An Overview Of Abnormal Psychology: Disorders And Treatments
Psychology is the study of human behavior. Abnormal psychology is a branch of the study that examines mental disorders, specifically.
Abnormal psychology examines psychopathology and abnormal behavior. The term covers a range of disorders, which include mood disorders, personality disorders, and any type of behavior that deviates from what’s considered a “healthy” norm.
This particular branch of psychology is very important, especially when it comes to diagnosing and treating mental illness. There are many factors that contribute to mental disorders. Abnormal psychology allows specialists to study, understand, and diagnose certain conditions.
Reviewing Abnormal Psychology
It's critical to understand what the term "abnormal" means in the context of psychology. Abnormal does not necessarily mean "bad." At its core, abnormality means deviating from the "norm" or what is conventional.
Unfortunately, in many cases, there are times when abnormalities do fall on the negative end of the spectrum. There are cases where certain individuals experience mental health issues, emotional disorders, or various problems that deviate from the norm. There are a variety of approaches used in abnormal psychology, which we will examine them in this article.
The Psychoanalytic Approach
The psychoanalytic approach of abnormal psychology emphasizes the roles that subconscious memories, thoughts, and urges wield on atypical conduct. In most cases, specialists who approach abnormal psychology from a psychoanalytic angle believe that studying subconscious memories, thoughts, and urges can help improve atypical behaviors. The psychoanalytic approach believes that looking into the feelings associated with the behaviors above makes a positive difference in rehabilitation.
The Behavioral Approach
As the name suggests, the behavioral approach to abnormal psychology focuses on the specific conduct of the afflicted individual. The behavioral approach emphasizes positive reinforcement. Positive behavior patterns are important to override adverse, atypical behaviors. The goal of this particular approach is to eliminate negative behavior by counteracting it with positive actions. The behavioral approach to abnormal psychology could face certain criticisms for not addressing the underlying motives beneath atypical behavior.
The Medical Approach
The medical approach to abnormal psychology focuses on genetic issues that could contribute to atypical behaviors. Sometimes, psychotherapy is issued as a form of treatment when this particular approach is taken; however, the medical angle of abnormal psychology emphasizes the role that biology, chemical imbalances, and even bodily illnesses can play on certain atypical behaviors. This particular approach is critical because there are certain biological and genetic factors that can play a role in mental illnesses and other disorders.
The Cognitive Approach
In the cognitive approach, internal reasoning, interpretations, and thoughts are emphasized. When undergoing cognitive treatment, patients are encouraged to alter their internal thoughts or their external reactions to certain occurrences in the real world. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an excellent form of treatment that can treat mood disorders that fall under the category of abnormal psychology.
Reviewing Psychology Disorders
It's important to understand that there are a variety of psychological disorders. There are many factors that can impact the intensity of certain disorders; sometimes, people undergo traumatic experiences that cause certain psychological issues. A common example of this is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Genetics and biology play a role in one's psychological health. However, just because you have a genetic history of mental illness doesn't mean you're going to develop it. There are many elements that can impact whether or not certain illnesses or disorders are inherited or whether they manifest. Many psychologists and mental health specialists are still studying and learning about the causes of mental illness.
There are a plethora of psychological disorders. Some examples of the applicable categories include:
Substance use disorders
Treatment For Psychological Disorders
The treatment and rehabilitation administered for various psychological disorders varies and depends upon a series of factors. One important factor is simply the approach that the specialist takes. Some specialists believe that the medical approach is the best way, while other psychologists prioritize a psychoanalytic or behavioral approach. Many therapists will even combine approaches to address different facets of complex mental health conditions.
It is important to know that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for treating mental health conditions. Some approaches are more appropriate and fitting for certain disorders than others. The medical approach may work for individual patients, whereas a different patient may be rehabilitated by undergoing CBT. The specialist who is responsible for treating the afflicted patient has the responsibility of determining which approach is most appropriate. It takes years of study, credentials, and licenses before one can practice as a psychologist.
You're Not Alone
If you believe that you may have a psychological disorder, also it is critical to know that experiencing this issue does not make you less than others. Working with a mental health specialist can be beneficial. No matter who you are or what your situation may be, a psychologist can be of great service to you and provide the proper care and guidance.
There's a stigma surrounding abnormal psychology, and organizations like BetterHelp are working against it every day. Some individuals who have mental health issues are told to brush things off and get over it. That is an extremely harmful approach which has resulted in a significant amount of harm. As time has progressed, more and more people realize the immense value of studying abnormal psychology and the help that these studies can provide to afflicted individuals.
The stigma surrounding the decision to seek out psychological help is gradually going away, although it remains present in certain circles. Sometimes, individuals are led to believe that asking for help makes them weak or otherwise less than others. That is not true. Everyone goes through tough times regardless of how strong or independent they may seem on the outside.
There is never any shame in asking for help or meeting with a mental health professional to talk about your problems. No two people are exactly alike, nor will any two people benefit in exactly the same way from therapy.
