Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Question: Discuss about the Psychological Abnormality. Answer: Introduction: Psychological abnormality is difficult to define in the English language. How to decide who is abnormal or normal behavior? What is the definition of abnormality? In simple terms, an abnormality is an individual's mental condition or behaviour that deviates or does not align with what is considered the appropriate level of functioning in the society and is distressing or harmful to the individual and the surrounding people. Abnormality can be defined in four ways which are the deviation from the social norm, statistical infrequency, failure to function normally, and deviation from ideal mental health (Sue et al. 2015). The essay outlines and evaluates two of the ways of defining abnormality and later explains abnormal psychology on the psychoanalytical model. The first way to define abnormality is deviation from the social norm (Gross 2015). Social norms refer to standards of accepted behavior in the society set by the social group and include expectations and morals about how to think and behave (Bryce 2013). It means that an individual is not behaving according to the societal norms. A particular pattern of behavior is not stated by law but is perceived by the society to be normal and acceptable, and any deviance from a thus pattern is treated as the abnormality. For example, society has set rules for ways of dressing, eating, greeting older adults, opening doors for women, and others. It can be argued that this definition does not consider if a particular behavior of an individual is due to his or her comfort level before labeling him or her as psychologically abnormal. However, in a majority of the cases, it is apparent that the pattern of the behavior that is considered as deviating from the social norms are unlikely to represent men tal illness. However, this way of defining abnormality has several limitations. This definition may vary between cultures (Maddux et al. 2012). For example, hearing voices after the recent death of loved ones may be considered schizophrenia in the western part of the world, whereas in the African-American tribe it is treated as the blessing. Moreover, in a given situation different cultures may behave in different ways. However, social norms changes with time (Harvey et al. 2012), therefore, behavior not accepted in the past may be accepted in the present society. For example, homosexuality was branded as the mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association until 1973, but they are more accepted in the present society (Butcher et al. 2013). This argument was supported by Gross (2015) who in turn highlighted that this definition fails to differentiate between a person with the persistent mental illness and a criminal. It may happen so that a robber is not abnormal but have a criminal mind. This definition does not also allow for the eccentric behavior commented (Bryce 2013). It is unlikely to consider a person psychologically abnormal for wearing unusual clothingduring leisure time. The second definition is "failure to function adequately." People fail to perform their routine daily activities due to depression or state of anxiety. They may exhibit unpredictable or irrational behavior due to personal distress and hence fail to adopt a healthy lifestyle (McDougall 2015). This definition refers to how an alleged abnormality of a person hampers their ability to continue with their day-to-day existence. People with eating disorder do not follow their natural survival instinct for eating. Therefore, they could be considered as psychologically abnormal. It is indicative of the fact that the individual requires professional assistance. Durand and Barlow (2012) argued that if dysfunction is accompanied with pathological characteristics than it can be considered as the psychological abnormality. This argument is justified because an inability to make good relationships with people may be due to personal loss, or deep sorrow or difficulty to adapt to new situation or plac e may be due to lack of knowledge but not due to mental illness. If this definition were true than all the aboriginal people and ethnic groups would be labeled an abnormal as they highly exhibit stressful behavior due to persistent factors of exploitation, deprivation, and persecution. The drawback of the definition is judging what factors effect and do not affect an individuals ability to function adequately (Eysenck and Wilson 2013). It is good to consider the context of a particular behavior before labeling a person as mentally ill. For example, a hunger strike is discomforting to observers, but it is not an abnormality. It can be argued that this definition is no applicable cross-culturally (Sue et al. 2015). For example, a person may exhibit behavior that may be considered normal in his or her culture but may align with the definition of the abnormality in the western culture. The another drawback of this definition is that labeling an individual as psychologically abnormal may create a long-term stigma. Consequently, the person may adopt the same behavior permanently. Supporting this argument various psychologists comment that there are many people with different types of psychological disorders but are found to look at family, work, adapt to new situations a nd exhibit rationale behavior. The psychodynamic model of abnormality developed by Sigmund Freud explains abnormal behavior as a cause of conflict of forces in mind (Kline 2014). The underlying principle of this model is unresolved conscious conflicts in early childhood creates repressed thoughts and emotions that in turn contribute to the psychological illness. According to this model, the basis of the conflicts organizing the mind is Id, Ego, and Superego which means the unconscious wishes, mechanism of coping and defense, and the conscience. This model includes ideas such as meaningful events affecting the unconscious mind or the idea of the effect of the parent/child relationship on behavior and feelings. Under this model, the main cure for illness is "free association." In this type of treatment, an individual is free to speak anything he or she wants while the psychiatristactively listens to analyze the cause of the trouble. The essay has evaluated two ways of defining psychological abnormality. These definitions although useful, are not fit for cross-cultural applications. It is indeed difficult to define abnormality. The viewpoints of society regarding normality or abnormality will always be viewed against what is acceptable or not acceptable behavior. However; the psychodynamic approach is more acceptable as it is the outcome of centuries of trial and error. References Bryce, J., 2013. DP4334 Psychology A: History and Development of Psychology. Butcher, J.N., Mineka, S. and Hooley, J.M., 2013.Abnormal psychology. New York: Pearson. Durand, V.M. and Barlow, D.H., 2012.Essentials of abnormal psychology. Cengage Learning. Eysenck, H.J. and Wilson, G.D., 2013.The Experimental Study of Freudian Theories (Psychology Revivals). Routledge. Gross, R., 2015.Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behaviour 7th Edition. Hodder Education. Harvey, P.D., Heaton, R.K., Carpenter, W.T., Green, M.F., Gold, J.M. and Schoenbaum, M., 2012. Functional impairment in people with schizophrenia: focus on employability and eligibility for disability compensation.Schizophrenia research,140(1), pp.1-8. Kline, P., 2014.Psychology and Freudian theory: An introduction. Routledge. Maddux, J.E., Gosselin, J.T. and Winstead, B.A., 2012. Conceptions of psychopathology.Psychopathology: Foundations for a contemporary understanding, pp.3-22. McDougall, W., 2015.An outline of abnormal psychology. Routledge. Sue, D., Sue, D.W., Sue, S. and Sue, D.M., 2015.Understanding abnormal behavior. Cengage Learning.
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