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Mental Disorders-  Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders and Substance-Related Disorders

Mental Disorders- Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders and Substance-Related Disorders

Author: Erick Taggart

This lesson will identify, describe, and differentiate between the symptoms for sexual and gender identity disorders and substance-related disorders.

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Introduction to Psychology

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Mental Disorders- Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders and Substance-Related Disorders

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Hello, class. So in today's lesson, we're going to be looking at mental disorders by focusing on two specific categories of mental disorders that have been studied more in recent years. And they're areas of special development within psychology, especially today. And those are sexual and gender identity disorders, as well as substance-related disorders.

So let's start with the first category. So sexual and gender identity disorders are different kinds of psychological issues related to sexual identity-- in other words, what kind of sexual person you are-- sexual adjustment, as well as impaired sexual functions. You're not able to actually have a normal sort of sexual life. Now, this is a contested area of psychological disorders. In fact, the DSM originally identified homosexuality as a mental disorder within the DSM III. And it wasn't removed until the 1970s.

So a lot of these sorts of things might be contested within different areas of society. Some of these areas are not necessarily considered abnormal or dysfunctional by different people that might have them. Remember, the bottom line when we talk about mental disorders is that they are maladaptive, which is to say that they impair our day-to-day lives as well as our ability to adjust to different kinds of situations.

So there are different categories of sexual and gender identity disorders that we might look at. For example, paraphilias are when a person becomes sexually aroused by things that don't normally stimulate people. An example of this might be non-human objects, like dendrophilia is a psychological disorder where a person is sexually aroused by trees.

Or it might be when a person is sexually aroused by non-consenting people, which is to say things like exhibitionism, where a person enjoys having sexual encounters out in public places, or voyeurism, when a person likes to watch a person, generally when they aren't willing or they're unaware of being watched. And this also includes certain things like being sexually aroused by children or things that a person isn't necessarily supposed to be aroused by within society. And this is what we call pedophilia.

Another category of sexual disorders is sexual dysfunction. And this is when a person particularly has psychological problems related to their sexual desire and arousal. They're unable to become sexually aroused by normal sorts of ways. This is not necessarily biological impotence, which is to say there's specifically something within their body that relates to it, but rather any kind of mental issues that result in sexual dysfunction.

And this also includes gender identity, which is when a person's sexual identity within their minds or psychologically doesn't match their physical sexual identity. And this can result in things like transsexualism, which is to say when a person has feelings of being a different sex or gender than what they're physically, actually are, and they might try to change themselves, oftentimes even surgically, so that they become the opposite sex.

Another category of mental disorders is what we call substance-related disorders, which is to say the abuse of or dependence on different kinds of substances that a person might take that affect their brain and their mental states. So generally, the term that we used to refer to any kind of drug that affects the brain is a psychoactive drug. And the most common of these are ones that you're probably familiar with. These are things like alcohol or caffeine, which is actually one of the most widely used psychoactive drugs, also nicotine and THC, which is the active ingredient within marijuana.

But this also includes other kinds of drugs as well, other ones that you might be familiar with too-- things like opiates, like morphine, which is a drug that people are given within hospital environments, but they can become dependent on as well. It also includes cocaine or amphetamines, like methamphetamine or meth, and hallucinogens, like LSD or what's commonly called acid. So these psychoactive drugs are a special category, and they're ones that need to be considered because they have large effects on our brains and on our mental states.

Now, one of the important things about substance-related disorders is that they can often result in dependence, which is to say, when we talk about, say, physical dependence, that a person if they tried to stop using that substance after a prolonged period, might suffer withdrawals, which are symptoms like shaking, or vomiting, sweating, or headaches. Or sometimes even death can result from this kind of chemical dependence. So these are the symptoms that result in the stopping the usage of some kind of psychoactive drug.

Now, there can also be psychological dependence, which is to say it might not be a physical characteristic that might result. But you might have a strong feeling of need or an intense craving for something, so much so that you almost can't control yourself and you must use that substance. So that's one of the hallmarks of a substance-related disorder.

Now, recent studies show that a lot of substance-related disorders and what we call addiction may actually have a very strong biological component, which is to say a lot of people within families with a history of alcoholism, let's say, may be more likely to actually develop alcoholism themselves. So this says that it's not necessarily a matter of a person's choice whether they become physically dependent on substances like alcohol. It might be something that more biologically predisposed for it. And this is important because it affects how we might actually treat a substance-related disorder as well.

  • Sexual and Gender Identity Disorder

    Psychological issues related to sexual identity, adjustment, and impaired sexual functioning.

  • Substance-Related Disorder

    Abuse of or dependence on substances that affect the brain and mental states.