Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Abnormal Psychology

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9780078050503: Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Abnormal Psychology

Taking Sides volumes present current controversial issues in a debate-style format designed to stimulate student interest and develop critical thinking skills. Each issue is thoughtfully framed with Learning Outcomes, an Issue Summary, an Introduction, and an Exploring the Issue section featuring Critical Thinking and Reflection, Is There Common Ground?, and Additional Resources. Taking Sides readers also offer a Topic Guide and an annotated listing of Internet References for further consideration of the issues. An online Instructor’s Resource Guide with testing material is available for each volume. Using Taking Sides in the Classroom is also an excellent instructor resource. Visit www.mhhe.com/takingsides for more details.

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TAKING SIDES: Clashing Views in Abnormal Psychology, Seventh Edition

Table of Contents


Clashing Views in Abnormal Psychology, Seventh Edition

Unit 1 Psychological Conditions and Treatments

Issue 1. Is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) a Real Disorder?
YES: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (NIH Publication No. 08-3572). (National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2012, May 22), www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivitydisorder/index.shtml
NO: Rogers H. Wright, from “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: What It Is and What It Is Not,” in Rogers H. Wright and Nicholas A. Cummings, eds., Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm (Routledge, 2005)
The National Institute of Mental Health concurs with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in viewing ADHD as a valid disorder that warrants thoughtful diagnosis and effective intervention. Psychologist Rogers H. Wright argues that ADHD has vague diagnostic criteria that lead to overdiagnosis and overmedication of an excessive number of people.
Issue 2. Is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Overdiagnosed and Overtreated?
YES: Stephen Joseph, from “Has PTSD Taken Over America?” (2011, November 18), www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-doesnt-kill-us/201111/has-ptsd-taken-over-america; “What Is Trauma?” (2012, January 05), www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-doesnt-kill-us/201201/what-is-trauma; “Therapy for Posttraumatic Growth: Car Mechanics and Gardeners” (2011, November 01), www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-doesnt-kill-us/201111/therapy-posttraumatic-growth-car-mechanics-and-gardeners; “Changing How We Think About Psychological Trauma” (2011, October 28), www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-doesnt-kill-us/201110/changing-how-we-think-about-psychological-trauma
NO: U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, National Center for PTSD, from “What Is PTSD?” (2012, April 25), www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/what-is-ptsd.asp; “How Common Is PTSD?” (2012, April 25), www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/how-common-is-ptsd.asp; “Treatment of PTSD” (2012, April 25), www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/treatment-ptsd.asp
Dr. Stephen Joseph argues that since the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a diagnosis, the definition of trauma has been altered from its 1980 definition in DSM-III, and has been applied so loosely that everyday experiences can now be considered traumatic. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) states that PTSD can develop in any individuals who have gone through a life-threatening event that caused them to fear for their lives, see horrible things, and feel helpless. The VA urges therapists to help individuals with PTSD identify what triggers their stressful memories, find ways to cope with intense feelings about the past, become aware of their feelings and reactions in order to change their reactions, and raise their self-esteem.
Issue 3. Is Gender Identity Disorder a Mental Illness?
YES: Traditional Values Coalition, from “A Gender Identity Disorder Goes Mainstream: Cross-Dressers, Transvestites, and Transgenders Become Militants in the Homosexual Revolution” (Traditional Values Coalition)
NO: Kelley Winters, from “Part I: Diagnosis vs. Treatment: The Horns of a False Dilemma” in GID Reform Weblog (2008), and from “Part II: Top Ten Problems with the GID Diagnosis” in GID Reform Weblog (July 1, 2008/July 16, 2008)
The Traditional Values Coalition argues that gender-variant people are psychologically disturbed individuals who need professional help, and that their condition should be viewed as a mental disorder. Kelley Winters asserts that the GID diagnosis imposes the stigma of mental illness upon people who meet no scientific definition of mental disorder.
Issue 4. Is Psychological Debriefing a Harmful Intervention for Survivors of Trauma?
YES: Grant J. Devilly and Peter Cotton, from “Psychological Debriefing and the Workplace: Defining a Concept, Controversies and Guidelines for Intervention,” Australian Psychologist ( July 2003)
NO: Jeffrey T. Mitchell, from “A Response to the Devilly and Cotton Article, ‘Psychological Debriefing and the Workplace …,’” Australian Psychologist (March 2004)
Psychologists Grant J. Devilly and Peter Cotton assert that critical incident stress debriefing (CISD) is poorly defined and has been shown to do more harm than good. They propose alternative approaches for responding to trauma survivors, which they consider more effective. Jeffrey T. Mitchell of the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) argues that Devilly and Cotton have misrepresented important information about psychological debriefing and have confused several aspects of this system of responding to trauma survivors.

