Abnormal psychology is a segment of psychology that concerns psychopathology and behaviour that seems to be abnormal, either in clinical or in statistical context. By this term a huge range of disorders is covered. This kind of psychology deals with different disorders starting from obsessive compulsive disorder to split personality to depression and even anxiety. The specialists like psychological counsellors and psychotherapists are constantly involved in this domain to solve different cases of abnormal psychology.
When we discuss about abnormal psychology, it is important to understand what abnormality is. On the surface level, the meaning that signifies a very simple concept which implies that any behaviour that is considered to be something out of the norms is abnormal. It is a tendency of human beings to abide by the norms of the normal curve. If we look at the bell-shaped curve most of the human beings are found to be concentrated at the uppermost point of the curve of the bell that is also commonly known as the average. Now those people who are said to be found at the either edges of the bell are considered to be having abnormal psychology.
In order to examine the difference between normal and abnormal psychology one has to very clearly understand that it is not similar to find out the difference between good and bad. Suppose we look at the characteristic called intelligence, a person possessing high intelligence would be dwelling at the highest point of the bell-shaped curve. It would be an act of genius which sounds unnatural because falling outside the convention is considered to be something good. If we consider finding out what abnormal psychology is it is important to know the way of not only differentiating between normal and abnormal but also finding out the intensity of disruption that the troubling and uncanny behaviour might contribute. If any kind of behaviour of a person is the reason of the others’ trouble then it is considered to be abnormal behaviour. Now this kind of behaviour needs to be checked and must be restricted with some psychological intervention.
There are multiple perspectives that can be considered to be the appropriate approaches that should be helpful in understanding and identifying abnormal psychologies. There are some psychologists who take a singular viewpoint into consideration while examining the symptoms that can cause abnormal psychology while some recommends that there must be multiple elements which should be taken into consideration while looking deep into the sphere of abnormal psychology. These approaches are
Sigmund Freud is the father of this theory because he has successfully justified the scenario of identifying the case of abnormality with the psychoanalytic approach. The method suggests that several behavioural disorders come out of unconscious thoughts, unfulfilled aspirations and haunting and traumatic memories. According to the iceberg concept, all the functions which are active naturally contained within the conscious and subconscious but when things that occur from the hidden den of unconscious, it seems to be uncanny and something out of the domain of normality. Although these actions take place out of the awareness field yet it directly or indirectly affects the conscious. According to different therapists analyzing some factors like human behaviours, memories of long lost past, dreams it can be understood that some people might be affected with some specific incidents that might bring in several maladaptive behaviours and multiple disorders.
The Medical approach This particular approach tends more towards finding out the history and the background of the family of the patient. According to some psychologists, the way to examine the abnormal psychology is to find out whether any family member had had any mental illness or not. This way, psychologists decipher the root of the mental issue that the patient is currently dealing with. The causes that can affect a patient are genetic inheritance, infections, physical illness that is related in nature and chemical imbalance. The medical assistances that can be offered in these cases are mostly pharmacological. Yet we have to remember that only some kind of psychotherapy needs medical assistance.
This theory justifies how with different identified strangeness in behaviour can define how the abnormality has affected the psyche of different human beings. The change and uncanny nature of the behaviour makes it easy to understand whether the person is inflicted with abnormal psychology or not. It has to be understood that application of behavioural theory does not imply the concept of reinforcement of maladaptive behaviour rather it focuses on implementing and encouraging positive behaviour into the patient. However this approach only helps in finding out the strangeness of the behaviour but it cannot find out the causes that are underlying. There are certain strategies that are commonly used by the therapists in order to get a hold on the disorders to some extent like classical conditioning and sometimes operant conditioning. This eventually helps to eradicate and control the undesirable behaviours of the patient and also intends to tech required behaviours that one should perform.
By cognitive we understand how an individual thinks, what according to him is reasonable, what his perceptions are, how he is reasoning in different situations and how his internal thoughts flow and affect his behaviour. This approach is implied in order to find out how one’s idea of thinking and reasoning leave long lasting impression on abnormal psychology. The motive of this particular approach is to emphasize upon the mental health of the patient so that his way of thinking gets transformed. Sometimes the behavioural approach and cognitive approach are combined while treating a patient. Then it is called cognitive behavioural therapy.
There are different kinds of abnormal psychology which are broadly categorized into some segments, like
Substance use disorder: addiction of drugs is kind of a mental illness that keeps on leading a person to get drenched into the killing addiction of drug that eventually leads to defunct of brain to an extent that one cannot control his desire to intake drugs like nicotine, marijuana and alcohol.
Mood disorder: It includes depression and the tendency of bipolar disorder. People tend to lose confidence in them and start segregating them from the society that eventually leads to depression. Bipolar disorder is something that gives birth to two selves within a single human being. He suffers from the conflict of two personalities in a single human body.
Social, panic and anxiety disorder: some people are there who feel like they area forcefully put to confrontation when they are surrounded by crowd. They start panicking which leads to anxiety. The anxiety takes the shape and form of hysteria and sometimes becomes uncontrollable.
Neurodevelopment disorder: It includes special conditions like autism and disability like dyslexia. In the first case people tend to falter at establishing social communication and face challenges and difficulties in interpreting social skills and speech. For dyslexic children the case is difficult because they fail to read the characters and the numbers properly. It needs time and effort to get away with it. Proper practice with patience can fix it.
Personality disorder: This might include borderline personality disorder, obsessive- compulsive personality disorder and sometimes avoidant personality disorder. Sometimes people tend to forget who they really are and how they should behave and start to behave in a very strange way because they start imagining them to be somebody else. For some people become extremely perfectionist that leads to different forms of dissatisfactions and frustrations.