Psychological Disorders Class 12 Notes

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psychological disorders class 12

Often referred to as mental disorders or psychiatric disorders, Psychological disorders are one of the largest areas of enquiry in Psychology. All major disorders are categorized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This volume helps in the treatment, analysis and detection of disorders in patients. Psychological disorders are covered in class 12th to help students prepare for a career in Psychology. In this blog, we present to you our detailed and insightful notes on Psychological Disorders Class 12:

Also Read: 100 Psychological Facts You Must Know

Concept of Abnormality and Psychological Disorders

Before we begin our notes on Psychological Disorders Class 12, let’s understand the concept of abnormality and psychological disorders. Meaning of Abnormality can be aptly described with the help of 4Ds :

  1. Deviance: Psychological disorders are characterized by Deviance, Unusual, Bizarre, Strange
  2. Dysfunction: Interferes with the normal functioning of an individual.
  3. Distress: It implies behaviour that is unpleasant and distressing to oneself and to others.
  4. Danger It means behaviour that is harmful and dangerous to the person concerned and others.

Approaches to Study Abnormality and Psychological Disorders

Psychological Disorders Class 12 also covers the different approaches to the study of abnormality and mental disorders:

  • First Approach views abnormal behaviour as deviation from social norms and those who are not able to fit in the society are viewed as deviants
  • The second Approach is the maladaptive approach according to which behaviour that does not help the other person in leading a fulfilling life should be viewed as abnormal.

Factors underlying Abnormal Behaviour

There are various factors underlying Abnormal Behaviour according to Psychological Disorders Class 12:

Biological Model

A wide range of biological factors like hormonal imbalances, faulty genes, and other factors may have repercussions on the normal functioning and development of individuals. As per various researches and studies, Abnormal activity by various neurotransmitters may lead to abnormal behaviour and Psychological disorders like schizophrenia may happen because of the high activity of dopamine and depression may be due to the low activity of serotonin.

Genetic Model

A lot of Psychological Disorders like Schizophrenia, Depression, Anxiety Happen because of hereditary factors and genetic mapping of individuals. These may be regressive in nature but can be triggered in an individual life to external stimuli.

Psychological Model

According to Psychological Disorders Class 12, there are several Psychological factors due to which the development of Psychological Disorders may happen and some of those factors are Maladaptive Family Structure, Faulty Parent-Child relationship, severe stress, maternal deprivation etc. Various other psychological models which provide a substantial explanation of Psychological disorders are explained as follows:

  • Psychodynamic Model focus on the fact that human behaviour whether normal or Abnormal is a result of Psychological forces (Id, Ego, Superego) in the unconscious mind and the relative strength of Id, Ego and Superego determines a person’s personality.
  • Behavioural Model states that human behaviour whether normal or Abnormal can be learnt and unlearnt. Abnormal behaviour is a result of learning Maladaptive ways of Behaving. There are three most eminent theories of the behavioural model are classical conditioning, operant conditioning and social learning.
  • Cognitive Model states that Abnormal Behaviour is a consequence of faulty thinking and negative and irrational beliefs about one self and others and drawing broad negative conclusions on the basis of insignificant event results in abnormal behaviour.
  • Humanistic-Existential Model-This model views human beings in a positive light and believes that human beings are inherently positive, cooperative and can self-actualize. Those who lack meaning in their lives tend to leave empty, depressed and dysfunctional lives.
  • Socio-cultural model: Various socio-cultural factors like employment conditions, war, prejudice, discrimination, culture(collectivistic or individualistic) explain human behaviour whether normal or Abnormal in the best possible manner.
  • Diathesis Stress Model: As per this model Psychological Disorders develop when a Diathesis (biological predisposition to the disorder) is set off by a stressful situation.

