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Abnormal Psychology and Therapt

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Abnormal Psychology and Therapy

Abnormal psychology is dedicated to the analysis of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders of the mind. An aspect of psychology concerned with investigating into the classification, causation, analysis, prevention, and treatment of emotional disorders or psychopathology. The core of abnormal psychology is its importance on research into abnormal behavior and its endeavor to categorize the extensive range of mental and emotional aberrations into logical categories and to understand them. Another important factor during the research would be to finding the appropriate treatment or therapy to use with each disorder.

What is normal psychology? Who is to define what is normal and what isn't? People define normal as someone who is ok, is like others and does not show any type of physical or mental traits, someone who fits in society and doesn't stand out. Psychology is the study of behavior and mental processes: feelings, thoughts and why they are thinking this way. Abnormal psychology is a branch of psychology devoted to the study of the classification, aetiology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders and disabilities (Colman,2009). Examples of mental dysfunctions would be mental illnesses, psychopathology, maladjustment, mental retardation and emotional disturbance. Many things can happen to cause abnormal traits; it could be genetics or current stress in our lives that make us temporarily abnormal.

Mental disorders can impair a person's cognitive, emotional, or behavioral ability to function. The causes(s) can be social, psychological, biochemical, genetic, or other factor, such as injury or infection (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2009).

Schizophrenia is a brain disorder, and thought to be one of the most severe psychiatric disorders (Kaplan, 2006). This disorder usually manifests itself between adolescence and early adulthood. Some people function with fairly no problems, while others suffer with more extreme problems. Many people with schizophrenia hear voices, feel like someone is controlling his/her mind and thoughts, or think someone is planning to harm them. The person may have hallucinations, a bizarre level of emotions, suffer from delusions, and have changes in thought and speech (alogia). There is a lack of emotion. It is because of these symptoms that schizophrenics have difficulties holding a job or even taking care of themselves. "Depression is common in people suffering from schizophrenia in all phases of the illness and may be a prodromal symptom occurring in the year prior to the onset of the psychosis" (Connolly, 2003).

It is believed that schizophrenia is a genetic trait, but it is not clear how much the environment affects that predisposition. Stressful life events are thought to be the trigger for schizophrenia, however there is no real clue as to the inheritance or why the genes responsible for this disorder become active when they do (Kamnasaran, Muir, Ferguson-Smith, and Cox, 2003). Evidence suggests several chromosomes contain major, or susceptibility, genes for schizophrenia (Kamnasaran, et al., 2003). Support therapy and antipsychotic medication has proven to help reduce the symptoms and allow those suffering to be able to function.

Another illness is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which is an anxiety disorder. OCD can be "brought on by depression, eating disorders, drug abuse disorder, personality disorder, attention deficit disorder or another anxiety disorder" (Gardner, 2003). People with OCD have repetitive behaviors and unwanted thoughts or obsessions that cause problems in tasks of daily life. The thoughts or behaviors can be extreme and make it difficult to concentrate or move on to something else. People with OCD have chronic patterns or routines (compulsions) that are performed to make the thoughts (obsessions) and nervousness go away, although that is temporary. The rituals can be mild or severe and the obsessions can be all consuming in their control. The cause of OCD is unknown and researchers are unclear as to whether OCD is hereditary.

Whereas OCD is an anxiety disorder, OCPD is a personality disorder that usually begins in early adulthood. Those with Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder have characteristics that include extreme need for perfection from the person with the disorder, as well as from family and friends. Also, there is obsession with details, lists, rules, conforming, morals, and ethics. The preoccupation with lists and order is extreme, often causing the person to lose sight of the original goal or task. The behaviors are chronic and have an inadequate adaptation with others, and mental and interpersonal control. People with OCPD are inflexible and inefficient, and the behaviors become persistent and often disabling. Loss of control causes anger and can make it uncomfortable for others. OCD and OCPD are quite different and should not be confused with one another.

People in general are more accepting of mental retardation as a mental disorder. The symptoms are less offensive than some disorders. Mental retardation is below-average intellectual functioning with an IQ below 70. The Encyclopedia of Psychology reports,

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