PSY303: Abnormal Psychology
September 6, 2010
To understand what "abnormal" means, first consider "normal". Normal simply means average. People who behave normally are those who act and behave in an average, typical way. Statistically speaking, normal behavior is that which we would expect from the majority of people. Abnormal, therefore, refers to any behavior that is not typical. In the practice of psychology it has further come to mean mental illness.
Probably no aspect of behavior is more challenging to understand than psychopathology--the study of mental disorders. In everyday life, people often talk about "mental illness", a term which echoes the medical background of many mental health practitioners. This medical model (embraced by the Biological approach) assumes that the cause of psychopathology is to be found in physical malfunctions of the brain and nervous system. However, not all approaches agree that all disorders have purely physical causes; indeed, the other approaches generally argue that learning often contributes to behavioral problems (such as phobias and stress). In order to avoid prejudging the cause of observed problems, the term "abnormal behavior" is preferable to terms like "mental illness".
There are 6 major theories of personality perspectives in abnormal psychology. biological, psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive, humanistic, and community-cultural perspective. The V Axes is used by the clinical and mental communities in diagnosing patients who fit the description by showing maladaptive behaviors in stressful and sometimes non-stressful situations. Psychological behaviorism presents a new type of personality with the advancement of research and ways to overcome.
Biological perspective is a common perspective when looking into abnormal behavior because many times a biological issue may relates to such psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia and clinical...