Defense Mechanism

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DEFENSE MECHANISMS IN PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS

I.PSYCHOSES:

*In the acute stage there is a complete loss of the ego’s defense mechanisms, and
disturbing thoughts, feelings, and impulses intrude into the consciousness
*as the individual gradually improves defenses appear

projection
delusional denial
distortion
regression

II.NEUROTIC CONDITIONS:

(Anxiety Disorders; Somatoform Disorders; Dissociative Disorders in DSM IV R)

*defenses are used non-adaptively in social interaction
*they are stereotyped and repeated

Clinically:--disturbing thoughts and impulses are controlled by the ego
defenses but
--feelings intrude into consciousness
--patient is anxious, seeks help because he/she feels uncomfortable
with his life experience (ego-alien)

Phobia:Displacement
Avoidance
Symbolization
Restriction of the Ego

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder:

UndoingReaction Formation
IsolationMagical Beliefs
Intellectualization

Somatoform Disorders:

Somatization
Conversion
Passivity

Dissociative Disorders:

Dissociation
Denial
-2-

III.PERSONALITY DISORDERS:

Defenses are extremely efficient in controlling anxiety (ego syntonic) so that patient is
not disturbed by any unconscious thoughts or feelings. His/her behavior and impulses,
shaped by his/her ego defenses are maladaptive, and interfere with his interpersonal
and work relationship.

CONCLUSION:*Everyone uses defenses at times.
*It is their inappropriate, repetitive or excessive use
which lead to maladaptive behavior.

Cluster A:Paranoid Personality Disorder
--Projection

Schizoid Personality Disorder
--Restriction of ego functions

Schizotypal Personality Disorder
--Distortion
--Identificatin
--Somatization
--Repression
--Acting out
--Fantasy of love and attention
--Dissociation
--Regression

Cluster B:Histrionic Personality Disorder
--Denial
--Identification
--Somatization
--Repression
--Acting out
--Fantasy of love and attention
--Dissociation
--Regression

Borderline Personality Disorder
--Splitting
--Projective identification
--Acting out

-3-

Narcissistic Personality Disorder
--Splitting
--Over-idealization and devaluation (envy)
--Projective identification
--Fantasy of grandiosity and behavior
--Acting out

Antisocial Personality Disorder
--Projection
--Externalization
--Rationalization
--Acting out
--(Superego deficits)

Cluster C:Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder
--Isolation
--Rationalization
--Intellectualization
--Reaction formation
--Fantasy re aggression

Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder
--Repression
--Denial

Avoidant Personality Disorder
--Displacement

Dependent Personality Disorder
--Passivity

IV. DEPRESSION

--Introjection
--Turning against the self
--Passivity
--Isolation
--Identification

V. MATURE BEHAVIOR

--Suppression
--Humor and wit
--Sublimation
--Intellectualization
--Asceticism

In some areas of psychology (especially in psychodynamic theory), psychologists talk about “defense mechanisms,” or manners in which we behave or think in certain ways to better protect or “defend” ourselves. Defense mechanisms are one way of looking at how people distance themselves from a full awareness of unpleasant thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Psychologists have categorized defense mechanisms based upon how primitive they are. The more primitive a defense mechanism, the less effective it works for a person over the long-term. However, more primitive defense mechanisms are usually very effective short-term, and hence are favored by many people and children especially (when such primitive defense mechanisms...
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