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Defining abnormality
What is abnormal psychology? The distinction between 'normal' and
'abnormal' behaviour is not clearcut.

Psychologists have tried to define abnormality in several different ways.

Limitations of definitions of abnormality
All four definitions in the table above have drawbacks as adequate
definitions of abnormality.

Criticisms of these definitions are:…

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Different Models: assumptions and treatments

Model Assumptions on Causes Treatments
Physical causes, (genetics,
Biological (medical) Somatic drugs
Unresolved emotional Talking to bring out and
conflicts in early life, now work through
repressed. unconscious conflicts.
Abnormal behavior is
Focus on learning new
Behavioral learned by association
responses to…

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So, what if you are not in a situation in which it's OK to suddenly
get up and run a fourminute mile round the block?

Well, that's when various unpleasant effects may set in, such as throbbing
headaches, irritability, tense neck and shoulders, dried up mouth and
butterflies in the…

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All the stress hormones circulating in the bloodstream and the neural
effects of the sympathetic nervous system combine to create the
'fightorflight' response.

The hypothalamus plays a key role in the control of the endocrine
system. There is a complex feedback system between the hypothalamus,
sympathetic nervous system, the pituitary…

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Stress and illness
Research has shown strong links between prolonged stress and many
disorders, mentally and physically. The immune system is easily affected by

You should be aware that stress might lead to behaviour, such as smoking
or overeating, which increases the risk of serious illness so the link…

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For example, it was found that among 40 male tax accountants, blood
cholesterol and clotting speeds were at dangerous levels in April (The end
of the financial year)!

Perhaps women in this type of work would also show similar signs of stress.
There have not been many studies into women's…

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Remember: stress is a normal part of life it is only a problem when it
causes longterm disruption or illness. Normal stress levels can energise
and motivate us, directing our behaviour in useful ways.

However, in most modern lifestyles, the pressures on people are immense
and most people find themselves…

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These methods are appropriate for people in acute stress states or those
who need rapid treatment because they may be vulnerable to heart attack,
stroke or blood pressure problems.

Drug treatments may include the use of antianxiety drugs, such as
benzodiazepines (BZs). Benzodiazepines are also known as 'tranquillizers'
examples are…

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For example: Kobasa's hardy personality theory has led to the
development of training in 'hardiness'. This is about gaining a sense of
control over a situation.

In this type of training, the person has to identify stressful situations then
analyse them for specific sources of stress they then work out…

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disease. These courses challenge a person's views of themselves and


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