The Benefits Of Online Therapy
More and more people are gravitating toward online therapy, especially in areas where availability to in-person therapy services is limited. In many instances, online therapy is a more cost-effective option than face-to-face therapy. Additionally, online therapy platforms like BetterHelp enable the user to schedule appointments at convenient times and from preferred locations. All you need is a reliable internet connection.
Many studies have been conducted regarding the efficacy of online therapy in treating a variety of mental health disorders, including substance use disorders, depression, PTSD, and anxiety. In one study involving nearly 100 patients experiencing post-traumatic stress reactions, researchers determined that internet-based therapy was effective in reducing PTSD severity along with co-morbid depression and anxiety. Participants, in general, reported high ratings of the therapeutic alliance with their therapists. In a separate literature review of studies using guided internet-based CBT as an intervention for anxiety disorders, researchers affirmed that iCBT is efficacious either as a complement or a replacement for face-to-face CBT.
We're fortunate to live in a time when mental health services are becoming significantly more accessible and affordable to those who need them. BetterHelp is an excellent place to get mental health treatment. There are empathetic psychologists, therapists, and mental health specialists who would be honored to work with you. Our top priority is providing the best care possible for your mental health.
Things may seem challenging now, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. You can rise above difficult circumstances and chart a better life for yourself. As far as BetterHelp is concerned, we will always be there to provide the needed assistance and guidance.
Whenever you are ready to take that step and make the rest of your life the best of your life, you can do so with BetterHelp by clicking here.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Types Of Treatment Are Available For Psychological Disorders?
The most common treatments for psychological disorders are medications and psychotherapy. Other treatments may also prove beneficial. Many types of expressive therapies and special treatments like electroconvulsive therapy and transcranial magnetic stimulation are also available.
What Are Major Psychological Disorders?
There are many different psychological disorders. They include:
Mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder
Anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, or OCD
Psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia or delusional disorder
Substance use disorders, including unhealthy relationships with drugs and/or alcohol
Personality disorders, such as narcissistic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder
Neurocognitive disorders, including Alzheimer's disease or dementia
Neurodevelopmental disorders, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism, and Tourette's syndrome
Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa
What Are The Five Most Common Mental Disorders?
The most common psychological disorders may include the following:
An anxiety disorder – with a prevalence of 19.1% among adults in the U.S. within the past year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health
A mood disorder – with a prevalence of 6% of all American adults having had a depressive episode in the year 2020 and 2.8% for bipolar disorder in the U.S., according to the NIMH
An eating disorder – with a prevalence of 1.2% for binge eating disorder, 0.3% for bulimia, and 0.6% for anorexia in the U.S.
Dementia – with a prevalence of nearly 10% of people over 65 years old in the U.S.
Substance addiction and use – with about 19.7 million American people who have struggled with these disorders in the U.S. since 2017
What Are The Three Main Approaches To Treating Psychological Disorders?
The three main approaches to treating psychological disorders include:
A combined approach with both psychotherapy and medications
Somatic treatments include medications, electroconvulsive therapy, vagus nerve stimulation, and transcranial magnetic stimulations. During treatment, the doctor will monitor your medication, mental disorder, and side effects of any treatment you have. Often, doctors and therapists recommend other interventions that impact mental health by improving physical health, such as seeing a nutritionist, going to pain management sessions to relieve chronic pain, or going to a smoking cessation class.
Psychotherapy includes many different types of talk therapy for both mild and severe mental issues. Treatment options include cognitive therapy, CBT, behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, expressive therapies, and gestalt therapy, to name a few. CBT has many of the features of both behavioral therapy and cognitive therapy, and it has proven very beneficial for people with a variety of mental disorders.
The combined approach is advantageous for many people who have serious mental disorders. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(Fifth Edition) – also known as the DSM-V -- covers all the disorders that are recognized by the psychiatric community. This manual of mental disorders helps mental health professionals diagnose and discusses treatment options as well.
What Is The Hardest Mental Illness To Treat?
Many professionals have historically pointed to borderline personality disorder as one of the most difficult to treat. But actually, the hardest part of treating this disorder is diagnosing it because many of its symptoms are similar to other mental disorders. Still, treating borderline personality disorder can be difficult. The reason is that one’s symptoms often prevent them from forming positive relationships, including with their therapist.
Disorders that have psychotic symptoms are especially difficult to treat. The reason is that when someone is in a psychotic state, they are out of touch with reality. So, they usually can't benefit from psychotherapy during those times. These disorders are often severe and debilitating.
Other disorders that are hard to treat are the ones in which the person doesn't want to be treated. In most cases, that's true of people with a narcissistic personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder. By the same token, someone with paranoia may distrust their psychiatrist or psychologist so much that they have trouble engaging in productive treatment. The manual of mental problems includes ten different personality disorders, and they can all be difficult to treat.
Finally, anyone who behaves in violent ways can hamper their own treatment. They might be violent towards themselves or others. But either way, treatment becomes urgent.
What Are The Five Signs Of Mental Illness?
