Psychology Chapter 15 - Chapter 15 Psychological Disorders...

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1Chapter 15 Psychological Disorders I. Defining Abnormality A number of different criteria have been proposed for defining abnormal behavior which includes the following: 1. Deviation from Cultural Norms Different cultures have different standards or norms for acceptable behavior. Behavior that deviates significantly from these norms is considered abnormal. 2. Deviation from Statistical Norms Abnormal behavior is defined in terms of deviation from statistical norms. According to this view, the behavior of 95% of people is thought to abnormal. This definition does not consider the behavior of genius or creative persons as being normal and falls short of defining abnormality. 3. Maladaptiveness of Behavior According to this definition, behavior is abnormal if it is maladaptive, i.e., if it has negative affects on the person or on society. An example is a person who drinks heavily as a result of which he/she cannot hold a job, or people who plot to hurt or kill innocent people. 4. Personal Distress Personal or subjective feelings of distress such as anxiety, depression, etc. may cause abnormal behavior. (Best definition) None of these definitions provides a completely satisfactory description of abnormal behavior. However, a good definition is when a person?s behavior shows mal-adaptive behavior and personal unhappiness. II. Defining Normality Normality is even more difficult to define then abnormality. Most psychologists, however, agree that the following characteristics define normality: 1. Appropriate Perception of Reality Normal persons are fairly realistic in evaluating their reactions and abilities and interpreting what happens in their environment. They do not exist in a world of fantasy. 2. Ability to Exercise Voluntary Control Over Behavior Normal persons feel confident about their ability to control their behavior, although at times they may act impulsively. However, they are able to restrain and control their impulses. 3. Self-esteem and Acceptance Well adjusted persons have knowledge of their own worth and feel accepted by those around them. 4. Ability to Form Affectionate Relationships Normal people are able to form close and satisfying relationships with other people. They do not dear intimacy and are able to give and receive love. 5. Productivity Normal and well adjusted persons are able to become productive. They love life and enjoy being productive in various ways. III. Classification of Abnormal Behavior The classification of mental disorders used by most mental health professionals in the United States is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed. (DSM-IV), which presents abnormal and mental disorders in 15 different categories and many sub categories, based on the symptoms (signs or abnormalities) with appropriate diagnosis (labels of
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abnormalities). All these categories are studied in Abnormal Psychology. However, a brief review and discussion of some of them are mentioned here.
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