ChapterReview - 12.1 How has mental illness been explained...

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12.1 How has mental illness been explained in the past, how is abnormal behavior defined today, and what is the impact of cultural differences in defining abnormality? (text p. 432) A Very Brief History of Mental Illness Psychopathology is the study of abnormal behavior. In ancient times holes were cut in an ill person’s head to let out evil spirits in a process called trepanning. Hippocrates believed that mental illness came from an imbalance in the body’s four humors. In the Middle Ages the mentally ill were believed to be possessed by spirits, but by the Renaissance, the mentally ill were labeled as witches. A Working Definition of Abnormality Abnormal behavior can be defined as behavior that is statistically rare or occurs infrequently. Abnormal behavior can be defined as deviant from social norms (doesn’t follow social rules). Abnormal behavior may causes subjective discomfort. The individual is uncomfortable with their own thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. Abnormal behavior may not allow normal, day-to-day functioning due to impairment. The sociocultural perspective looks at the way abnormality is shaped by familial and social influences. Both the consideration of what is abnormal and how abnormal behavior is addressed differ widely from culture to culture. Cultural relativity refers to the need to consider the norms and customs of another culture when diagnosing a person from that culture with a disorder. Culture-bound syndromes are disorders unique to specific cultures. The Multifaceted Definition of Abnormality Psychologists and psychological professionals must consider several criteria to determine whether a behavior is abnormal: 1. Is the behavior unusual? 2. Does the behavior go against social norms? 3. Does the behavior cause the person significant subjective discomfort? 4. Is the behavior maladaptive, or does it result in an inability to function? Abnormal behavior that includes two of these criteria may best be classified as a psychological disorder . Abnormal behavior may cause a person to be dangerous to self or others.
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MODELS OF ABNORMALITY (TEXT P. 436) 12.2 How can psychological disorders be explained within the biological and psychological models? (text p. 436) The Biological Model: Medical Causes for Psychological Disorders Biological models of abnormality may see mental illnesses as caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, genetic problems, brain damage, or some combination of these. The biological or medical model of abnormality influences the way we speak about disorders: mental illness , diagnosis, patient , etc., which may make many think that disorders can be cured. The Psychological Models Psychodynamic models assume that abnormal behavior stems from repressed conflicts and urges that are fighting to surface to consciousness.
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