Abnormal psychology is a branch of psychology that has to do with psychopathology and abnormal behavior. It can be abnormal behavior caused by behavioral, biological, and cognitive aspects. Each person can define abnormal psychology in a very different ways, because we are not the same and our definitions of normal can be very different. As described in About.com/Psychology, there is a normal curve in society that the average person falls upon. Whenever a person is on either ends of his curve that defines them as being abnormal. Abnormal psychology has developed into a scientific discipline because of the medical definitions of it, and how this kind of behavior can be caused by mental and brain disorders. Through researches that have been done it has been discovered that abnormal behavior can be through biological causes, psychological and sociocultural. The origins of abnormal psychology can be known as coming from the Greek physician Hippocrates. He presented a theory that stated that human abnormality came from body fluids, which he thought was influenced by environmental factors.
Hippocrates also believed that behavior and environment were both factors of abnormality in humans. There are many challenges to defining abnormal psychology because many factors can define it. For example gender, age, race and particular norms of certain groups can influence the understanding of what really is abnormal. Also cultural differences can cause one to feel out of the norm when put into situations that they are not comfortable with. These generations of adolescents view certain things in life as being normal where as for example their parents think it is absolutely absurd. Sometimes the understanding of abnormal is thought as a bad thing, which it necessarily is not. If a person is completely above a certain norm that we set for ourselves, they are considered to be abnormal or weird. Where an individual grows up and the environment they are used to tell a lot about what their standards of normality can be. Abnormal psychology has over time developed into a scientific discipline.
The reason for this development is because of the biological factors that induce it. Due to the enhancements of biochemistry, it is now known that there are chemical transitions that occur in the brain that cause some of the mental disorders that individuals are faced with. Many causes of these disorders can be genetic inheritance, physical disorders and also infections and chemical imbalances. Treating these types of illnesses can be through medications but it almost always includes some type of psychotherapy along with it. In the study of abnormal psychology developments of different models were created in order to separate the three aspects that can influence the cause of abnormal behavior. The first being psychosocial model which is also known as the environmental influence of behavior.
This means that the environment that they have grown up and raised in can cause an individual’s abnormal behavior. The biological and medical models suggest that abnormality comes from brain disorders or mental illness that can from a number of sources. Lastly the sociocultural theoretical model is the social views and norms, which can also be through culture and behavior, that one applies themselves to. This understanding also relates to cognitive approach to abnormality. This approach shows how one’s internal thoughts and perceptions can be cause of certain type of psychological disorders. In studying these three models, it is easy to conclude that all three factors can be influences of abnormal psychology.
Unlike in the past now abnormality and mental illnesses are not considered to be the end of person, but are considered to be something that can be treated and worked through. In order to understand behavior itself, one needs to consider that there are abnormal behaviors along with normal ones. Also something that one thinks is normal another can out it as completely abnormal, this is just how the human brain works. Even through these differences, there are norms that we draw for ourselves through society and if a person meets these standards they are fine, but if not they are said to be abnormal. Being out of the norm is not always a bad thing, as long as its not far from “bell curve” then its shows a person’s individuality.
Hansell, J., & Damour, L. (2008). Abnormal psychology (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Cherry Kendra. (2012). What is Abnormal Psychology. About.comPsychology. http://psychology.about.com/od/abnormalpsychology/f/abnormal-psychology.htm Crawford Oscar (2010). Psychopathology Analysis.