Abnormal Psychology is an introduction to the different perspectives on psychological abnormalities. There are many ways to approach an abnormal psychology research paper.
Remember that abnormal psychology involves identifying the criteria for judging whether a behavior is psychologically disordered, and in that, there is often a very fine line between what is normal and what is abnormal. Behavior which is determined to be atypical, or disturbing is often considered a psychological disorder. In your study you may want to examine the most prevalent disorders and their possible causes. There are three major elements that must be present in order for an abnormal behavior to be termed a psychological disorder:
- Disturbances of behavior, thoughts and/or emotions
- Personal distress or impairment
- Psychological symptoms that stem from biological or internal roots
The most common of psychological disorders are the anxiety disorders. Those who suffer from an anxiety disorder may feel uncontrollably tense, may have a persistent irrational fear (phobic disorder) or may be troubled by repetitive thoughts or actions (obsessive-compulsive disorder). Different explanations for this type of disorder include releasing repressed impulses, the result of fear conditioning, and genetic or physiological influences.
Abnormal Psychology and Diseases
Somatoform disorders involve symptoms of the body that have no obvious or apparent physical cause. In one form, hypochondriasis, people interpret normal sensations as symptoms of some more serious disease process. Something as normal as a headache may be interpreted as something as severe as a brain tumor. People with this disorder are very often called hypochondriacs.
In another form, conversion disorder, anxiety is converted into a physical symptom. These symptoms are often very specific and include paralysis, blindness or the inability to swallow. These symptoms have no apparent physical cause. These diseases are discussed in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.
Examples of Abnormal Psychology
Examples of dissociative disorders include amnesia and multiple personality. Amnesia is the separation of normal conscious awareness from the memory, thoughts and feelings. It is usually manifested under extreme stress. Multiple personality is a rare dissociative disorder in which a person exhibits two or more distinct and alternating personalities.