Defining Abnormal Behavior - 12 Clinical Psychology - STEP 4 Review the Knowledge You Need to Score High

5 Steps to a 5: AP Psychology - McGraw Hill 2021

Defining Abnormal Behavior
12 Clinical Psychology
STEP 4 Review the Knowledge You Need to Score High


Summary: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about psychology? Before you took a psychology course, it was probably mental health, especially abnormal behavior. Actually, 90 percent of what psychologists study is about normal behavior. People in good mental health have flexible beliefs; perceptions linked to an external stimulus; logical, coherent, goal-directed thoughts; and a full range of emotions and engage readily in normal verbal communication and motor acts. Martin Seligman, a former president of the American Psychological Association, promoted the positive psychology movement, an emphasis on the study of human strengths, fulfillment, and optimal living to help us improve our lives. Although this movement is gaining in strength and popularity, mental health professionals are still needed to help people suffering from psychological problems.

If a close friend or family member were experiencing severe anxiety that interfered with his or her everyday life, what credentials would you want a therapist for him or her to have? This chapter looks at definitions, causes, and types of psychological disorders. It also examines how mental health practitioners approach and treat these disorders.


Key Ideas

Image Defining abnormal behavior

Image Causes of abnormal behavior

Image Anxiety disorders

Image Obsessive-compulsive and related disorders

Image Trauma and stressor-related disorders

Image Somatic symptom and related disorders

Image Dissociative disorders

Image Depressive disorders

Image Bipolar and related disorders

Image Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders

Image Personality disorders

Image Neurodevelopmental disorders

Image Organic/Neurocognitive disorders

Image Mental health practitioners

Image Insight therapies—psychoanalytic, psychodynamic, humanistic

Image Behavioral approaches

Image Cognitive-behavioral approaches

Image Biological treatments

Image Modes of therapy

Image Community and preventive approaches

Defining Abnormal Behavior

Defining abnormal behavior and showing how it is different from normal behavior is difficult and controversial. A common definition of abnormal behavior is behavior that is personally disturbing or disabling or culturally so deviant that others judge it as maladaptive, inappropriate, or unjustifiable. Atypical or deviant means that, statistically, the behavior is rare and has a very low probability of occurring. Legally, insanity is an inability to determine right from wrong. Insanity is a rarely used defense plea in criminal cases because a finding of insanity results in commitment to a detention facility of individuals who are a threat to themselves or to the community.