Exploring Medical Disorders Assignments Get Homework Help

This assignment was designed to get you to put yourself “in the shoes” of a person experiencing a psychological disorder and to think about how well your preconceptions of disorders fit with the reality experienced by people living with them daily.  Use your OWN WORDS, document your sources, use standard English grammar and punctuation, follow the Language Guidelines for Reducing Stigma (on reverse) and carefully proofread your paper (-2 points per error/typo).  Due date:  _________________

DIRECTIONS:   Choose one specific disorder (not a class of disorders, like anxiety disorders) that is listed on our Learning Guide for the Psychological Disorders chapter of the textbook.  I recommend you choose a disorder you know little about.  NOTE:  If you want to choose a disorder you or a close loved one are experiencing, please first consult your doctor or therapist to ensure that is advisable.


Think of this paper as essentially 4 mini-essays.  The information required in each essay or section is described below.  Type your paper using standard 12-point font with no more than 1” margins.  Title your paper with the disorder name and clearly label the four different sections of your paper.


1) PRIOR KNOWLEDGE- share what you already know, believe or guess to be true regarding your specific disorder and explain where this information or your impressions most likely come from. (10 points– should be approximately one paragraph). Note:  Write this BEFORE starting your research.


2) RESEARCH- research the disorder, using the most current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and at least one additional source that addresses your specific disorder.  Clearly note ALL DSM-5 diagnostic criteria in your own words (lettered and numbered criteria) and share at least 5 interesting facts you found in your research (35 points– should be approx. 2-4 paragraphs). Mention each source you used in this section and also include full citations in a works cited page.

3) NARRATIVE– Create a fictionalized story about YOUR daily life, showing how it might be different if you were diagnosable with this disorder.  Write your narrative like a journal or blog entry, from your first-person perspective as an adult but as if you clearly meet the diagnostic criteria (but are not yet in treatment). Write as if you are experiencing the symptoms yourself in the present. DO NOT include the name of the disorder in this section.  (45 points– 1 page min).  If you are having trouble getting started, try “I woke up this morning and…” then follow with a story that clearly shows the deviant, maladaptive, distressing and/or self-defeating nature of the disorder.  To do this, think about what YOU do each day?  How might your daily life be impacted if you had this diagnosis?  For full credit, show how three or more of the following life areas may be impacted: College experience/schoolwork, hobbies/ interests, job or volunteer work, relationships (friends, family, coworkers, significant other, etc.), thoughts or memories, emotional expression, goals and concerns or self-care (eating, bathing, etc.)

4) REFLECTION- Look back over your Prior Knowledge section then reflect on how your thinking, feelings, behaviors and attitudes have changed (or may potentially be changed, moving forward).  Share any new insights you gained through researching your topic and working on this assignment.  Did any ideas occur to you that you had not previously thought of? (10 points– approx. 1 paragraph).

SUBMIT your typed assignment to me as a Word document at the submission link in our BlackBoard class (click on the assignment title to open the submission window then “browse” your computer to attach your saved document).  Plagiarism on this assignment will result in a grade of 0 on the assignment or a grade of F in our class.                 FA 2020

Language Guidelines for Reducing Stigma


The words we use to write and speak about psychological disorders can increase compassion and reduce stigma if chosen carefully. Language can communicate respect for someone or can suggest you devalue or are fearful of them.  Words can contribute to a feeling of hope and acceptance, or despair and rejection. When people constantly hear and use language that denigrates or devalues people facing mental health challenges this can prevent them from seeking help or supporting friends or family members when needed.  Strong negative emotional reactions towards people with mental health issues are often rooted in stigmatizing media portrayals and disrespectful language is a big part of this.  Following these guidelines will ensure that you don’t contribute to this problem!

  1. People first Use language that stresses a person’s humanity over their illness. A psychological disorder (or other condition) is only one aspect of a person’s life, not their defining characteristic. Say “people with psychological disorders” or “a person with schizophrenia” instead of using terms like “schizophrenics” or “the mentally ill”.  “A person facing a mental health challenge” is a person and is perceived as less threatening than a “schizophrenic”.


  1. Be specific- Mental illness, “fit” or “spell” are not very informative. Specific disorders and psychological states vary widely in presentation and diagnostic criteria so specific diagnoses and descriptive terms should be used when possible. For instance, “He was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder” would be preferred over “He was mentally ill”.


  1. Stress the positiveAvoid victim words which are negative and passive. Instead, use language that respects people diagnosed with psychological disorders as active individuals with control over their own lives. Avoid phrases like “suffers from”, “afflicted with” or “victim of” as these suggest helplessness, hopelessness and life of agony.  Instead use phrases like “diagnosed with”, “coping with” or “dealing with the challenges of” to stress that people are living active lives while facing the challenges that accompany their specific mental health issues.


4. Avoid derogatory/antiquated terms & causal use of diagnostic labels-  Many terms used for people with mental illness set them apart and denigrate them, whether purposely or not. If a term is commonly used to disparage and ridicule people DO NOT use it.   If a term would make someone with a disorder feel inferior or excluded DO NOT use it (in our class or ever, please).  Examples of terms to avoid include “disturbed”, “nuts”, “psycho”, “crazy”, “deranged”, “mental” and “mad” but there are many others!  Also avoid casual use of diagnostic labels (“I am so OCD” or “He is so bipolar”) when an actual diagnosis has not been made.  Finally, do not use outdated terms (such as “mentally defective” and “mentally incompetent”), outdated diagnostic labels (such as “manic depressive” and “multiple personalities”) or legal terms (like “sociopath/psychopath” or “insanity/insane”).

He is mentally ill, disordered, etc.

They are mentally ill

He is a person with [disorder name], a person with a mental health issue, etc.  They are people diagnosed with [disorder name], etc.
She is afflicted by, suffers from, a victim of, etc. She is diagnosed with [disorder name], is dealing with [disorder name], etc.
He is crazy, psycho, lunatic, mad, a mental patient, disturbed person, etc. He’s a person with [disorder name], person with mental health issue, person with mental health challenges, etc.
She is schizophrenic, depressed, OCD, etc. She’s a person with [specific disorder name], etc.
He had a fit, spell, attack, mental breakdown, etc. He experienced a panic attack, depressive episode, manic period, etc.
She was a victim of suicide, He committed/failed to commit suicide (commit is used for sins and crimes so has a negative connotation), She made an unsuccessful suicide attempt, etc. She died by suicide, He took his own life, She attempted to end her life, She died from the impact of a mental illness, She survived a suicide attempt, etc.

See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1925070/  & https://www.psychiatry.org/newsroom/reporting-on-mental-health-conditions for more info on the power of language to stigmatize people with mental illness and reduce access to mental health care.   For specifics on language and suicide see:  https://www.suicideinfo.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/IE3.pdf

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