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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Abnormal psychology is captivating due to its exploration of the complexities of the human mind, its impact on individuals and society, its potential for reducing stigma, and its contributions to therapeutic advancements and overall mental well-being.