mutual aid fellowship started by Bill Wilson and Bob Smith in 1935 in the USA. Its stated purpose is to enable its members to stop drinking and stay sober. It has a 12 step programme to help stop alcohol abuse and recover from alcoholism.