Looking at Abnormality 20:15
Clifford Beers: received harsh treatment in early 20 century in mental hospitals. Suffered from
mood swings. He eventually recovered. He started the Mental Hygiene Movement for the
reform of mental health treatment.
Psychopathology: people who suffer mental, emotional, and often physical pain as a result of
some form of psychological or mental disorder.
Cultural Relativism: there are no universal standards or rules for labeling a behaviour as
abnormal. Instead, behaviours can only be abnormal relative to cultural norms.
1) Cultural Relativism: the norms of a society must be used to determine the normality or
abnormality of a behaviour.
2) Unusualness: unusual or rare behaviours should be labeled abnormal.
3) Discomfort: only behaviour or emotions that an individual finds distressing should be labeled
4) Mental Illness: only behaviours resulting from mental illness are abnormal.
5) Maladaptiveness: distress, dysfunction, deviance.
Historical Perspectives on Abnormality
Biological Theories: similar to physical diseases, caused by the breakdown of systems in the
body. Appropriate cure was the restoration of the body to good health.
Supernatural Theories: a result of divine intervention, curses, demonic possession, and
personal sin. Appropriate treatments were religious rituals, exorcisms, confessions, and
Psychological Theories: a result of traumas. Rest, relaxation, a change of environment, and
certain herbal medicines were appropriate treatments.
Evil Spirits of the Stone Age
Probably rooted in supernatural theories.
Typical treatment was exorcism.
One treatment may have been to drill holes in the skulls of people displaying abnormal behaviour
to allow the spirits to depart. The operation is called trephination.
Ancient China: Balancing yin and yang (religious theories)
www.notesolution.com The human body was said to contain a positive force (yang) and a negative force (yin), which
confronted and complemented each other.
If the two forces were in balance, the individual was healthy. If not, illness, including insanity,
Religious theories of abnormality in China declined after the Tang and Buddhism dynasties
Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome: Biological Theories Dominate
Hebrews saw madness as a punishment from God.
Hippocrates argued that mental disorders are caused by imbalances in the bodys essential
A time of backward thinking
Severe emotional shock and physical illness and injury were most often seen as the causes of
People often believed in supernatural roots of abnormality, but the governments declared it to be
a result of physical causes or traumas.
Witch hunts primarily took place during the renaissance (1400s 1600s)
The Emergence of Modern Perspectives
Emil Kraepelin: developed a classification system for mental disorders that remains very
General Paresis: a disease that leads to paralysis, insanity, and eventually death.
The Psychoanalytic Perspective
Mesmerism: created by Franz Mesmer (aligning magnetic fluids within the body). Mesmer set
the stage for the study of hypnosis.
Psychoanalysis is the study of the unconscious.
The Cognitive Revolution
Occurred during the 1950s to 1970s.
Cognitions are thought processes that influence behaviour and emotion.
Modern Mental Health Care
Plenothiazines: drugs that can reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia.
www.notesolution.com Dr. Lehmann of Canada was the first to use antipsychotic medication in North America.
In the 1960s a large movement known as the patients rights movement, emerged. It vied for a
process known as deinstitutionalization, which states that patients can recover more fully if they
are integrated into the community.
Deinstitutionalization led to a fragmented, disorganized, and inefficient mental-health system.
www.notesolution.com Contemporary Theories of Abnormality 20:15
Vulnerability-Stress Models: it takes both an existing vulnerability to a disorder and a trigger,
or stress, to create the disorder.
Structural Theories: abnormalities in the structure of the brain cause mental disorders.
Genetic Theories: an accumulation of disordered genes leads to mental disorders.
Biochemical Theories: imbalances in neurotransmitters or hormones or poor functioning of
receptors for neurotransmitters causes mental disorders.
Parts of the Brain
Cerebral Cortex: involved in many of our most advanced thinking processes.
Corpus Callosum: bridge of fibers passing information between the two cerebral hemispheres.
Thalamus: relay centre for cortex; handles incoming and outgoing signals.
Cerebellum: involved in balance and the control of movement.
Medulla: responsible for regulation largely unconscious functions such as breathing and
Hypothalamus: responsible for regulating basic biological needs.
Pituitary Gland: master gland that regulates other endocrine glands.
Pons: involved in sleep and arousal.
Reticular Formation: a network of neurons related to sleep, arousal, and attention.
Spinal Cord: responsible for communication between brain and rest of body; involved with
Biochemical Causes of Abnormality:
Reuptake: occurs when the initial neuron releasing the neurotransmitter into the synapse
reabsorbs the neurotransmitter, decreasing the amount left in the synapse.