Case Studies in Abnormal Psychology

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Case #1:
Abby Thurmond is clearly suffering from Bulimia Nervosa. She seemingly meets all the criteria and is a prime candidate for the disease. Being from an urban area, such as Miami, has put her at a higher risk. The social learning and cultural ideas she is constantly exposed to may have played a role in the start and continuation of her disorder. Also, Abby is described as “single, independent, and devoted to her work.” These characteristics may lead to perfectionism which is a common personality trait in those with Bulimia nervosa. The fact that she is 42 and writing her first screenplay leads me to believe that she enjoys trying new things and is not afraid to do so. This novelty-seeking personality and behavior can contribute to the impulsivity of her binges. Also, it is known that eating disorders are always more prevalent among women. With this particular diagnosis, later onset is not uncommon. As stated, Abby has been struggling with this problem for 15 years, placing the onset at approximately age 27. This relapse was brought on by a bout of depression she was experiencing after the high of her latest success had worn off. Against her better judgment and the knowledge she had obtained from Overeaters Anonymous, she allowed herself to spend an entire day surrounded by food at her friend’s wedding. In her emotionally vulnerable state and once alone, Abby began to binge. Within the five hours this continued, she experienced a sense of loss of control, trance-like state, anxiety of being found out, and then shame. This is the vicious cycle that takes place with binge eating. If the story ended here I would say she had binge eating disorder, but the presence of incessant exercising and smoking cigarettes to control her appetite lead me to a different disorder. These behaviors are called compensatory and are not present in those with binge eating disorder but are in bulimia nervosa. Fortunately, Abbey does not purge or abuse laxatives/diuretics because these particular compensatory behaviors create significant damage to the body rather quickly. However, biking at night in dangerous places in the city may be equally life-threatening. Based on all the information given, my conclusion is as I previously stated a diagnosis of Bulimia Nervosa. Case 2:

The information given about the male who is a freshman in college was limited. Only one night out with the guys was described. I am unable to make a legitimate diagnosis based on only one event; I can merely speculate about what might be going on with him. This may have been the one and only time he has gone binge drinking or it could be a pattern. He certainly abused the substance by consuming ten glasses of beer. His extreme intoxication changed his behavior and psychological functioning by affecting his central nervous system. After drinking heavily, social problems began to transpire. He became aggressive and this would have developed into violence had the man he challenged agreed to fight. When the man refused him, the depressant aspect of the alcohol became evident. His mood became sad and he appeared close to crying. The bartender grew annoyed by the man’s clumsiness caused by his impaired motor coordination. These are results of an increase in the release of the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma amino butyric acid. The morning after he was slightly hung over, experiencing a headache, but was not experiencing withdrawals. I think he is just an average college kid that had too much to drink one night, but if he continues to drink this much he will then form a tolerance and a dependence.

Case 3:
     This Caucasian man in his mid-thirties is serving a prison sentence for the crime of child molestation. His crimes can be traced back to the improper way his uneducated mother introduced him to sexual activity. His mother frightened him to the point that he believed that all heterosexual contact led to sexually transmitted diseases. This fear led him to...
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