WHAT IS ABNORMAL BEHAVIOUR?
Abnormal behaviours is characterized by the presence of many
characteristics at one time – these characteristics being: statistical
infrequency, violation of norms, personal distress, disability or
dysfunction, and unexpectedness.
Statistical Infrequency means that only a small part of the
general population exhibit abnormal behaviours – the normal curve
places the majority of people in the middle. Statistical infrequency
is used a lot in the diagnosis of mental retardation by using the IQ
test, below average is an indication of mental retardation. Only
certain infrequent behaviours can be categorized as abnormal
therefore statistical infrequency gives little guidance in determining
which infrequent behaviours should be studied.
Violation of Norms deals with behaviour and if it threatens or
makes the people observing the behaviour anxious. This poses an
issue since many unusual behaviours can be tolerated even if they
violate social norms such as criminals and prostitutes who violate
social norms but are not studied within abnormal psychology. Also,
cultural diversity plays a role in how people view social norms –
different cultures have different norms.
Personal Distress deals with behaviour becoming abnormal if it
causes great distress and torment to the person experiencing it.
Disability or Dysfunction is the impairment in some important
area of life such as a phobia of flying which may cause someone to
reject a job overseas. Like suffering, disability applies to some
disorders – transvestism is diagnosed as a mental disorder if it
distresses the person but isn’t always a disability (i.e. most
transvestites are married and dress up in private).
Unexpectedness is when unexpected responses to environmental
stressors occur stemming from distress and disability.
HISTORY OF PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
Early studies done by philosophers and physicians concluded that
the trouble mind concluded that deviancy was caused by possession
by demons known as demonology. Treatment involved exorcism
which usually consisted of casting out of evil spirits by chanting or
Trepanning of skulls, or surgically opening skulls, was done in the
Stone Age primarily to treat conditions such as epilepsy,
headaches, and psychological disorders attributed to demons in the
Hippocrates was one of the first people advocating somatogenesis –
the belief that something wrong with the soma (body) disturbs
thought and action. He was the father of modern medicine and the first to separate medicine from religion and magic. He saw the brain
as the organ of consciousness, intellectual life and emotion, and
thought that deviant thinking was an indication of a kind of brain
pathology. In contrast, psychogenesis is the belief that a
disturbance has psychological origins.
Hippocrates had three categories of mental disorder: mania,
melancholia, and phrenitis (brain fever). His suggested treatments
were different from exorcistic rituals, they were based on his own
observations as opposed to th