Also Read: Must Watch Movies on Psychological Disorders

Major Psychological Disorders

According to Psychological Disorders Class 12, some major psychological disorders are covered by DSM5 are:

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Anxiety Disorders

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Anxiety is defined as a vague and unpleasant feeling of fear and apprehension and some of its symptoms are rapid heart rate, fainting, dizziness, sweating etc. The main types of anxiety disorders are described as follows:

Generalised Anxiety Disorders

  • Consists of vague, intense and inexplicable that is not attributed to any particular object or cause. 
  • Its symptoms are frequent worry, apprehension, hypervigilance that involves continuous scanning of dangers in the environment and motor tension. A person finds it pretty difficult to stay at ease and relax.

Panic Disorder

  • Comprising frequent anxiety attacks in which the person experiences intense terror and here, anxious thoughts are experienced due to a specific cause or stimuli.
  • Symptoms include shortness of breath, choking, nausea, fear of going crazy or death, chest pain etc.


According to Psychological Disorders Class 12, Phobias are defined as irrational fears related to a particular object, person or situation. Three types of Phobias are

  1. Specific Phobias highly irrational fears such as fear of a specific type of animal or being enclosed into enclosed spaces
  2. Social Phobias is defined as a feeling of intense fear and embarrassment when dealing with others in public
  3. Agoraphobia is the fear of entering unfamiliar situations and people with agoraphobia have problems in leaving their home as well and thus due to which they are not able to carry out their normal activities as well.

Separation Anxiety Disorders

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It is defined as an intense fear of being separated from attachment figures to such an extent that it hinders their development as well. Children with Separation Anxiety Disorder show the following symptoms are reluctant to go to school alone, shadow every move of their parents and throw tantrums when they are away from their parents even for a little while.

Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders

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  • People who suffer from OCD are preoccupied with a certain idea or a thought and they are unable to prevent themselves from carrying out a particular activity that hinders their normal day to day functioning.
  • Obsessive Behaviour means the inability to stop thinking about a particular Behaviour or a thought.
  • Compulsive Behaviour is the need to perform certain behaviours over and over again.

Also Read: Social Influence and Group Processes Class 12 Notes

Trauma and Stress- Related Disorder

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  • People who have been victims of bomb blasts, terrorist attacks often experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
  • Some of its key symptoms are mentioned below are
    • Recurrent Dreams
    • Frequent flashbacks
    • Emotional distress

These are defined as conditions in which the client feels some of the physical symptoms and Psychological difficulties without any biological and medical cause. Main types of somatic symptom and related disorders are explained as follows-

Somatic Symptom Disorder

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  • Persistent body Related symptoms are seen in this disorder which does not have a definite medical cause.
  • People with this disorder are preoccupied with their Symptoms, worry about their health and thus, make frequent visits to doctors.

Illness Anxiety Disorder

As the name suggests, people with illness Anxiety Disorder are preoccupied about the thought of developing a serious illness.

Conversion Disorder

Clients with conversion Disorder report loss of a body part or bodily function like deafness, blindness, difficulty in walking etc.

Dissociative Disorders

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Dissociation is defined as a feeling of estrangement, unreality or depersonalisation etc. Some of the major Dissociative Disorders mentioned in the psychological disorders class 12 chapter are-

Dissociative Amnesia

  • Its main characteristic feature is extensive but selective memory loss where people fail to remember either a particular incident, phase of life or cannot remember anything about their past. It is associated with high stress.

Dissociative Identity Disorder

  • Its main root lies in Traumatic childhood experiences and it is also known as multiple personality disorder. A person assumes alternate or different personalities which may or may not be aware of each other.


  • This involves a dream-like state in which there is a sense of being separated from self and reality.
  • A person’s sense of reality is temporarily lost.

Dissociative Fugue

  • New identity formation happens because of an unexpected travel away from the workplace and home.
  • People with Dissociative Fugue experience inability to recall the previous identity.


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Depression is defined as one of the most widely recognized mental disorders and it usually indicates a range of negative emotions and behavioural changes. Depression is usually experienced either after a fallout in a relationship or our failure to attain a significant goal.

