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Department: Mental Health
Term: 1st term
Credits: 3 credits
Contact: Adam Spira
Academic Year: 2013 - 2014
Course Instructors:

Describes the basic features of mental disorders using an epistemological framework that facilitates understanding in the context of public health research and practice. Includes discussion of the distinction between neurological activity and mental life, and briefly presents the historical as well as current state of knowledge of the most common psychiatric conditions. Framework includes four fundamental perspectives for understanding mental disturbances: disease, dimension, behavior, and life story, with explanation of the distinct etiopathologic nature each perspective brings to bear on the problem of defining, classifying, and measuring mental disorders.

Learning Objective(s):

To learn and be able to demonstrate: Distinction between neurological activity and mental life; The value of epistemological approach to psychiatric conditions; Distinctions between normal human responsiveness and psychiatric symptoms, behaviors, syndromes, disorders, and diseases; The need for an the practical utility of viewing psychiatric conditions from four perspectives; The key elements of, and the distinctions between, a psychiatric history and a mental status examination; Principles of ascertainment, measurement, and classification of psychiatric signs and symptoms (strengths and weaknesses); Distinctions between a psychiatric nomenclature, nosology, and diagnostic classification; Presentations, types, ranges and key features of major psychiatric syndromes; dementias, schizophrenia, affective disorders, psychoactive substance use disorders, mental retardation, and disorders of adjustment to life circumstances; Difficulties in assessing and comparing degrees of impairment associated with the different major psychiatric syndromes; Relationships among all four psychiatric perspectives in understanding, assessing, measuring, and treating major psychiatric syndromes.

Methods of Assessment: Student evaluation based on class participation and a final exam.
Location: East Baltimore
Class Times:
  • Tuesday 1:30 - 2:50
  • Thursday 1:30 - 2:50
Enrollment Minimum: 10
Instructor Consent: Consent required for all students
For consent, contact:
Auditors Allowed: Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction: Letter Grade or Pass/Fail