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Cooper Anderson
Cooper Anderson

Understanding Abnormal Behavior [WORK]

Abnormal psychology doesn't just address behaviors that are considered statistically infrequent. Instead, it focuses on behaviors that create distress, make it difficult to function, and that may be socially disruptive.

Understanding Abnormal Behavior

Psychologists often look at abnormal behaviors through a number of different perspectives including the psychoanalytic, behavioral, cognitive, and medical approaches. Such perspectives can influence how a condition is treated, but therapists also often draw on techniques from multiple approaches.

Research has also found that learning more about abnormal psychology appears to do little to combat stigma regarding mental illness. One study found that teaching students about abnormal psychology did not reduce mental health stigma, improve attitudes toward mental illness, or increase help-seeking behaviors among students.

Correlational research is often used to study abnormal psychology because experimental research would be unethical or impossible. Researchers cannot intentionally manipulate variables to see if doing so causes mental illness. While correlational research does not allow researchers to determine cause and effect, it does provide valuable information on relationships between variables.

Key concepts include that abnormality can be viewed through many different lenses and that mental disorders often have multiple causes, including genetics and experiences. Another is that culture has an influence on how we define abnormality, so what is considered abnormal in one culture is perfectly normal in another.

The study of abnormal behavior dates back to the time of the ancient Greeks. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, thinkers such as Sigmund Freud suggested that mental health conditions could be treated with methods including talk therapy.

The study of abnormal psychology has helped researchers and therapists better understand the causes of mental disorders and develop methods to effectively treat these conditions. By understanding the factors that affect mental health, psychologists can help people overcome impairment, relieve distress, and restore functioning.

The science of abnormal psychology studies two types of behaviors: adaptive and maladaptive behaviors. Behaviors that are maladaptive suggest that some problem(s) exist, and can also imply that the individual is vulnerable and cannot cope with environmental stress, which is leading them to have problems functioning in daily life in their emotions, mental thinking, physical actions and talks. Behaviors that are adaptive are ones that are well-suited to the nature of people, their lifestyles and surroundings, and to the people that they communicate with, allowing them to understand each other.[4]

Clinical psychology is the applied field of psychology that seeks to assess, understand, and treat psychological conditions in clinical practice. The theoretical field known as abnormal psychology may form a backdrop to such work, but clinical psychologists in the current field are unlikely to use the term abnormal in reference to their practice. Psychopathology is a similar term to abnormal psychology, but has more of an implication of an underlying pathology (disease process), and as such, is a term more commonly used in the medical specialty known as psychiatry.[5]

The act of placing individuals with mental illness in a separate facility known as an asylum dates to 1547, when King Henry VIII of England established the St. Mary of Bethlehem asylum in London. This hospital, nicknamed Bedlam, was famous for its deplorable conditions.[7] Asylums remained popular throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance era. These early asylums were often in miserable conditions. Patients were seen as a "burden" to society, locked away and treated almost like beasts to be dealt with, rather than patients needing treatment. However, many of the patients received helpful medical treatment. There was scientific curiosity into abnormal behavior, although it was rarely investigated in the early asylums. Inmates in these early asylums were often put on display for profit, as they were viewed as less than human. The early asylums were basically modifications of the existing criminal institutions.[8]

Throughout time, societies have proposed several explanations of abnormal behavior within human beings. Beginning in some hunter-gatherer societies, animists have believed that people demonstrating abnormal behavior are possessed by malevolent spirits. This idea has been associated with trepanation, the practice of cutting a hole into the individual's skull in order to release the malevolent spirits.[14] Although it has been difficult to define abnormal psychology, one definition includes characteristics such as statistical infrequency.[15]

A more formalized response to spiritual beliefs about abnormality is the practice of exorcism. Performed by religious authorities, exorcism is thought of as another way to release evil spirits who cause pathological behavior within the person. In some instances, individuals exhibiting unusual thoughts or behaviors have been exiled from society, or worse. Perceived witchcraft, for example, has been punished by death. Two Catholic Inquisitors wrote the Malleus Maleficarum (Latin for "The Hammer Against Witches"), which was used by many Inquisitors and witch-hunters. It contained an early taxonomy of perceived deviant behavior, and proposed guidelines for prosecuting deviant individuals.[16]

