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Psychology: Is it Possible to Define 'Abnormality' Discuss with Reference to Schizophrenia - Essay Example

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Psychology: Is it possible to define ‘abnormality’? Discuss with reference to schizophrenia (07.08.11) Introduction Abnormality can be defined in terms of unusual behavior that is not in keeping with the prevailing norms or does not comply with societal demands and expectations…
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Psychology: Is it Possible to Define 'Abnormality' Discuss with Reference to Schizophrenia

Download file to see previous pages... Deviation from social norms is suggestive of the practices that are created by society in labeling people that do not comply with societal norms For instance, till recently, homosexuals were said to be suffering from mental disorders. Social norms mostly relate to cultures, such as when people from a particular group may not share the same values and ways of doing things with other culturally different groups. The complexities arising from such patterns have often been used to explain the presence of schizophrenia amongst immigrant groups in the USA and UK. This paper will examine whether it is possible to define abnormality and the discussions in this regard will be made with reference to schizophrenia. Main Body The behavioral model of abnormality focuses upon the impact of environmental forces on explicit behavior of people. The term mental illness cannot be used in this context because mental structure has no relevance to this model. Abnormality is considered as being learned through the process of emotional and classical habituation. For example, phobias can be developed through processes of classical conditioning. Abnormal behaviors also occur because of emotional conditioning such as the pleasures received from using drugs, which can act as a positive support in leading to addiction. Depression is seen as resulting from inadequate reinforcement or excessive punishment that mostly occurs because of life changes such as losing a job and being rendered unemployed. It is believed from the psychological perspective that no single model can explain the causes of psychological abnormality. For over 200 years, the dominating model in this context has been the biological method that uses medical terminology such as treatment, illness, symptoms and patient, whereby psychiatric systems classify the disorder through the given symptoms. In recent times, research in genetics and biochemistry has enabled a better understanding of abnormality and treatments have been introduced that have achieved success. However, drug treatment is known to have side effects and creates dependence by treating symptoms instead of taking care of the cause. It is also possible that biochemical imbalance could be the result and not the source of psychological problems (Porter, 2002). There is strong evidence of genetic effects relative to schizophrenia along with bipolar depression, although preventive measures for these situations have not yet been found. Researchers have proved that genes are not the main cause of psychological problems but can enhance the chances of their development. Therefore, the biological perspectives in the medical models are not considered adequate to explain the complexities relating to mental and emotional processes. According to the diathesis stress model, association of environmental influence and biological conditions can lead to abnormalities. Such findings have enabled different models to explain abnormality. For instance, in the case of phobias people can be biologically inclined to have fear of certain entities and situations because of the working of selective evolutionary processes (Seligman et al, 1997). The fact remains that it is very difficult to define the concept of abnormality because it can take different forms with different characteristics whereby what initially appears to be simple could become quite complex subsequently. Deviating from statistical norms is a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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