May 26, 2013
As many know Psychology is the study of the human mind, consciousness, and behavior. Psychology is also an enormous field of study and contains many sub divisions that pertain to more specific areas of the human psyche. One of these subdivisions is the study of Abnormal Psychology. Abnormal psychology focuses studies on an atypical region of any particular society, as to find out why these abnormalities occur. These conditions can vary in how abnormal they are from barely noticeable to extremes that require special needs. Examples of these could be a mild case of depression (not as noticeable) to a severe case of Schizophrenia (extremely noticeable). Various examples will be addressed and explained but first, in order to fully understand the process of abnormal psychology one must know the difference between normal and abnormal. (Mcleod) As individuals one decides what one likes or dislikes, but not what “normal” society is to like or dislike. Defining what normal is can be harder than one may think. Researchers have worked for years to clearly define normal with no luck in getting a precise definition to relate human behavior to. Normal psychology is defined by the time, place, and people involved, thus making it difficult because culture changes with evolution and values. In order for one to define abnormal psychology, an individual must first define normal psychology. Understanding that normal psychology is outlining what are acceptable actions helps one understand abnormal psychology is dependent on the situation for a definition. Abnormal psychology is best defined as a deviation from what a group decides is acceptable or unacceptable. Psychologist use synonyms for abnormal, such as unusual or maladaptive, to define characteristic traits on a scale with normal in the middle and barriers on each side of normal to compensate for the recurring abnormal behavior, any behavior past those barriers is considered extremely opposite of the norm and rare. There are few true experiments done on abnormal psychology because it is not ethical to manipulate an experiment to control certain conditions. Determining if something or someone is presenting normal or abnormal behavior depends on the object or the person. There are a few mental disorders and illnesses that better compare and contrast aspects of abnormal psychology to normal psychology; a somewhat common disorder is Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar Disorder, many wonder about what this illness is. This disorder was once described as manic depressive disorder; symptoms of this disorder include but are not limited to periods of deep depression which may alternate with mania. Mania is described as a unique state of mind in which a person may feel invincible or that anything in the world is possible for them to accomplish (Abell & Ey, July). Individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder can go long periods of time without sleep or have the polar opposite and have extreme amounts of energy. There are approximately 1-2% of adults in the world diagnosed with bipolar disorder; while scientists do not yet know what causes the chemical changes in the brain they do know that this disorder does have a genetic component. Some scientists believe that bipolar disorder is linked with network connectivity in the brain, it has been shown with neuroscience that neurocognitive abnormalities, particularly in executive function tasks which link to the frontal cortex. However studies have shown that there are no major losses of grey matter in the cortex but there are several changes in the white matter (Ferrier, April). Another fairly common disorder amongst abnormal psychology is Down syndrome. Down syndrome is a genetic condition which causes delays in physical and intellectual development. It has been studied and found to occur once in every 691 births. A person who has Down syndrome has an extra chromosome so...
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Ferrier, N. (April 1, 2010). Special Issue on Bipolar Disorder. Journal of Mental Health, 19(2), 111-112.
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