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- ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR: AN OVERVIEW - DEFINING ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR - Unusually happy or successful people are abnormal, and severe depression would be normal if it became common enough - Another way to define abnormal would be to let people decide for themselves whether they are troubled o That is, anyone who complains of feeling miserable has a problem, even if it is not apparent to anyone else - The American Psychiatric Association (1994) defined abnormal behavior as any behavior that leads to distress (including distress to others), disability (impaired functioning), or an increased risk of death, pain, or loss of freedom o Presumably, we want to limit our concept of “abnormal behavior” to conditions that are clearly undesirable - CULTURAL INFLUENCES ON ABNORMALITY - People in the Middle Ages regarded peculiar behavior as a sign of demon possession and treated it with religious rituals o If a women’s husband mistreated her, she had no defense o Her husband could not scold or punish her bc, after all, it was not she but the demon who was speaking o The standard way to remove the demon was to provide the woman with luxurious food, new clothing, an opportunity to spend much time with other women, and almost anything else she demanded until the demon departed - Brain fag syndrome – marked by headache, dizziness, eye fatigue, and inability to concentrate o Common among students in sub-Saharn Africa - Koro – common in China – a fear that a man’s penis will retract into the body, causing death - Karoshi – Japan – someone who has just been humiliated in public suffers a fatal heart attack - Running amok – Southeast Asia – where someone (usually a young man) runs around engaging in indiscriminate violent behavior - Suggestion may also be a major influence in dissociative identity disorder (DID), aka multiple personality disorder – in which someone alternates among 2 or more distinct personalities - In what way might dissociative identity disorder resemble brain fag syndrome, koro, and running amok? in each case people are reacting to real problems, but the way they react follows suggestions or expectations from other people - THE BIOPSYCHOSOCIAL MODEL - Biopsychosocial model – emphasizes that abnormal behavior has 3 major aspects: biological, psychological, and sociological o Biological roots of abnormal behavior – include genetic factors, which can lead to abnormal brain development, excesses or deficiencies in the activity of various neurotransmitters or hormones, and so forth
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Additional influences include brain damage, infectious diseases, brain tumors, poor nutrition, inadequate sleep, and the overuse of drugs, including nonprescription medications o Psychological – includes a persona’s vulnerability to stressful events People are known to have been physically or sexually abused in childhood are more likely than others to develop psychological problems in adulthood o Social and cultural context – people are greatly influenced by other
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