For Jamal, learning about abnormal psychology has been fascinating. Despite what he’s read on the internet, Jamal now realizes that abnormal behavior isn’t simply weird, nor does it necessarily indicate that a person has a mental illness. Given his own lived experiences with depression, Jamal now acknowledges the fact that he, too, has suffered from varying degrees of mental illness throughout his life. In fact, for many years, Jamal has felt as though he should seek mental health support to learn how to better manage his depression. Several of Jamal’s family members and friends have been diagnosed and treated by mental health professionals for various psychological issues in the past, which has inspired a question: How does someone know that the time has come to seek the therapeutic support of a mental health professional?

Jamal’s research led him to discover the Four D’s, a diagnostic paradigm that practitioners often use to conceptualize psychological disorders, which consists of the following factors: distress, dysfunction, danger, and deviance. In his review of the literature, Jamal noted that the linkages between these constructs aren’t always linear or mutual (e.g., a psychological problem may be considered dysfunctional, but not necessarily distressful; a psychological problem may be considered distressful, but not necessarily deviant). As Jamal considered the importance of diagnostic accuracy in the treatment of psychological disorders, he thought about his own mental health and wondered, “My depression may cause feelings of despair, but to what extent does it actually impair my ability to function?”

Disorder/Behavior List

Anxiety: A psychological response to a stimulus that is perceived as threatening

Example: Avoiding interaction at a party due to discomfort in social situations

Depression: A persistent feeling of sadness and despair that can result in a loss of interest in various life activities

Example: Excessive crying

Dissociation: A psychological detachment and separation from self and environment

Examples: Daydreaming, highway hypnosis

Mania: A period of intense energy expenditure that may involve delusions and engagement in high-risk behavior

Examples: Excessive spending, reckless driving

Obsessive thoughts/compulsive behaviors: Persistent and undesirable thoughts or urges and ritualistic behaviors often driven by preoccupation with a negative outcome

Example: Frequent hand washing that is motivated by a fear of being contaminated by germs

Panic: An intense period of fear combined with physiological symptoms (e.g., rapid speech, sweating, nausea)

Example: Stomach gets upset and hands shake while speaking in front of a group (public speaking)

Phobia: A fear of a specific, often nonthreatening stimulus

Examples: Seeks an escape route when in a crowded area (Agoraphobia: fear of crowded spaces)

Psychosis: A psychological state in which one experiences hallucinations, delusions, and/or a persistent and unchangeable belief in something that is obviously false

Example: Acting suspiciously due to suspecting that food is being poisoned


The following resources support your work on this activity:

Reading: Conceptualizing Psychiatric Disorders Using “Four D’s” of Diagnoses

Module Five Milestone Template: You may use this template to complete the Module Five Milestone assignment.

Psychology Research Guide: This resource was created to help you find psychology related content.

Purdue OWL: This resource is provided to assist you with referencing resources according to APA standards.

For this milestone, you will use the Four D’s diagnostic indicators to analyze one behavior that might impair a person’s adaptive daily functioning. You will determine if that behavior could potentially represent a clinical disorder. Use your template to address the rubric criteria listed below with a minimum of 3 to 5 sentences per bullet. Support your answers with a credible source when necessary.

From the list in the Overview, select one behavior that might impair a person’s adaptive daily functioning, then address the following:

Distress: Describe the extent to which the selected behavior causes distress as characterized by mental or emotional imbalance.

Dysfunction: Describe the extent to which the selected behavior causes dysfunction by interfering with adaptive daily functioning.

Danger: Describe the extent to which the selected behavior presents as a danger to self or others.

Deviance: Describe the extent to which the selected behavior deviates from normality.

Guidelines for Submission

Submit your completed Module Five Milestone Template. Sources should be cited according to APA style.


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