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Dear student! By the end of this chapter the student is expected to:
Dear student! Despite some misconceptions, abnormal behavior is not limited to the strange actins of few individuals with unbalanced personality. We all have seen it in others to some degree and we all have experienced it ourselves. Abnormality' is part of every day life. Psychodrama s common in plays. Some characters play the role of a criminal offense, and others act as outlaws. Still others play. The role of drug abusers or alcoholics. What is interesting about Abnormal psychology is that it studies the unusual reactions and responses we make to our daily problems in life. Dear learner in this unit we will discuss about the abnormal psychology.
7.2 The Focus of Abnormal Psychology
Abnormal psychology focuses on the following issues.
Abnormal psychology shares many things with others branches of psychology and discipline. Consider its relationship with the following sub fields of psychology. .
Mental health professionals
They specialize in courses in
Psychiatrics social workers
7.3 Defining Psychological Disorders
Problems in Defining ‘Abnormality’ and’ Normality’
Abnormality and Normality are difficult concepts to define. Human behavior is dynamic: because society is dynamic. Therefore before labeling a behavior as 'abnormal‘ 'normal‘ one has to look at the changing values in the society. One criterion in order to classify a behavior as abnormal or normal is violation of social accepted expectations. For example; in the southern Nations and Nationalities Regional states of Ethiopia the Surma people have a ritual ceremony called Donga. In this ceremony young adults are choosend and beat each others with long wooden sticks. The fighting goes until the actors bleed the one who tolerates the heavy lashes is taken as a hero. A stranger may consider the Donga play as savage act or may equate it as abnormal however play as savage act or may equate it as abnormal. However, for the Suram, it is a normal practice. It is a norm. a binding force in the particular society. Few citizens of Nazi Germany who actively resisted their government’s effort exterminate Jews can not be called abnormal. Though they violated social expectations. Worshiping ancestral ghosts in some cultures can be considered as abnormal, but in other widely accepted. There for, labeling a behavior as abnormal or normal on the basis of the social expectations is not always acceptable.
Abnormality and Normality have also statically connotation. Departures from the average are sometimes. Taken as abnormal. But they are not necessarily pathological. Pathology refers to harmful or undesirable departure from the average. If you find an usually intelligent person in relation to the general population, it can be abnormality but not pathological.
A behavior is said to be psychopathological if it is harmful to that person’s physical, social and mental health or proper functioning in the society. Is mental illness a diseases ? is behavior deviation an illness like a physical disorder? Or is it simply a disturbance in interpersonal relationships? These questions have different answers or instance compare the following tow views.
George Albea (1969). Former president of APA argued that, diagnosing and individual as sick when he is functions well as a member of society is not acceptable. He proposed that states hospital and public clinics should be replaced by social intervention centers staffed with less trained specialists like social workers.
In contrast David Ausbal (1990) Argued that:
There is no one and universally accepted definition of psychological disorder. Components of the widely accepted standard definitions are:
In light of the above discussion let us define what abnormal psychology is?
Definition–Abnormal psychology a branch of psychology that studies behaviour defined as deviant, pathological, maladaptive, unfulfilling, self destructive and self defeating.
Perspective on the causes psychology disorders
Example consider a student who fails a difficult exam in medical school. He decides that he does not have the capacity for college. He becomes depressed and gives up trying. To stop his self defeating tendency, he must first stop attributing his failure to lack of ability
The definition and classification used in this teaching material is the one provided by the America Psychiatric. Association, revised manual called the Diagnostic and Statically Manual of mental disorder (DSM –Iv)
Common phobia types and stimuli in the environment
Phobia types Feared objects or situation
Acrophobia High place
Claustrophobia Enclosed places
Haphephobia Being touched
Monophobia Being alone
Ohidiophobia Fear of snakes
Activity – cite individuals from your life experiences (friends, relatives, etc) you know, having one or other forms of phobic disorders. Describe the behavioral manifestations and how they affect their day-today life. Describe how the society attempts to resolve the problem of people with phobic disorders.
188.8.131.52 Obsessive-compulsive disorder
An Obsession is an involuntary, irrational thought that occurs repeatedly. Sometimes it is mild.
Example: a person locking and unlocking a door before leaving home
At other times it can be severe.
Example: the desire to burn down a house, rape a neighbor.
This violence and sexual desire makes the person feel quality and horrified.
Example: A bank clerk may go on adding a column of figure again and aging for fear that he was not sure of the result of the addition.
The normal person also can suffer from indigestion in a matter, which is important to him.
7.4 A Compulsion
is an action that a person uncontrollably performs again and again she or he has no conscious desire to do so. The act is often senseless such as looking under the bed. Several times before going a sleep or locking and unlocking the door several times before going out.
