Abnormal Psychology as a Branch of Psychology

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CONTENTS

1. Introduction………………………………………………… 2 2. Anxiety Disorders…………………………………………. 5 3.1. Generalized Anxiety Disorders………………….. 6 2.1.1 Panic Disorder…………………………… 6 2.2. Phobias…………………………………………… 7 2.3. Obsessive – Compulsive Disorder……………… 8 2.4. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)…………. 8 3. Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders……………………………. 9 4. Treatment…………………………………………………….. 10 4.1. Psychotherapy……………………………………. 11 4.2. Pharmacological treatments……………………. 12 5. Causes of Anxiety Disorders........................................... 13 5.1. Biological.................................................... 13 5.2. Psychodynamic......................................... 14 5.1. Behavioral.................................................. 15 5.1. Cognitive.................................................... 16 6. Conclusion...................................................................... 16 7. References..................................................................... 17

Psychology can be defined as the scientific study of behavior and mental process. Abnormal psychology is the branch of psychology that studies unusual patterns of behavior, emotion or thought, which may not be understood as being a mental disorder. Abnormality psychology defined as the study of any behavior that deviates from culturally accepted norms (Mosby’s Pocket Dictionary, 2002). From Gerric, R. J., & Zimbardo, P.G., 2005, the range of psychological functioning that is considered unhealthy or abnormal, often referred to as psychopathology or psychological disorder. Psychopathological functioning involves disruptions in emotional, behavioral, or thought processes that lead to personal distress or that block one’s ability to achieve important goals. The field of abnormal psychology is the area of psychological investigation most directly concerned with understanding the nature of individual pathologies of mind, mood, and behavior. The judgment that someone has a mental disorder is typically based on the evaluation of the individual’s behavioral functioning by people with some special authority or power. The terms used to describe these phenomena are mental disorder, mental illness, or abnormality which is depend on the particular perspective, training, and cultural background of the evaluator, the situation, and the status of the person being judged. There are seven criteria might use to label behavior as “abnormal” which are (1) distress or disability, (2) maladaptiveness, (3) irrationality, (4) unpredictability, (5)unconventionality and statistical rarity, (6) observer discomfort, and (7) violation of moral and ideal standards (Gerric, R.J., & Zimbardo, P.G., 2005). Abnormal behavior is behavior characterized as (1) not typical, (2) socially unacceptable, (3) distressing to the person who exhibits it or to the person’s friends and family, (4) maladaptive, and (5) the result of distorted cognitions. Consider these five distinguishing characteristics in turn (Lefton & Brannon, 2003). First, abnormal behavior is not typical. Many behaviors are unusual; however, abnormal behaviors tend to be so unusual as to be statistically rare. For example, taking one’s clothing off is not all that unusual on MTV, but when Mariah Carey did so without notice or prior planning, people considered her behavior abnormal. Of course, some behavior that is not typical is still not abnormal. Second,...
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