Medical: Kendra Cherry states: "The medical approach to abnormal psychology focuses on the biological causes of mental illness. This perspective emphasizes understanding the underlying cause of disorders, which might include genetic inheritance, related physical disorders, infections, and chemical imbalances. Medical treatments are often pharmacological in nature, although medication is often used in conjunction with some other type of psychotherapy."[18]

According to Sigmund Freud's structural model, the Id, Ego, and Super-ego are three theoretical constructs that define the way an individual interacts with the external world, as well as responding to internal forces[19] The Id represents the instinctual drives of an individual that remain unconscious. The super-ego represents a person's conscience and their internalization of societal norms and morality. Finally, the ego serves to realistically integrate the drives of the id with the prohibitions of the super-ego. Lack of development in the Superego, or an incoherently developed Superego within an individual, will result in thoughts and actions that are irrational and abnormal, contrary to the norms and beliefs of society.[19]

Irrational beliefs that are driven by unconscious fears, can result in abnormal behavior.[20] Rational emotive behavior therapy helps to drive irrational and maladaptive beliefs out of one's mind.[20]

The term sociocultural refers to the various circles of influence on the individual, ranging from close friends and family, to the institutions and policies of a country, or the world as a whole. Discriminations, whether based on social class, income, race and ethnicity, or gender, can influence the development of abnormal behaviour.[21]

The number of different theoretical perspectives in the field of psychological abnormality has made it difficult to properly explain psychopathology. The attempt to explain all mental disorders with the same theory leads to reductionism (explaining a disorder or other complex phenomena using only a single idea or perspective).[22] Most mental disorders are composed of several factors, which is why one must take into account several theoretical perspectives, when attempting to diagnose or explain a particular behavioral abnormality or mental disorder. Explaining mental disorders with a combination of theoretical perspectives is known as multiple causality.

The standard abnormal psychology and psychiatry reference book in North America is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association. The current version of the book is known as the DSM-5. It lists a set of disorders and provides detailed descriptions on what constitutes a mental disorder.[36]

Section II of the DSM-5 Contains a wide range of diagnostic criteria and codes used for establishing, and diagnosing the vast amount of abnormal psychological constructs.[36] This sections replaced the bulk of the axis system in the previous DSM versions and includes the following categories:[36]

The major international nosologic system for the classification of mental disorders can be found in the International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision (ICD-10). The ICD-10 has been used by World Health Organization (WHO) Member States since 1994. Chapter five covers some 300 mental and behavioral disorders. The ICD-10's chapter five has been influenced by APA's DSM-IV and there is a great deal of concordance between the two. Beginning in January 2022, the ICD-11 will replace the ICD-10 in WHO member states.[38] WHO maintains free access to the ICD-10 Online. Below are the main categories of disorders:

The ICD-11 is the most recent version of the International Classification of Diseases. The Mental, behavioral, or Neurodevelopmental disorders section highlights forms of abnormal psychology.[40]

Psychologists may use different perspectives to try to get better understanding on abnormal psychology. Some of them may just concentrate on a single perspective. But the professionals prefer to combine two or three perspectives together in order to get significant information for better treatments.

Behavior therapy relies on the principles of behaviorism, such as involving classical and operant conditioning. Behaviorism arose in the early 20th century, from the work of psychologists such as James Watson and B. F. Skinner. Behaviorism states that all behaviors humans do is because of a stimulus and reinforcement. While this reinforcement is normally for good behavior, it can also occur for maladaptive behavior. In this therapeutic view, the patients maladaptive behavior has been reinforced, which will cause the maladaptive behavior to be repeated. The goal of the therapy is to reinforce less maladaptive behaviors, so that with time, these adaptive behaviors will become the primary ones in the patient.[49] 041b061a72


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