Two general categories of compulsions
It is a persistence of symptoms that have physical form, but in
which there is no physiological malfunction.
The two typical somatoform disorders are:
It is the pre-occupation with bodily symptoms as possible signs of serious illness. The hypochondriac is perfectly healthy, built lives with the conviction that cancer, heart disease, diabetes or some other particular disorder is about to develop.
If a hypochondriac has a headache, he believes it is due to some series kidney disorder. The stomachache will be taken as an evidence of stomach ulcers or cancer.
It is the dissociation or splitting of a certain kind of behavior that are normally integrated.
Example- Cases indicate that people who are wandering in the streets without the notion of who they are or where they came from have dissociation disorders.
Among the dissociate disorders are:
Amnesia is the partial or total loss of memory concerning past experiences, such as an automobile accident or a battle.
In the most severe forms, individuals cannot recall their names, unable to recognize their parents and do not know their addresses.
Psychological amnesia is different form organic amnesia in that:
Organic amnesic syndrome is physiological and is caused by some form of damage to brain tissues.
Brain damage may result due to the disturbed proportion of acid to alkali in the blood.
The insufficiency of oxygen may damage the brain tissue as well.
Experiences of being happy or upset in life are normal. In some people, however, changes of feelings are so long lasting that they affect every day life. When disturbances in emotional feelings are so strong enough, we call them mood disorders. Mood disorders tend to turn in families; thus, genetic factors play a role in their occurrences.
It is the most frequent problem diagnosed in out patient clinics. Interviews conducted in many parts of the world show that incidence of depression has increased significant in the previous years. In one study, the cost of depression to society is estimate to be 43.7 billion a year. Propel who suffer from major depression may feel useless, worthless, and lonely and may despair over the future.
Depression also seems to involve disturbance in brain activity and biochemistry. Psychological factors such as learned helplessness, tendencies to attribute negative outcomes to internal causes, and neglect active perceptions of oneself and others are also involved. Suicides is a major cause of death among young people. Individuals are more likely to attempt suicide when they have recovered to some extent from depression than when they are in the depths of despair. The hallmark is that such feeling may continue for months and years. Women are found to experience major depression twice as men.
It refers to an extended state of intense euphoric. People experiencing mania feel intense happiness, power and energy and may be involved in an activity much greater than their capacity believing that they will succeed at any thing they attempt. Sometimes mania and depression can come alternatively. The swings between high and low moods may alternate over a period of few days or years. This is called bipolar depression.
Evgen Bleuler (1911) coined the tem schizophrenia. It is a general term for a number of psychotic disorders characterized by though disturbance that may be accompanied by delusions, hallucinations, attention deficits and bizarre motor activity. Schizophrenia is splitting in the function of the mind, emotion on one hand and thinking on the other. Schizophrenia has complex origins, involving generic factors, certain aspects of family structure, and biochemical factors. Schizophrenia may also be related to damage in several regions of the brain. Many homeless persons appear to be individuals suffering from serious psychological disorders such as schizophrenia or mood disorders. Schizophrenias are different and their causes and prognoses are also different. The distinct types are paranoid, disorganized, and catatonic. However the following features are taken as common properties.
Schizophrenia is manifested in different forms. These are;
Auditory - takes the form of insulting.
Tactile - feel burning sensations
Somatic - Sensation of something crawling under the abdomen.
Perform repetitive and inappropriate behavior or acts. The schizoid might spend hours rubbing his forehead, slapping leg, or might sit all day, sometimes no physical activity (catatonic stupor).
It is an umbrella term for a number of psychological disorders. It is a class of behavioral disorders manifested as pathological development in one’s overall personality. When personality traits become so inflexible and maladaptive that they impair a person’s functioning, we label it as personality disorder. The different forms are:
it involves pervasive mistrust of others. The paranoid suspects that virtually every one around him is trying to deceive or take advantage of him in some way.
It is a personality disorder in which individuals become almost totally detached from the social world. They show little interest in friendships, love affaires, or any other any other kind of intimate contact with other persons.
They are indifferent to praise and criticism and often show emotional coldness and detachment. They perceive the people around them as obstacles to the goals they wish to reach.
it is a personality disorder involving a lack of conscience and sense of responsibility, impulsive behavior, irritability, and aggressiveness.
Its essential feature is the violation of the rights of others.
Typical patterns of behavior are truancy from school, inability to hold a job, lying, stealing, aggressive sexual behavior drug and alcohol abuse, and a high rate of criminality.
Its main feature is absence of emotion in social relationships. They show no concern over the most callous murder and no sadness at the death of a parent or friend.
Even if they face prison terms, social sanctions, expulsion from school or face loss of jobs, they tend to repeat the same behavior patterns that resulted punishment upon them.
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