Models of Abnormality

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Models of abnormality
Abnormality is defined as a behaviour that deviates from the ideal social norm. One definition of abnormality is the failure to function adequately and are unable to meet their activities of daily living independently for example getting washed and dressed daily, being able to hold down a job and interacting with other people. It suggests that people should be able to achieve personal wellbeing and contribute to society. Rosenhan and Seligman (1989) identified there as being seven characteristics of abnormality these being suffering, maladaptiveness, vividness and unconventionality of behaviour, unpredictability and loss of control, irrationality and incomprehensibility, observer discomfort and violation of moral and ideal standards. If there appeared to be only one or two of these seven it was not a concern unless all appear to be seen. It is important to remember that it depends on the context whether the activity is considered abnormal or not. The limitations of this definition are that suffering is considered a part of life and is not always meant to be maladaptive. Some also say that some abnormal behaviour may be adaptive and functional to each individual. It is also seen that most people commit some maladaptive behaviour to themselves like drinking, smoking and truanting. Sue et al (1994) said that people seeking psychiatric help suffer from distress and discomfort because of the mental illness. Miller and Morley (1986) said distress is why people go to seek help. One of the models of abnormality is the biological model this is also known as the medical model and assumes that abnormal behaviour is as a result of a physical problem. This should be treated medically by either medication or surgery. It is focused on the genetics, biochemistry, neuroanatomy and infections. However the biological model is still the most dominant model by psychiatrists. Barr et al (1990) linked schizophrenia to the mother having a virus when she was pregnant suggesting that the disorder may actually be a disease. Although Day et al (1987) stated that stressful experiences cannot be ignored for the onset of depression or schizophrenia. There are also genetic factors saying that mental illnesses are inherited Masterson and Davis (1985) looked into families with schizophrenia and found out that they are 18 times more likely to develop the condition. Both schizophrenia and Bi-polar have been said to be genetic disorder. Sherrington et al (1988) also conducted a gene mapping study which is able to show the exact genes disorder are located there was evidence found to show that schizophrenia was found on chromosome 5, however other psychologists have found no evidence to support this. Barrettini (2000) also linked Bi-polar disorder to having the genes present on chromosomes 4, 6, 11, 12, 13, 15, 18 and 22. Biochemistry is also a considered factor by the biological model this focuses on the neurotransmitters e.g. dopamine, serotonin in which an excess can be linked to eating disorders, schizophrenia and depression. Depression has been found to be caused by a low level of serotonin. Prozac an antidepressant is now used to treat depression by increasing the serotonin levels in the brain. As well as anxiety being associated with high levels of cortisol. The last part of the biological model was seen to be the neuroanatomy where if the brain cells were damaged it can lead to an abnormal behaviour. This is shown by the disease called Alzheimers where sufferers have vascular dementia and lose some of the cells within the brain. Some treatments for severe depression have included lobotomies this is a surgery that involves removing the section of brain tissue causing the illness. There is also electric compulsive therapy this is used for severe depression and is a mood elevator to those patients. This model assumes no blame or responsibility of the illness to the sufferer. Most of the treatments are a cure for the illness or is...
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