The five signs of mental illness include:
Extreme fearfulness, which can include worrying, anxiety, or paranoia
Extreme or frequent shifts in mood
Ongoing irritability or sadness
Withdrawal from friends, family, and social situations
Significant changes in eating habits or sleeping patterns
Is Overreacting A Mental Illness?
No, but sometimes overreacting can be a sign of mental illness.
There are many reasons why one might overreact. Sometimes, you don't know the whole story. Other times, you're just having a bad day. And it's common to overact when you're trying to manage chronic pain.
However, overreacting can be a sign of several different mental disorders. For example, people with borderline personality disorder have challenges with emotional dysregulation, which can influence them to overreact. People with mood disorders often have intense emotions and reactions.
It's important not to jump to conclusions because of one small overreaction. And if you find yourself overreacting more than usual, you can seek medical advice from a psychiatrist or counseling from a therapist. They will consult the DSM-V , and if they determine you have a mental disorder, they'll create a treatment plan and help you manage symptoms to improve your mental wellbeing.
How Do I Know If I Have A Mental Illness?
There are several ways to identify the possibility of mental illness in your life. If you notice any of the following, seek help:
Your mood changes drastically
Your sleeping habits change suddenly
You worry that others are trying to harm you
You obsess about the negative
You avoid spending any time with other people
You have large memory lapses
In addition to the things you notice about yourself, consider advice from your friends and family. If they suggest you might need help for a mental disorder, think about it before you discount it. They might see things that you don't. And in the end, it doesn't matter how you realize that you need help. It only matters that you seek treatment if you feel you need it.
How Does A Person With A Mental Illness Feel?
People experiencing a mental illness feel the same emotions as anyone else. The difference is usually either in the intensity of their feelings or the triggers for their feelings.
For example, someone with bipolar disorder might feel emotional highs and dismal lows – both of them much more intense than people without a mood disorder feel. On the other hand, people with mental disorders sometimes feel disconnected from their emotions.
Emotions are affected by many mental illnesses, including depression, eating disorders, addiction, ADHD, and any other type of mental problem. Yet, it's important to remember that people with mental disorders are still people, first and foremost. So, if someone close to you has mental problems, the kindest thing you can do is acknowledge their feelings and help them get the help they need.
How Do You Love Someone With A Mental Illness?
There are many ways to show love for a person with mental illness. Some ways to love them include:
Learn more about mental health and psychological problems, especially if you know someone close to you has them
Help them recognize the symptoms of bipolar disorder, addiction, ADHD, depression, eating disorders, and other mental health problems
Suggest they get help from a therapist or psychiatrist
Offer to research support groups and drive them there if they need a ride
Help them arrange health care if they have physical problems
Call for help in your local area immediately if they talk about hurting themselves or someone else -- If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out for help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 988, and is available 24/7.
Does Tough Love Work With Mental Illness?
No, tough love usually doesn't help at all with mental illness.
The problem with tough love in this situation is that someone with mental illness isn't intentionally having symptoms. Their illness causes them to think, feel, and behave differently than you want them to, and usually different from what they want to feel, think, and behave.
Instead of tough love, it's best to offer help, suggest options, and support them in getting treatment. Unless they are endangering themselves or someone else, the choice to get treatment or not is ultimately theirs.
What Is Poor Mental Health?
Poor mental health can mean having a mental disorder. In that case, treatment can help you cope with the symptoms of those disorders. Mental health help is essential if you have an ongoing disorder.
However, poor mental health may not rise to the level of a disorder. In some cases, poor mental health involves not taking good care of your physical health or neglecting self-care. You might not have a mental disorder yet, but you may be more vulnerable to it than others. In that case, therapy may help you prevent more serious mental problems.
How Do You Interact With A Violent Person Who Has A Mental Illness?
Stay as calm as you can. Then, call help immediately. If you know a mental health professional, you might be able to call their office and get information about where to take them for emergency care. If you don't know what else to do, simply call the emergency department of a local hospital with a psychiatric department. The psychiatrists there can use the DSM-V to determine their disorder if the person doesn't already have a diagnosis. They can determine which of the disorders DSM lists are potentially causing the violence. If needed, they can treat depression, schizophrenia, or whatever mental disorder is causing violent behavior.
What Are The Early Warning Signs Of Psychosis?
Before a psychotic episode happens, you might notice any of the following early warning signs:
Their school grades or work performance drops drastically
They have thinking and concentration problems they didn't have before
They become paranoid, suspicious, or seem uneasy around others
The self-isolate and avoid social contact
They stop taking care of their health or hygiene
They show signs that they can't tell the difference between reality and what they imagine
They speak in a confusing way or have difficulty communicating their thoughts
What Triggers Psychosis?
Several different events and situations can trigger psychosis.
First, people with certain disorders are likely to have psychosis. These disorders include bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, extreme anxiety, severe depression, or sleep deprivation.
Some medical conditions can cause psychosis. These include malaria, Alzheimer's disease, hypoglycemia, brain tumors, and syphilis.
Substances like drugs and alcohol can also trigger psychosis.
Finally, sometimes changes in the brain can trigger psychosis. There is some evidence that the neurotransmitter dopamine may play some part in triggering psychosis.
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