MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences : Other Psychological Disorders

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Other Psychological Disorders

Which of the following psychological disorders listed would be categorized as dissociative disorders?

I. Schizophrenia

II. Schizoid personality disorder

III. Depersonalization disorder

IV. Post-traumatic stress disorder

Possible Answers:

I and II 

III only

II and IV

III and IV 

I, II, and III

Correct answer:

III only

Explanation:

Dissociative disorders are characterized by periods of altered mental status (e.g. disruptions in memory, perception, self-identity, and/or awareness) that occur frequently enough to disrupt a person's ability to function normally. They are thought to be potential results of psychological trauma, but may also result from medication and/or drug use. Dissociative identity disorder, dissociative amnesia, and depersonalization disorder are all considered dissociative disorders.

On the other hand, schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder; although it may include occasional episodes of dissociation, the episodes where individuals lose touch with reality are characterized more by delusions and hallucinations, not a loss of memory or awareness. Individuals with schizoid personality disorder—which is a personality disorder, not a dissociative disorder—have little interest in close relationships with others and are generally "cold" or detached in affect. Post-traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by sudden episodes of worry, unease, apprehension, and fear due to some emotional trigger that causes flashbacks to the traumatic event and hyperarousal during the event.

Example Question #2 : Other Psychological Disorders

Which of the following best represents a class of psychiatric disorders in which an individual knowingly fabricates or exaggerates illness in order to receive medical treatment, sympathy, or care?

Possible Answers:

Hypochondriasis

Conversion disorders

Somatic symptom disorders

Factitious disorders 

Correct answer:

Factitious disorders 

Explanation:

“Factitious disorders” are psychiatric or behavioral conditions in which an individual knowingly fabricates or exaggerates illness in order to receive medical treatment, sympathy, or care. Factitious disorders are distinguished from “hypochondriasis,” “conversion disorders,” and “somatic symptom disorders” in that the individual is consciously creating their symptoms, while in the other disorders listed they are not. 

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