Free A Perspective of Abnormal Behavior Essay Sample

Abnormal behaviors include a set of behaviors that the society considers unusual. The study of such behaviors is called abnormal psychology and it includes research and theories about assessment, causes and treatment (Weiner & Craighead, 2010, p. 2). There are standards for normal and abnormal behaviors. Different societies have defined different behaviors as normal and abnormal. For instance, while some societies consider child and wife beating as a way of disciplining them normal, other societies consider this abnormal. Studies in abnormal behaviors are conducted through means such as intelligence and personality experiments and tests where the individual is examined. On the other hand, theories that are used for such studies describe the illnesses whose symptoms are exhibited by the sufferer, put forward probable causes of such illnesses as well as propose some methods that can be used to treat them (Sue, Sue & Sue, 2003).

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Several theories have been put forward in for the determination and treatment. Abnormal behavior theories are divided into four major groups and include; biological, intrapsychic, existential, and behavioral. Biological theories highlight the significance of the underlying physical causes of psychosomatic disturbances while intrapsychic theories emphasize on the emotional sources of abnormal behaviors. Existential theories on the other hand put emphasis on the individuals' views on themselves whereas behavioral theories stress on the positive and negative effects of learning on behavior (Ciarrocchi, 1993, p. 11).

As mentioned earlier, biological theories are those theories that put emphasis on the underlying causes that result to psychological instability. These instabilities are however grouped into two subgroups; the first group comprises those that are associated with medical conditions such as injury and diseases while the second group comprises instabilities that are associated with medication and/ or the use of drugs. In such as case, the abnormal behavior is believed to result as an effect of the drugs, diseases, or medication that affected the brain or other elements of the nervous system (Pastorino & Doyle-Portillo, 2009, p. 482). Some of the proposed types of biological abnormalities include; imperfect genes, that are mostly inherited, carry some DNA which in turn influence the physical and psychological development of the individual. Structural abnormalities of the brain occur when some parts of the brain fail to develop fully or when they have undergone some pathological alteration. Biological behavioral abnormalities may also occur when there are some imbalances in the neurotransmitters. These imbalances may be due to degradation whereby the neurotransmitters are broken down by the enzymes released fro m the recipient neuron. Hormones also play a great role in determining the behaviors of an individual (Ciarrocchi, 1993, p. 13).

These theories mainly focus on the abnormal behavior in relation to the emotions of the individual. In such a case, the theorists assert that conflicts that one undergoes during childhood have some effects throughout his/her lifetime. Such memories may cause worries and/ or distasteful feelings as one becomes an adult. There are however some assumptions associated with this theory. Some of these include; psychic determinism which suggests that even though thoughts may appear to come randomly, they are actually not random but connected and mainly guided by fundamental motives and that wishes and other unconscious motivations usually operate from outside our awareness (Ciarrocchi, 1993, p. 16). Other assumptions are that the mind is arranged based on the disagreements between id, ego and the superego. While the id deals with the unconscious desires, the ego deals with defense mechanism and coping while the superego deals with the conscience. Thus if an individual has desires, fantasies and wishes that s/he considers as unacceptable, hence they arouse worries, s/he uses defense mechanism to deal with them.

Existential theories are those theories that show the importance of the experiences that the individual is currently facing and how he/ she view him/ herself. Such individuals have lost imminent of their emotions and fail to recognize and accept that they are responsible for their lives. Therapists that deal with such patients usually encourage their patients to try and gain imminent of their own feelings as well as resume responsibilities for their own lives so that they can consequently accomplish their potential and desires (Ciarrocchi, 1993).

Behavioral theories on the other hand focus on the effects that come as a result of learning or acquiring knowledge on behavior. Theories in this group suggest that individuals with behavioral abnormalities use a process of learning commonly referred to as training to change abnormal behaviors where they learn how they can reform and make their behaviors normal (Ciarrocchi, 1993, p. 21). Meanwhile, behaviorists help the victims by teaching them the standard accepted behavior patterns as well as reinforce these accepted behaviors by rewarding them, particularly those that show positive inclination towards the training/ leaning process (Harris, 2005, p. 53).

Generally, abnormal behaviors are defined as those behaviors that are against the standard behaviors accepted or presumed by the society or the majority such as church, family, culture, etc. Therefore, when one goes against these required standards, s/he is regarded as behaving abnormally. In other words; if the society can define normal behavior using normal development, then defining abnormal behavior is simple the failure to exhibit normal development (Weiner & Craighead, 2010, p. 48). For example, if normal grownups reach to a stage that they realize that the society forbids the killing of other people, a grownup who does not reach this stage is automatically considered abnormal since he/ she does not know what is happening in the world around him/her at an expected age. There are specific behavioral issues that most individuals that suffer from some behavioral abnormalities exhibit. Some of the behaviors that may be used to consider or judge a person to have abnormal behaviors include; violation of the societal accepted code of behavior and standards (Harris, 2005). For instance, stealing, robbing, excessive drinking, drug abuse and being involved in a gang is considered by the society as inhuman and therefore it is not accepted by the society. Thus when an individual engages him/ her self in such habits, s/he is considered abnormal. In other people, abnormal behaviors are realized when the individual becomes violent to other people, threatens and harasses other people, hurts himself and the people around him, engages in theft, hits objects, animals and everything that comes his/ her way.

V Axes diagnosis is a system used to diagnose the behaviors of an individual. The system is used in the mental health field so as to provide a more accurate and objective evaluation of the analysis accomplished by a registered physician (Stein & Cutler, 2002, p. 99). The V Axes, which means global assessment of functioning, is used to give supplementary information so as to help the therapists to accurately communicate, determine an effective treatment and facilitate the implementation of data.

In conclusion, abnormal psychology is the study of psychological disorders that affect peoples' way of thinking, speaking, feeling and behavior. Normal and abnormal behaviors defer greatly from one society to another though there are some that are universally expected. Several theories have been put forward so as to explain and propose some treatment for these behaviors. Some of these theories include; biological theories highlight the significance of the underlying physical causes of psychosomatic disturbances while intrapsychic theories emphasize on the emotional sources of abnormal behaviors. Existential theories on the other hand put emphasis on the individuals' views on themselves whereas behavioral theories stress on gaining knowledge behavior. Behaviors that relate to abnormal behavior include; killing, hurting oneself and other people and violating standard norms of the society.


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