Unit 2 The Trend Toward Biological Interventions

Issue 5. Do We Still Need Psychiatrists?
YES: Steven Moffic, from “Why We Still Need Psychiatrists!” (2012, April 12), www.madinamerica.com/2012/04/why-we-still-need-psychiatrists/
NO: Steven Balt, from “Yes, We Still Need Psychiatrists, but for What?” (2012, April 15), http://thoughtbroadcast.com/2012/04/15/yes-we-still-need-psychiatrists-but-for-what/
Psychiatrist Steven Moffic states that psychiatrists play critically important roles in the field of mental health care because they are extensively trained and well-versed in understanding the functioning of the human body and the treatment of mental disorders. He urges psychiatrists to accept constructive criticism and to take steps to move forward in developing innovative intervention models such as collaborating on-site with primary care physicians in offering integrated care. Psychiatrist Steven Balt believes that psychiatrists have overstepped the boundaries of their position, and doing so has often led to mislabeling and mistreating countless people. He contends that much of what psychiatrists do is pseudoscience, but that most people nevertheless buy into the psychiatric model. He argues that psychiatrists, with their years of scientific education, can use their influence to change the current state of affairs in the field of mental health.
Issue 6. Should “Smart Drugs” Be Used to Enhance Cognitive Functioning?
YES: Barbara J. Sahakian and Sharon Morein-Zamir, from “Neuroethical Issues in Cognitive Enhancement,” Journal of Psychopharmacology (vol. 25, no. 2, 2011). doi:10.1177/0269881109106926
NO: Helia Garrido Hull, from “Regression by Progression: Unleveling the Classroom Playing Field Through Cosmetic Neurology,” University of Hawaii Law Review (vol. 33, no. 1, 2010)
Professor Barbara J. Sahakian and Dr. Sharon Morein-Zamir note that cognitive enhancing medications provide considerable benefits to individuals with cognitive disabilities, and can also serve as “smart drugs” for healthy individuals for the purpose of cognitive enhancement. While more research is needed into the long-term effects of these drugs on healthy individuals, responsible use of these drugs is recommended in order to gain maximum benefits with minimal harm to the individual and to society as a whole. Attorney and Professor Helia Garrido Hull explains that the use of cognitive enhancing drugs by healthy individuals can have a negative impact on individuals with disabilities. The use of such drugs in competitive environments such as classrooms creates an imbalance between students without cognitive disabilities and those with disabilities for whom the drugs were originally intended. She asserts that the government has a responsibility to enforce the law in order to maintain the integrity of decades of legal precedent intended to protect individuals with disabilities from becoming disadvantaged again. Although many of these drugs are listed as controlled substances, their use without a prescription has become widespread and viewed as morally acceptable.
Issue 7. Should Memory-Dampening Drugs Be Used to Prevent and Treat Trauma in Combat Soldiers?
YES: Elise Donovan, from “Propranolol Use in the Prevention and Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Military Veterans: Forgetting Therapy Revisited,” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine (vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 61–74, 2010)
NO: The President’s Council on Bioethics, from “Happy Souls,” in Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness, pp. 205–273 (The President’s Council on Bioethics, 2003)
Research scientist Elise Donovan states that an alarming and rising number of soldiers are returning from combat suffering from PTSD, and that medications such as the beta-blocker propranolol can alleviate their symptoms. Propranolol, she argues, will help soldiers with PTSD who have essentially lost “their sense of self” reintegrate into society. Because the drug causes memory dampening, rather than memory loss, it will create an opportunity for veterans to better cope with everyday life upon returning from combat. She believes that symptoms and consequential behaviors associated with PTSD (i.e., suicide, domestic abuse, alcohol or drug abuse) will be greatly reduced in PTSD patients who take propranolol. Dr. Donovan also states that use of propranolol will foster an experience of posttraumatic growth. The President’s Council on Bioethics, chaired by Dr. Leon Kass, criticizes the use of memory-dampening drugs to treat the symptoms of trauma by asking, “What kind of society are we likely to have when the powers to control memory, mood, and mental life through drugs reach their full maturity?” The Council asserts that identities are formed by what people do and what they undergo or suffer. Escaping painful memories would necessarily result in a change in the identity of who the person is, as well as the person’s perception and understanding of significant life events.
Issue 8. Is Addiction a Brain Disease?
YES: National Institute on Drug Abuse, from Drugs, Brain, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction, revised ed., Washington, DC: National Institute on Drug Abuse (2007)
NO: Sally Satel and Scott O. Lilienfeld, from “Singing the Brain Disease Blues,” AJOB Neuroscience (vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 46, 47, January, 2010)
In the NIDA publication, the argument is made that addiction is indeed a disease, and that scientific information is available about the nature, prevention, and treatment of this disease. Psychiatrist Sally Satel and psychologist Scott O. Lilienfeld object to the brain disease characterization of drug addiction, asserting that addiction is an activity whose course can be altered by its foreseeable consequences.

