Chapter 15 gave a brief overview of psychological disorders, including anxiety disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders and schizophrenia. It listed several of the more common disorders within these categories and their symptoms and different potential causes.
Several of the disorders were caused by many different factors, including both environmental and biological influences, and specific symptoms can vary from person to person. Take, for instance, Obsessive-Compulsive-Disorder, a disease which causes those suffering from it to have persistent compulsions that they cannot stop thinking about. This in turn can cause many different symptoms in different people, such as repeatedly checking door locks, touching and tapping objects, or always performing a task in the same way each time. Many different causes were listed for anxiety disorders such as OCD: anxiety sensativity, biological factors and acquired habits. The varied symptoms and causes imply that, although we have come a long way from the times when patients with mental disorders were thrown into snake pits in order to "frighten" their diseases out of them, there is still much research to be done on the subject.
The book also mentioned that some mental disorders are culture-specific: they exist almost exclusively in one area of the world. Certain eating disorders are almost exclusively found in the United States and Europe, where the high prevalence of images of thin models may increase feelings of self-consciousness in women who are already prone to those feelings. Area specific disorders show that while disorders can result from biological factors, culture can play a major role in triggering their symptoms.
Mental disorders are an interesting topic, and certainly prevalent to the study of psychology. I look forward to learning more about the different disorders and their treatments.