Major Depressive Disorder

It is characterised by loss of interest and enthusiasm in most of the activities in our life and along with that other symptoms include irregular sleep patterns, change in body weight, irritability, withdrawal from social relationships, etc. Factors predisposing to Depression are mentioned below-

  1. Age: Women are likely to get depressed in young adulthood and men are likely to get depressed during middle age either due to midlife crisis.
  2. Genetics: It is a crucial factor that determines an individual’s proneness to depression.
  3. Other factors: Significant bad phase in life or lack of desired social support can cause depression as well.

People who suffer from mania are highly euphoric, talkative and easily distractible and episodes of mania are accompanied alternatively by depression. In bipolar mood disorder, both mania and depression happen alternatively and in between, there are periods of normal mood as well.


Suicide is a major concern as the suicide rate has increased and some of the symptoms of suicide are mentioned below

  • Difficulty in maintaining concentration.
  • A drastic change in personality.
  • Change in eating and sleep pattern
  • Cut off from family and friends 
  • Drug and alcohol abuse.

Factors leading to suicide are given below-

  1. The last attempt of suicide is the strongest factor.
  2. Significant problems in the family, peer group, work-life, and inability to deal with them may lead to suicide.
  3. Culture also is an important factor determining suicide.

Some measures suggested by WHO to reduce Suicide

  1. Care for people who attempted suicide and providing them much needed support
  2. Limiting access to suicide.
  3. Early identification, treatment and prevention of people who are at risk

Schizophrenia Disorders

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It is the descriptive term for a group of psychotic disorders in which functioning in personal, social and work life deteriorates and the causes behind that can be motor abnormalities, unusual emotional states and strange perceptions. Psychological disorders class 12 states the symptoms of Schizophrenia is classified into three categories:

Positive Symptoms

They are defined as bizarre additions to a person’s behaviour and they are mentioned below and are basically excess of thought, emotion and behaviour.


It is defined as a false belief that is firmly held on inadequate grounds and they are of various types –

  1. Delusion Of Persecution -People believe that they are being plotted against, spied upon and threatened.
  2. Delusion Of Reference-People attach special and personal meaning to actions and events of others
  3. Delusion Of Grandeur-People believes themselves to be highly empowered.
  4. Delusion Of Control-People believes that their thoughts, emotions, feelings are in the hands of others.


Perceptions that occur in absence of stimuli are defined as hallucination and various types of Hallucination are described as follows-

  1. Auditory Hallucination: Patients hear sounds or voices that speak sounds, phrases, words etc.
  2. Tactile Hallucination-People experience tingling and burning sensation.
  3. Olfactory Hallucination-People experience the smell of poison or smoke.

Negative Symptoms 

They are pathological deficits and include poverty of speech, blunted and flat affect and social withdrawal.

  • Alogia-People show a reduction in speech content
  • Blunted Effect– People show less anger, sadness, joy etc.
  • Flat effect-People at times exhibit no emotion at all.
  • Avolition– Inability to start or complete a course of action.

Psychomotor Symptoms

They move less spontaneously and make odd gestures.

  • Catatonic Stupor-People remain motionless and silent for long stretches of time.
  • Catatonic Rigidity-People maintain rigid postures for hours.
  • Catatonic Posturing-People maintain awkward and bizarre positions for long stretches of time.

Formal Thought Disorders 

In the chapter, Psychological disorders class 12, there are formal thought disorders wherein people are not able to think rationally, communicate properly, quickly switch from one topic to another and at times invent their own phrases too.

Neurodevelopmental Disorders 

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According to Psychological Disorders Class 12, there are neurodevelopmental disorders manifest during early childhood and impact academic and personal development. They are characterised as excesses or deficits in a particular behaviour. Several neurodevelopmental disorders are discussed as follows-

Attention-Deficit /Hyperactivity Disorder

Main features of ADHD are-

  • Inattention is defined as the ability to sustain attention in academics or play. Children who are inattentive quickly lose interest in boring activities, are disorganized and find it difficult to follow instructions.
  • Impulsivity is defined as the inability to control their immediate reaction to the stimulus in the environment and they are habitual of instant gratification and they find it difficult to delay their gratification.
  • Hyperactivity Children who are hyperactive have difficulty sitting still through class and are in constant motion. Boys are four times more likely to get diagnosed with ADHD as compared to girls.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

This disorder is characterised by difficulty in social communication, interaction and restricted categories of interests. Children with autism are unresponsive to others in social situations, face problems in communication and are intellectually deficient as well.

