Abnormal Psychology

1605 Words May 1st, 2012 7 Pages
Abnormal Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. It seeks to comprehend people by understanding mental functions and social behavior. It also explores neurobiological and physiological processes that can drive cognitive functions and behaviors. It is this drive to understand mental processes that pushes psychologists to want to learn about what is normal and abnormal behavior. People have tried for thousands of years to understand and define abnormal behavior. In the past 100 years it has undergone “tremendous change, progress, and controversy”(Hansell, J & Damour, L., 2009, p.3). Throughout the modifications certain principles have remained which are known as the core concepts. These core concepts are what define
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Differences in culture, environment, and upbringing are just some of the factors that can determine what is normal to a person. Due to these differences there can’t be a universally accepted definition to describe abnormal behavior. Instead there is a set of criteria that is used in defining abnormalities. It is made up by five characteristics that are condensed in the acronym HIDES. The first is help seeking, which implies that a person that seeks help has an abnormality. This is not always accurate as there are many people who “Seek psychotherapy for help with “normal” life stresses” (Hansell, J & Damour, L., 2009, p.10). The second is Irrationality, it associates mental illnesses with irrational or dangerous behavior. This is also very deceiving because most people with mental disorders are not irrational. The third letter stands for deviance, which refers to a behavior that differs from usual behaviors. A person might categorize a person that deviates as being weird or strange. Having a deviant behavior tends to have a negative connotation attached to it, but it can be positive. Albert Einstein was one who was different from the usual, “yet he was highly constructive and creative”(Hansell, J & Damour, L., 2009, p.12). The fourth is emotional distress, which is when a person has feelings of “sadness or anxiety, it is associated with most forms of psychopathology, making it more

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