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Abnormal Psychology

Course CodeBPS307
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Study abnormal psychology for a greater understanding of mental health problems and their treatment

Learn more about the human mind and how it works. 

  • Learn about the criteria for determining mental disorders.
  • Be able to identify a range of psychological disorders.
  • Understand the causes of disorders.
  • Develop your knowledge to enable you to determine courses of treatment for different disorders.
  • Learn about mood, anxiety, and drug disorders as well as psychotic, gender, food, and personality disorders.
  • Learn from knowledgeable expert tutors with real-world experience.


This course is of interest to anyone working with people, for example,

  • Support Workers.
  • Foster Carers.
  • Teachers.
  • Parents.
  • Children and Family Workers.
  • Educational staff.
  • Writers.
  • Counsellors.
  • Mental Health Staff.
  • Law Enforcement Staff.

Study and gain knowledge for  your career and professional development.




The course has eleven lessons -

Lesson 1. Disorders Usually First Diagnosed in Infancy

Lesson 2. Delirium, Dementia, Amnesic and Other Cognitive Disorders

Lesson 3. Substance-Related Disorders

Lesson 4. Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders

Lesson 5. Mood Disorders

Lesson 6. Anxiety Disorders

Lesson 7. Somatoform, Factitious, and Dissociative Disorders

Lesson 8. Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders

Lesson 9. Eating and Sleep Disorders

Lesson 10. Impulse-Control Disorders, Adjustment Disorder

Lesson 11. Personality Disorders

Learning Aims:  Distinguish between different types of Personality Disorder.

Cognitive Disorders are an Example of Abnormal Psychology

The cognitive disorders include dementia, delirium and amnesia. The major feature of this class of disorders is a significant impairment of cognition or memory that represents a marked deterioration from a previous level of functioning. Cognitive disorders occur most often in the elderly. Because the average ages of people in most western societies are increasing, these disorders assume ever-increasing importance. Delirium, dementia, amnestic and other cognitive disorders result from demonstrable abnormalities in brain structure and function.  Whilst cognitive abilities are usually disrupted, it is also possible that there is disruption to behavioural and emotional processes or indeed that the latter are the only manifestation.
There are 3 main categories of disorder:
Delirium - This is acute generalised cognitive decline in attention and cognitive capabilities. It may be caused physical or mental illness. It involves an impairment or alteration of consciousness. Causes of delirium may include:
  • malnutrition
  • Drug intoxication
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Following seizure or head trauma
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Brain damage.
Dementia - This is chronic generalised cognitive impairment, which is usually selective to begin with and then becomes generalised. Dementia is not a disease as such; but a combination of two or more cognitive impairments. Unlike delirium, dementia doesn't involve alteration to consciousness (except in the case of dementia with Lewy bodies). Sufferers can still exhibit accompanying delirium. 
Specific syndromes - Other syndromes may include amnestic syndrome and focal cerebral syndromes.    
Amnestic disorders are a group of disorders involving loss of memories previous established, loss of the ability to create new memories or loss of the ability to learn new information.  Amnestic disorders occur when there is impairment to memory, but no delirium or dementia present.  Amnestic disorders manifest with the person having difficulty in remembering past events or forming new memories, but are able to talk coherently and also appropriately.  It is also characterized by a drastic decline in memory functioning that is not connected with states of the above delirium or dementia.  
Cognitive Disorder NOS (not otherwise specified) is diagnosed when a patient has a syndrome of cognitive impairment that does not meet the criteria for delirium, dementia or amnestic disorders. They are often due to a specific medical condition and/or a pharmacological reaction.  It is also similar to telling someone that their car has a problem that cannot be otherwise specified.  It is a very tricky diagnosis that most mental health professionals use when there is no other choice for diagnosis.  
Spotting Dementia and Other Conditions are the subject of increasing research, carried out by doctors to be able to detect dementia at early stages.  For example, doctors in America have used brain scans to distinguish between those with Alzheimer’s disease and those with vascular dementia, which is caused by poor blood flow to the brain.  Until this scan was developed, both groups of patients would have tended to be treated together and some may not have received the care they required. However, whilst neither of these conditions can be reversed, if they had vascular dementia, something could be done to prevent further damage to the patient.  Doctors can use MRI scans (magnetic resonance imaging) to create 3-D images of the person’s brain. Another technique is MRS (magnetic resonance spectroscopy) which looks at chemical activity in key areas of the brain.


Study with ACS to improve your job and career prospects.

  • Learn from knowledgeable, highly experienced tutors.
  • Get full one-to-one support from your tutor for the duration of your studies.
  • You choose when and where to study - our courses are self-paced, and you have the choice of online or eLearning study methods giving you additional flexibility.
  • Work while you study - don't put your life on hold, carry on working while you are learning.
  • Our experiential approach to learning means you gain a full understanding of what you learn - knowledge that you can demonstrate and apply in your career.
  • Start studying with us at any time.


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Meet some of our academics

Lyn QuirkM.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head for TAFE, she brings a wealth of skills and experience to her role as a tutor for ACS.
Tracey JonesWidely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience. Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies).

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Counselling HandbookFull of interesting case studies, this ebook is a wonderful introduction to the complex world of the human psyche. Chapters include: Using Counselling, Seeing Behind the Mask, Emotions and Attitudes, Communicating Better, Theory vs Practice, Diffusing Difficult Situations and Golden Rules for Counselors. 43 pages
How Children ThinkLearn more about child psychology and how children think. Have you ever tried to make a child clean up their mess, stop throwing mud or stop drawing on the walls? Then you will know that children think differently to adults. This book is for parents or students of psychology. Seven chapters cover: developmental stages, the influence of nature and nurture, creating balance, changing behaviours, problems and solutions, and staying up to date. 73 pages 40 colour photos