Abnormal Psychology General Definition Term Paper

Pages: 3 (918 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Psychology

Abnormal Psychology general definition of Abnormal psychology is as follows: "Abnormal psychology can broadly be defined as the application of the principles of psychology to the study of mental disorders, including research into the causes and treatment of psychopathologies." (Introduction to Abnormal Psychology)

The central and most controversial aspect of abnormal psychology is the issue surrounding the meaning of the term 'abnormal'.

In other words, what precisely constitutes an abnormal psychological state? There is no single and conclusive view of what is 'abnormal' and each theoretical approach is determined by underlying assumptions about the meaning of this term.

For the statistician and scientist abnormal behavior is understood in terms of reason and logic. In this sense 'abnormal' means "...deviating from a norm, and the dictionary says that a norm is 'a rule or authoritative standard'. It is in this sense that logic and ethics are said to be 'normative' sciences -- they tell us how we ought to think or act. In this sense, the norm is a standard or model of high status, toward which we should strive, but which we can scarcely be expected to attain.

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TOPIC: Term Paper on Abnormal Psychology General Definition of Abnormal Psychology Assignment

However, there are many divergent and opposing views of what can be defined as abnormal. The definition of abnormal psychology is part of the fascination of the subject. There is considerable debate with regard to the exact parameters of this field of psychology. There are a wide and often overlapping number of pathologies that are considered under the rubric of abnormal psychology and psychiatry. These include schizophrenia as well as various anxiety disorders, personality disorders and dissociative and somatoform disorders. The range of abnormal psychological disorders has in recent years been extended to include abuse and dependence disorders, as well as eating disorders; and sexual and gender identity complexes. All of these can be considered as being within the field of abnormal psychology.

From a purely medical or biological point-of-view, abnormal psychology is defined as a "belief that all, or at least most, abnormal behavior can be traced to medical factors, usually affecting the brain in some way. This model assumes that all psychological disorders are diseases." (What is abnormal?) in this definition and understanding all abnormal behavior is treated according to the same process and principles as a physical illness. Abnormal psychology is then seen as mental illness and is related to the study if genetics, neuroanatomy, chemical imbalance and infection. This is a scientific and objective view of abnormal behavior and is treated as another field of science. Psychologists using this model view the field of abnormal psychology as a purely scientific field and approach the understanding of abnormal behavior with the same logic as a biologist or mathematician. The study of abnormal psychology in this sense… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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