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Life Span Essay

1355 words - 6 pages

Abnormal Psychology and Therapy
Jessica King, Galen Gill, Nathan Ferrell
January 6, 2015
Wanda Meneese

Abnormal Psychology and Therapy
Psychology is defined as the scientific investigation of mental processes and behavior (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). There are two types of psychology that will be compared and contrasted within this paper; normal and abnormal. What is considered normal? What is considered abnormal? What distinguishes one from the other? How are both types alike?
Abnormal Psychology is associated with diagnosis and therapy, while normal psychology focuses on understanding the cognition and behavior of those who are not. Both types of therapy can enlist ...view middle of the document...

Within this type of psychology population studies are done that provide statistical information on a range of topics considered normal and acceptable. Good mental health and physical health are characteristics associated with normal psychology.
Social norms change over time which makes it challenging to define a specific set of behaviors as abnormal. What may have been acceptable behavior 20 years ago may be considered outdated and offensive in current times. An example of this is women in the work place. Many years ago it was uncommon for women to hold positions outside of the household. During that time it was normal for women to take care of the household while the husband worked to provide for the family. Fast forward 50 years; now many women work full time jobs outside of the home and share household duties with their spouses/significant others. Which leads to the acceptance of unmarried couples living together. This is also an area where acceptance has occurred but for many years it was frowned upon and considered abnormal.
Both abnormal and normal psychology study human behavior. Although different methods are used to study the effects of society’s idea of what is considered normal and abnormal, both normal and abnormal psychology have a purpose; to study the mental processes and behaviors of humans.
Substance abuse is a mental disorder that can cause both health and social problems, even with this information many people tend to ignore the risk and enjoy alcoholic drinks. Alcohol is a drink that many people use to relax and relieve stress, but just because a person indulges themselves with alcoholic drinks occasionally, does not mean they will develop a mental disorder known as alcoholism. Psychopathology research shows that genetics as well as the environment play a crucial role with alcoholism. Children with parents that suffer from alcoholism are more likely to develop a taste for alcohol, then children with parents that do not suffer from alcoholism. Another contributing factor related to substance abuse that is not related to genetics, is when a person starts abusing substances to help them deal with personal problems. This temporary solution can create a dependency when these issues go unresolved, ultimately leading to a mental disorder that could greatly affect their health and social life (Kowalski & Westen, 2011, pp. 548-551).
Anxiety disorder is another type of mental disorder, where the person experiences some type of anxiety under certain conditions, where most people under the same circumstances would not experience anxiety at all. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop when a person has a traumatic experience, normally the traumatic event is much more horrendous then most people will ever experience during one’s life. A traumatic experience such as natural disasters, rape, murder, or the violence of war. Some of the symptom related to PTSD are nightmare,...

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