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1. Failure to function adequately
2. Deviation from social norms
3. Deviation from ideal mental health


1. Biological
2. Psychodynamic
3. Behavioural
4. Cognitive


1. Drugs
2. ECT
3. Psychoanalysis
4. Systematic desensitisation
5. CBT

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Abnormal - people that don't fit in with society

Failure to function adequately

This definition of abnormality focuses on the everyday behaviour of an individual. When someone
deviates from this normal pattern of behaviour you can argue that they are failing to function

- You can be abnormal but…

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The key features of the biological approach to psychopathology are that disorders have an organic
or physical cause. This approach argues that mental disorders are related to the physical structure
and functioning of the brain. This is because the brain controls behaviour and therefore abnormality is
caused by brain activity…

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The psychodynamic approach is based largely work by Freud. The two key features of this approach
is the structure of personality and psychosexual development. Freud proposed that there are three
parts of the personality; the id, the ego and the superego. The id desires pleasure, the superego is
our conscience…

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A key features of the behavioural approach is that All behaviour is learned in the same way whether
it is normal or abnormal. The emphasis of this approach is on the environment and it ignores the role
of biology or of any internal thoughts or feelings. The learning can take…

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The cognitive approach see's abnormal behaviour being caused by faulty thinking. A major influence
on thought processes is schemata. Schemata is an organized system of knowledge that we use to
understand and interpret the world. For example our schemata influence how confident, happy and
good at relationships we are. Schemata…

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Drugs are used to treat abnormalities, notably schizophrenia and depression. Schizophrenia is
treated through the use of antipsychotic drugs such as chlorpromazine and clozapine. These drugs
act on a wide range of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, which is thought to cause schizophrenia
if raised levels of activity are present.


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ECT: this can be either unilateral ECT (electrode on one temple) or bilateral ECT (electrodes on both
temples). Patient is given a short acting anaesthetic and muscle relaxant before the shock is
administered. Oxygen is also administered. Small amount of current (about 0.6 amps) passed through
the brain lasting for…

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A therapist (psychoanalyst) may use different techniques to uncover the origins of the client's
problems, Techniques could include, free association, dream interpretation, projective techniques.
Psychoanalysis aims to uncover the ego's self defence mechanisms so that client's understand the
origin's of their problems in order to cure them. In free association,…

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Discuss systematic de-sensitisation in terms of treating abnormality (8 marks)

Systematic de-sensitisation is used by the behaviourist approach to abnormality and is based on
classical conditioning. It uses counter-conditioning and is mainly used to treat phobias. The process
involves five stages with the first being where the client lists different…


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