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The Study of Abnormal Behavior

The Study of Abnormal Behavior
Paper Masters will custom write your research paper on any aspect of the study of abnormal behavior. Get help today explicating abnormal psychology.

The formal study of abnormal behavior is called abnormal psychology. This field is concerned with identifying instances and patterns of unusual behavior or thinking, particularly if such actions or thoughts are distressing to the subject or to those around the subject. There are five characteristics that can be considered as contributing to abnormality. These behavioral characteristics include:

  • Atypical (statistically rare)
  • Socially unacceptable (variable by culture)
  • Distressing (to self or other persons)
  • Maladaptive (self-defeating or sabotaging)
  • Result of distorted thoughts (for example, paranoia)

A person does not need to meet or exhibit all five characteristics at any one time, but together they constitute a framework for identifying and/or classifying behavior.

Treating Abnormal Behavior

There are a multitude of paradigms for treating or addressing abnormal behavior, each with its own perspective and emphasis. These include the psychoanalytic, the biological, the humanistic and existential, the learning paradigm, and the cognitive paradigm. Other paradigms, or models, include the sociocultural, legal, and interactionist, or eclectic, approach. These models differ in the importance attributed to biological or chemical imbalances, culture, anxiety, self-conception, etc. Most abnormal behavior can be classified within three broad categories: anxiety-related disorders; personality disorders; and biochemical disorders (mood imbalances, schizophrenia). Abnormal behavior can span a huge continuum with respect to severity, frequency, impact, etc. Such behavior is often interpreted differently by different practitioners, subject to the significance each practitioner consciously or unconsciously attaches to a particular understanding, cause, approach, or treatment paradigm for abnormal behavior.

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