Abnormal Psychology and Therapy Paper

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Abnormal psychology can be fascinating. What makes it so challenging however, is how to treat it. The first thing that will be focused on is the difference between normal and abnormal psychology. Next subject covered will be mental illnesses and mental disorders. The purpose of this is to explore two different mental illnesses and two different mental disorders. The paper will conclude with treatment theories.

Abnormal psychology is a branch of psychology that deals with psychopathology and abnormal behavior. A person, often associate the belief that normal precedes abnormal, when in fact abnormal in scientific findings precedes normal. Individuals who have an average amount of intelligence, personality, or social skills are thought of as “normal”. Those who are considerably less are abnormal. Most of the people in this world are considered normal. But being abnormal doesn’t always mean it should be looked at as a negative because there are many different spectrums for one who is abnormal. Anyone who is not on the normal scale could be seen as abnormal. Abraham Lincoln for example could be viewed as abnormal because of his high intelligence. Lincoln would actually be considered someone who is on the superior side of the scale. Those who are superior are in a small group of individual that deviated from the norm. Individuals who were thought of as superior were highly intelligent, very outgoing, had tremendous social skills and were emotionally stable. Most people are located in the center of a bell shaped curve. Another group of individuals are located on the other side of the bell shaped curve and are considered abnormal. This group of people are not as intelligent, stick to themselves or seen as loners, socially awkward, and are very unstable when it comes to emotions and dealing with everyday life. In dealing with normal and abnormal psychology one also has to take into account of one’s own environment. Something that might be the norm in a country like Cambodia may not be the norm for someone who lives in America.

There are a number of mental disorders the psychology world recognizes today. One particularly interesting mental disorder is conduct disorder. The symptoms of conduct disorder include physical aggression toward people and animals, vandalism, chronic fighting, lying and stealing (Kowalski & Western, 2009). In terms of a psychological approach as to the causes of conduct disorder, both nature and nurture play a role in causing the disorder. In the genetic, or nature related, aspects of the causes of conduct disorder, it is found that some people are just not as physiologically responsive to rewards that may be given for good behavior. They are also found to be less responsive to conditioning that may encourage, or even force, a certain type of behavior that is considered to be “good”. Because conduct disorder is primarily developed during childhood, parenting one experience constitutes the environmental factors that contribute to the disorder. Parents who are too loose with their rules do not set proper boundaries for their offspring to adhere to, and parents who are too strict may cause their child to rebel against the overwhelming authority.

Another common mental disorder, which conduct disorder is often a precursor to, are substance-related disorders. Substance-related disorders can involve everything from alcohol to illegal narcotics. Alcoholism is by far most common substance-related disorder in the United States (Medicine.net, 2010). Research does show that alcoholism could be inherited. Specific genes are believed to be passed down to one’s offspring that cause alcoholism, yet exactly which ones have yet to be discovered. However, just like conduct disorder, Alcoholism is also subject to environmental influences as well. It has been rather difficult for psychology to put a definite label on some issues of substance abuse and an actual disorder though. For example, it is easy to...
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