Abnormal Behavior and Mental Health

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Psychology and systems:
Abnormal Behavior and Mental Health

Morgan Bley

West Chester University

Abnormal psychology is the study of abnormal or atypical behavior in people. There are many things group into the category of atypical behavior. For example mental illness but being left handed is also considered atypical but is not an abnormality. Sometimes it is hard to use one definition to describe what abnormal psychology is. According to Saul McLeod (2008) abnormal psychology can be grouped into four different categories, statistical infrequency, violation of social norms, failure to function adequately and deviation from ideal mental health. Being included in one or more of these categories would be considered a classification of abnormal. Because there are so many elements of abnormal psychology we are going to narrow it down specifically to mental illness. Mental illness has been around since the beginning of recorded history, although they used different terms and believe that the cause of these mental illnesses were different then we do today it still existed (Hergenhahn 2009). There are many different categories that specify mental illness. According to Hergenhanhn (2009) harmful behavior, unrealistic thoughts and perceptions, inappropriate emotions and unpredictable behavior are all descriptions of mental illnesses. These four aspects are all listed as the start of some symptoms of mental illness. Harmful behavior is described as abnormal because normal individuals have a strong motive to survive and any behaviors that challenge this, such as self-mutilation, are out of the norm (Hergenhanhn 2009). Second, unrealistic thoughts and perceptions is the category for people suffering from delusions or hallucinations. Next is the category of inappropriate emotions, this gives people the title of mentally ill when they have extreme emotions or cry when they should laugh. The last category is unpredictable behavior. People used in this group...
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