Introduction to Psychopathology
As a subfield of psychology, psychopathology studies the abnormal behavior of individuals. Psychopathology is the scientific study of an individual’s abnormal behavior and experiences. In psychopathology the abnormal functioning of the mind of an individual is studied in an attempt to understand them and other behaviors that are not completely understood by the scientific community, such as hypnosis and dreams. In psychopathology appropriate measures are taken in another attempt, but this time to treat, cure or modify their abnormal psychology and ultimately their abnormal behaviors.
From Culture to culture what is abnormal psychology can vary. These variables also exist on an individual basis. For the most part, and in the here and now of today’s society, psychopathology has to do with some type of mental disorder. Therefore, psychopathology has to do with the study of people who have difficulty, or simply just cannot, adjust, adapt, or function normally under considerably normal circumstances.
Evolution of Psychopathology
Only a few decades ago people still believed in a link between supernatural forces and mental illness. When an individual showed signs of abnormal behavior or a mental illness, people believed that spirits, demons, astral influences, or planetary influences were at work. During the time of the stone age a hole was drilled into an individual’s head to allow for evil spirits or supernatural forces to flow out of his or her head when he or she showed signs of abnormal behavior, (Comer, 2006).
We can also look back to Egyptian, Chinese, or Hebrew cultures in which abnormal behavior was perceived as a punishment sent from God. Individuals believed that God would send evil demons to inhibit a person’s body. Exorcisms and rituals would be exercised [on these individuals to free them from their punishment.
In Grecian and Roman Empires people believed that an imbalance of the four humors was the...