Abnormal psychology is a scientific investigation of abnormal behavior in order to help analyze, anticipate, interpret, and modify abnormal patterns of functioning (Damour & Hansell, 2008). It examines the nature of psychopathology as well as its reasons and treatments. Certainly, the definition of what concludes abnormal has evolved with time and across cultures. People also differ in what they consider normal or abnormal behavior. For instance, what is considered abnormal by some people can be normal by others. Generally, abnormal psychology can be described as an area of psychology that studies people who are defined as the psychology field that analyzes people who are permanently unable to adjust and behave efficiently in a diversity of conditions (Butcher, Mineka, & Hooley, 2010). The following information provides a brief history and origin of abnormal psychology, how it developed into a scientific discipline, and the application of biological, psychological, and socio-cultural theoretic patterns of psychopathology.
Origins of Abnormal Psychology
The recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of the mentally ill have changed significantly over time and through different cultures. For centuries, a person who was diagnosed as mentally ill were sent to asylums and patients were often mistreated and abused. Today a person with a mental illness is not necessarily insane and treated with compassion and understanding and provided treatment to work toward a “normal” existence (Damour & Hansell, 2008). In ancient societies people ascribed abnormal behavior to the impact of the evil spirits and the exorcism carried out by priests and shamans has been used to oust out invading spirits. The history of abnormal psychology likely has origins in the work of Hippocrates, who is considered as a medical precursor. Hippocrates believed that balance of four fluids (blood, phlegm, black and yellow bile), which are considered humors of a... [continues]
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