Specific Learning Disorder

The individual experiences problems in processing information accurately and efficiently and in reading, writing. In the early years of childhood, academic performance is usually below average but with efforts and inputs, it can be improved.

Disruptive, Impulse-Control and Conduct Disorders

Various disorders under this category according to the chapter on Psychological Disorders Class 12-

  1. Oppositional Defiant Disorder(ODD)
    1. People exhibit an age-inappropriate amount of stubbornness and are defiant.
    2. People behave in a hostile manner.
  2. Conduct Disorder and Antisocial Behaviour Actions which are not appropriate as per family expectations and societal norms. Behaviours in conduct disorder are of aggressive nature and include those actions which cause harm to others. Types of aggressive behaviour include
    1. Verbal Aggression includes actions like name-calling, swearing etc.
    2. Physical Aggression includes hitting, fighting with others.
    3. Proactive Aggression includes bullying and dominating others without being provoked.
    4. Hostile Aggression is aimed at inflicting injury to others.

Feeding and Eating Disorders

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According to Psychological Disorders Class 12 chapter, there are various eating disorders:

Anorexia Nervosa

People with Anorexia Nervosa see themselves as overweight and thus due to their self-image, they exercise extensively and refuse to eat. They can starve themselves to death as well at times.

Bulimia Nervosa

People with Bulimia Nervosa may over-eat and then purge their body by vomiting or using laxatives and thus, feel relieved.

Binge Eating

Binge Eating is characterized by frequent episodes of out-of-control eating. The erratic eating patterns can be harmful to the health and well-being of the individual.

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Disorders which are related to maladaptive Behaviours resulting from regular and consistent use of substance involved are included under substance-related and Addictive disorders and some of the frequently used substances are explained below-


  • People who abuse alcohol and rely on it to handle severe situations and this addiction interfere with their ability to function well in their social, personal, and work lives.
  • Due to excessive consumption of alcohol, the body of alcoholics develops a tolerance for alcohol which means that they have to consume it to feel normal.
  • Withdrawal of alcohol results in a huge range of Psychological problems like anxiety, depression and other health problems as well.


  • It impacts our social and occupational functioning.
  • People develop a tolerance for it and experience withdrawal when they stop consuming Heroin
  • It paralyzes breath and may lead to death as well.


  • May cause problems in short term memory and attention.
  • People develop a tolerance for it and experience withdrawal when they stop consuming Cocaine
  • People who are Cocaine addicts may function poorly in their work-life and social life.
  • It has serious repercussions on Psychological and physical well-being.

Also Read: Class 12 Psychology Sample Papers

Important Questions for Psychological Disorders Class 12

Important question and answers for Psychological Disorders Class 12-

Q. Identify the symptoms associated with depression and mania.
Ans. Symptoms of Mania are highly euphoric, talkative and easily distractible and symptoms of depression are loss of interest in all the activities which they like, change in eating and sleeping patterns, cut off from family and friends etc.

Q. Describe the characteristics of hyperactive children.
Ans. Children who are hyperactive have difficulty sitting still through class and are in constant motion.

Q. Distinguish between obsessions and compulsions.
Ans. Obsessive Behaviour means the inability to stop thinking about a particular Behaviour or a thought. Compulsive Behaviour is the need to perform certain behaviours over and over again.

Psychological Disorders Class 12 NCERT PDF

Must Read: Entrance Exams for Psychology after 12th


What is a Genetic Model?

A lot of Psychological Disorders like Schizophrenia, Depression, Anxiety Happen because of hereditary factors and genetic mapping of individuals.

What does Anxiety mean?

Anxiety is defined as a vague and unpleasant feeling of fear and apprehension and some of its symptoms are rapid heart rate, fainting, dizziness, sweating etc.

What are Hallucinations?

Perceptions that occur in absence of stimuli are defined as hallucination.

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