Abnormal pschology

  • Created by: M.e.D
  • Created on: 08-01-15 14:52

Abnormal psychology


  1. Deviation from social norms

X. Change over time (homosexuality) X. Subjective - open to opinion  X. Depends on context - (nazi's) X. Cultural relativity  X. Social control (Thomas Szasz 1961 - if poeple are doing unwated things -label)

       2. Failure to Function adequatley :

  • Personal distress
  • Maladaptive behaviour
  • unprediactability
  • Irationality
  • violation of moral and standards

X. Abnormaility isnt always accompanied by dysfunction X. Very subjective and unclear

       3. Deviation from ideal mental health (lack of:)


  • Positive attidues about oneself
  • self actualisation
  • personal autonomy
  • accurate perception of reality
  • resistance to stress
  • ability to adapt to enviroment
  • Mainly focuses on diagnoses and treatment

X. Ovrdemanding criteria - very few poeple have all six all the time  X. Cultural relevance X. Contextual - changes over time  X. Subjective  


Pathology can be understood as the effect of some singular cause - as in the concept of deisese some pathological agent is disturbing the homestasis of the entire organism (Cicchetti 1984, p.3)

  • The most used and accepted approach in the west
  • Mental disorders are biological in cause
  • Treated in the same way as physical illnesses

Illnesses are due to:

  • Genetics
  • Infection
  • problems in brain chemistry

Examples of Sz being biologically caused :

  • KENDLER 1985:People are 18X more likely to develop sz if its already in the family (Genetics)
  • BARR 1990: Children more likely to develop sz if Mothers got the flu when pregnant (infection)#
  • REYNOLDS 1992 - sz is caused due to Increased activity of doopamine receptors neurotransmission - post mortems 1970 showed increased numbers of D2 receptors in people with SZ -(Symptoims of sz including akathasia and dystonia also found to be related to dopamine)

Treatment usually involves

  • Drugs / pharmacuetical treatment / ECT


Anti psychotics

  • used to treat sz and sevre disorders
  • e.g chlorprozamine - first generation
  • a -typical anti psychotyics releasesd in 1990s
  • e.g clozapine and Risperdal
  • side effcets include spasams, seizures, imobility
  • clozapine can cause  agranulocytosis (loss of the white blood cells that fight infection)
  • doses are administered by doctors


  • seen as a revelation in the 1950's - altyernative to restraints
  • relieve symptoms
  • allow poeple independance - poeple can function in everyday life


  • do not solvce the problem only mask it
  • can be seen as a medical straight jacket in hospitals
  • treatment failiures occur in 1 in 6 patients - (Emsley et al., 2013)
  • do not work for everybody
  • relapse and sicontinuation is common
  • treatment discontinuation is estimated in 74% of patients (lieberman 2005)

Diagnoses is typically carried out through the DIAGNOSTIC STATICTICAL MANUAL

  • assumes poeople people exhibit symptoms
  • symptoms can be categorized
  • normal can be distinguished from abnormal


  • DSM I released in 1952
  • Introduced as a diagnostic classification tool
  • provides diagnostic crieteria and descriptions used widely by medical and mental health proffessionals

DSM is constantly changing

  • DSM I reffered to menatl disorders as "reactions"
  • DSM II - released in 1968 reffered to them as illnesses
  • Homosexulaity was in it as a disorder up until 1973…


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