Abnormal Behaviors

Abnormal Behaviors - Abnormal Behaviors (Psychological...

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Abnormal Behaviors (Psychological Disorders) Psychopathology is a subfield of psychology specializing in the study, assessment, treatment, and prevention of abnormal behavior or as they are called by some, psychological disorders. What comes to your mind when I say “abnormal behavior?” Think about this for a minute. Some people think of the words “crazy, out of touch, unusual, therapist, Prozac” while others think of specific disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, multiple personalities. We all have our own definitions. Actually the distinctions between normal and abnormal behavior are not always readily apparent. Indeed, psychologists have found it very difficult to devise a precise, scientific definition of "abnormal behavior." Most psychologists feel that all psychological disorders share these 4 major features - 1. Statistical infrequency : behaviors or thoughts that are unusual in a given society; those with psychological disorders do not think or act like everyone else in that given culture as they may show unusual reactions. But there are many deviations from the average behavior or thoughts which do not constitute abnormal behavior. For example: those with a high IQ, Michael Jordan’s athletic ability, those of us who prefer cranberry juice, not orange juice. Thus by itself, this is not an acceptable definition. 2. Disability or dysfunction : behaviors or thoughts that are maladaptive; these interfere with daily functioning and often those with psychological disorders can not hold a job, nor interact successfully with friends and acquaintances. Yet this does not apply to all who have been diagnosed with psychological disorders. For example, there are many who have panic disorders and generalized anxiety disorders that interact well with others and hold down full time jobs. Thus by itself this is not an acceptable definition. 3. Personal distress : behaviors or thoughts often cause the persons experiencing them to feel considerable distress; people may feel anxious, depressed, and/or mentally confused. Yet here again we can’t use this as a definition by itself because we know that those with antisocial personality disorder do not show any remorse or discomfort with their thoughts or behaviors. Thus by itself this is not an acceptable definition. 4. Violation of norms : behaviors or thoughts that are viewed as undesirable or unacceptable within a given culture; these behaviors or thoughts are evaluated negatively by other members of a given society. The problem with this is that each society and culture has different norms or rules and what applies in one may or may not apply to another culture. Therefore, clinical psychologists and those others who work with individuals with psychological disorders use all four of these definitions when deciding what should and should not be thought of as a psychological disorder. STUDY GUIDE FOR Psychological Disorders
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This note was uploaded on 06/28/2009 for the course PSYC 31429 taught by Professor Judithphillips during the Spring '08 term at Palomar.

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Abnormal Behaviors - Abnormal Behaviors (Psychological...

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