Unit 3 Social, Ethical, and Legal Issues

Issue 9. Does Research Confirm That Violent Video Games Are Harmful to Minors?
YES: Leland Y. Yee and Steven F. Gruel, from “Brief of Amicus Curiae in Case of Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association,” U.S. Supreme Court, No. 08-1448 (2010)
NO: Patricia A. Millett, from “Brief of Amici Curiae in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association,” U.S. Supreme Court, No. 08-1448 (2010)
California State Senator Leland Yee and Attorney Steven F. Gruel (Counsel of Record for the professional associations in pediatrics and psychology) contend that substantial research shows that violent video games can cause psychological or neurological harm to minors. Studies have shown that, in addition to fostering aggressive thought and behavior, ultra-violent video games can lead to reduced activity in the frontal lobes of the brain as well as behavioral problems such as antisocial behavior and poor school performance. Senator Yee and Attorney Gruel believe that the government has a duty to protect children, and that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, with regard to free speech, should not be used to place at risk immature children who cannot discern the difference between fantasy and reality. Attorney Patricia A. Millett (Counsel of Record for the amicus curiae submitted on behalf of the Entertainment Merchants Association) argues that there is insufficient evidence to show that violent video games can cause psychological or neurological harm to minors. Attorney Millett claims that the various studies cited in the opposing amicus curiae are either flawed or have been discredited. She also asserts that studies have shown no compelling causal connections between playing violent video games and aggressive or antisocial behavior in youths.
Issue 10. Would Legalization of Virtual Child Pornography Reduce Sexual Exploitation of Children?
YES: Arnold H. Loewy, from “Taking Free Speech Seriously: The United States Supreme Court and Virtual Child Pornography,” UNC Public Law Research Paper No. 02–17 (November 2002)
NO: Diana E. H. Russell and Natalie J. Purcell, from “Exposure to Pornography as a Cause of Child Sexual Victimization,” in Nancy E. Dowd, Dorothy G. Singer, and Robin Fretwell Wilson, Handbook of Children, Culture, and Violence (Sage Publications, 2006)
Professor of law Arnold H. Loewy views the issue of virtual child pornography from a legal perspective, asserting that such material is a form of free speech that ought to be constitutionally protected. He also contends that legalizing virtual child pornography would reduce the extent to which real children would be exploited. Authors Diana E. H. Russell and Natalie J. Purcell express vehement objections to any forms of pornography involving images of children, asserting that Internet users with no previous sexual interest in children may find themselves drawn into a world in which the societal prohibition against adult–child sex is undermined.
Issue 11. Must Mentally Ill Murderers Have a Rational Understanding of Why They Are Being Sentenced to Death?
YES: American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, and National Alliance on Mental Illness, from “Brief for Amici Curiae American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, and National Alliance on Mental Illness in Support of Petitioner,” Scott Louis Panetti v. Nathaniel Quarterman, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 06-6407 (2007)
NO: Greg Abbott et al., from “On Writ of Certiorar...

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