Defining Abnormality

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1. What is OCD and what are its main features?
Anxiety disorder
Compelled by irrational fears and thoughts, however they are unable to
dissuade themselves from performing the tasks.
Obsessions ­ Involuntary thoughts, images or impulses. E.g. washing
to get rid of germs
Compulsions ­ Repetitive behaviours, such as s and cleaning, and
repeated checking. (overt, convert)
1. Both come from fear of grave danger which could
come to them or someone close to them, if these
behaviours aren't performed or completed.
Dominates, can take over there lives ­ agoraphobia (fear of outside
OCD is long term relapsing problem
Can take years to over come ­ many DO recover and successful in
leading normal lives
b. Challenge for psychiatry to distinguish full blown mental disorder
and general behaviour
2. 2% to 3% of population affected and can be genetic.
3. Mental illness is a problem and affects 1 in 4 in the population and is
yet misunderstood and shrouded in stereotype and stigma. And the
programme (BBC Article, Nov 08) found that it is wrong to assume that
people with mental illness such as OCD cannot lead normal lives.
4. Genes responsible are unknown, but it appears to change the brains
anatomy. People with OCD and there relatives have distinctive pattern
in there brain pattern. Decrease in grey matter in brain regions
important in suppressing responses and habits. (Orbitofrontal, right
inferior frontal.)
5. Treatments
a. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
b. Antidepressants.
misdiagnosed as depression (outcome of OCD)
conceal symptoms as result of embarrassment (due to media
disruptive at work as has obvious characteristics

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Begins to appear in adolescents and early 20's, takes an average of
10 yrs to seek professional help. Public appearance contrast to actual
mental state (appear `normal' in public situations) ­ secret disorder.
Obsessive habits not same as OCD ­ parallels most have OC habits
when nervous or stressed. Becomes disorder when interferes with
daily routines.…read more

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Individual difference
Brain disorder
Altered perception of reality
1 out of 100 have it
Common symptoms:
o Hallucination
o Delusions
Textbook definition
This is a complex disorder. Some people with schizophrenia will have
hallucinations (such as hearing voices) and delusions (e.g. paranoid
delusions, where they feel persecuted by others). These are referred to as
positive symptoms. Others become inactive and show little in the way of
behaviour or emotional responsiveness. These are referred to as negative
symptoms.…read more

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Deviation from social norms (DSN)
Social norms ­ Explicit and implicit rules governing behaviour
Behaviours are abnormal if they do not fit into the norms of acceptable
Schizophrenia Talking to self isn't deemed normal in society.
Social norms differ in different place. This means that this definition changes
according to cultural relativity. This makes this definition hard to generalize.…read more

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Failure to function adequately (FFA)
Focuses on everyday behaviour e.g. family life, going to work etc.
A change in an individuals normal pattern of behaviour may indicate a
psychological disorder.
Depression ­ Depressed people can't get up, so therefore they will be late to
go to work. This means that they will be likely to get fired and therefore
means that they won't be able to fund themselves.…read more

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Deviation from ideal mental health (DIMH)
Define normal or ideal, unlike the other definitions.
Jahoda (1958)
o 6 criteria
An individual should be in touch with their own identity and
They should be resistant to stress
They should be focused on the future and selfactualisation
They should function as autonomous individuals, recognising
their own needs and with an accurate perception of reality.
They should show empathy and understanding towards others.
Make good attachments with others.
o Inc.…read more

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Outline and evaluate one definition of abnormality
(6 marks)
One definition of abnormality is "Deviation of social norms". This is when a
person's behaviour doesn't comply with explicit and implicit rules. An example of
this would be someone with schizophrenia, as this could manifest itself by the
person talking to themselves. This would be considered abnormal according to
this definition. However, a limitation of this definition is that talking to yourself
might not mark the person as abnormal.…read more


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