Abnormal Psychology and Therapy: Mental Disorders

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Abnormal Psychology and Therapy Paper
Learning Team A
June 26, 2011
Teresa Neal

Abnormal Psychology and Therapy Paper
In a world where nothing seems to be considered normal anymore, psychology tries to draw the line between what it is and what is not. The different schools of thought have their own perspective on the definition, origin, and treatment of abnormal behavior and this paper will cover a few, trying to make it possible to have a clear difference between normal and abnormal psychology. Normal and Abnormal Psychology

Specifically defining behavior as normal or abnormal is a contentious issue in abnormal psychology. To try to distinguish between normal psychology and abnormal psychology, psychologists use three criteria; whatever is infrequent, maladaptive, and deviant from the cultural norm, falls under the category of abnormal behavior (Spoor, 1999). Mental health, also known as normal psychology, and mental illnesses and disorders, also known as abnormal psychology, have been defined in many ways, but should always be viewed in the context of ethnocultural factors and influence because what is considered normal in some environments may be considered abnormal in others. A person with a normal behavior and mental processes has the ability to adapt and cope with adversity, has a correct perception of reality, accepts self, avoids harm, and experiences continual psychological growth and development (Kowalski & Westen, 2009). Abnormal psychology, on the other hand, is characterized by unusual patterns that some people might show in their behavior, thought process, and expression of emotion, patterns that are associated with distress or disability and can cause harm and an unreasonable response to a particular situation. Mental Disorders

Daily functions such as the ability to think, read, remember, plan, and understand rely on an individuals cognitive skills (Medalia & Revheim, 2002). Cognitive disorders are disorders of thinking or memory that signify an evident change from the personal former level of functioning. In certain situations the exact origin of the disorder can be identified, other cases the cause is unclear. Even though these disorders are biologically founded, the environment and psychological factors play significant roles in shaping the effect and extent of disabling symptoms in addition to the personal capacity to deal with them. (Nevid, et a. 2008). The most common cognitive disorders are amnestic, delirium, and dementia disorders. Amnestic disorders are a cognitive impairment relating a failure to develop new memories and the failure to remember old memories. Delirium is a severe, and reversible state of mental disorder, which involves confusion, and the lack of ability to focus on information or the surrounding environment. Individuals that suffer from delirium may suffer frightening hallucinations, particularly visual hallucinations. The loss of memory and understanding usually associated with behavior and personality changes describes dementia disorders. Different forms of dementia exist, depending on the cause; therefore; some types of dementia may be reversed with treatment. For example; those cases that are caused by brain tumors. Dementia caused by the disease Alzheimer’s cannot be reversed (Nevid, et al. 2008). On a personal note; these patients are difficult, they have to watch be continually as they can do harm to themselves and others. Mental Illnesses

Although diagnoses of ADHD are based on behavioral symptoms of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity, evidence suggests that children with ADHD also show important cognitive weaknesses in areas that are necessary to daily functioning at home work and school. Particularly research studies indicate that children with ADHD often have problems in; Executive functions (for example, planning a project,...
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