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Abnormal psychology is concerned with understanding the nature, causes, and treatment of mental disorders (Abnormal Psychology, Argosy University). People in society see someone acting strangely or abnormally they think of them as “crazy” or “psycho”, therefore, imagine how people with actual mental disorders feel. Ashamed of themselves, they face stigma daily, discrimination, and stereotyping. There is no universal agreement about what is meant by abnormality or disorder, even though there are separate definitions for each one. Defining a mental disorder presents so many challenges because there is no one behavior that makes someone abnormal, however, there are some clear elements of abnormality. Some indicators of an abnormality are suffering, maladaptiveness, statistical deviancy, violation of the standards of society, social discomfort, irrationality and unpredictability, and dangerousness (Abnormal Psychology, Argosy University). Suffering is normally an element of abnormality because people suffering or experiencing psychological pain have more things going on than just one. Maladaptive behavior interferes with a person’s well-being and with our ability to enjoy our work and our relationships.
In my opinion statistical deviancy is stereotypical judgements. It takes statistics and determines whether something is normal or abnormal but depending on the desirability of the trial; violation of the standards of society falls under the same/ similar meaning. When someone does something that seems unnecessary or unusual it is called social discomfort. For example, if you are in an empty arena and someone decides to sit right next to you, or someone calling you their best friend after just meeting. Irrationality and unpredictability can be grouped with social discomfort because it is also when someone acts strangely for what appears to be no reason. Dangerousness is determining whether or not someone’s dangerousness is intentional or unintentional and then deeming them mentally ill or not. Family aggression is also a major factor of diagnosing an abnormality because it helps a professional know if a disorder runs in a family. Research is the heart of progress and knowledge in abnormal psychology; the more you understand how research is conducted, the more educated and aware you will be about what research findings do and do not mean.
One last thing to add about how to distinguish abnormalities for disorders is to have properly trained psychoanalysts. Misdiagnosis can not only lead to a patient becoming worse and developing new and additional symptoms, but it could ruin someone’s life all together by causing them to get sent to the wrong treatment centers, their families alienating them, and so much more. What is classified as abnormal is changing rapidly over time. For example, homosexuality was once classified as a mental disorder, but now it is widely accepted and no longer an illness. I believe that abnormalities are what society chooses to outcast and call “sick” or “a disorder”.
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