Let’s start by juggling our minds on what makes conduct abnormal. Abnormal behaviour in medicine is a mental disorder that affects the brain of a person and the way they think, act and relate to others. Three criteria usually characterize irregular behavior: deviant, maladaptive, or personally distressful for a long period of time.
The first criterion, deviant, identifies abnormal behavior as a traditionally irregular behavior that is culturally unacceptable. For example, if a waitress comes to you at the restaurant and asks whether you have been attended to and you say yes and they keep coming back after every ten seconds to check whether you have been attended to is unusual and not acceptable by culture since you will start being suspicious of the waitress and their abnormal behavior.
Maladaptive behavior, the second criteria that define abnormal behavior, interferes with a person’s ability to function effectively in the world. For example, a pretty lady with a good physique who believes that she can involuntary attract men and cause them to fall for her by putting on clothes that fit her well and show all her curves can go to greater lengths of putting on baggy clothes that make her unattractive for what she believes is for the men’s own good.
Finally, abnormal behavior is personally distressful since it makes brings shame, fear, and guilt on the long run.
It is the culture that establishes what people consider to be normal or abnormal. Culture defines how people should behave as well as what is healthy or unhealthy. It is, however, complex to relate normality with culture since it keeps changing. For example, in the recent, fast foods were common and everyone liked them, unlike today where everyone is health-oriented and wants to take more of vegetables than meat products. Culture can also be limiting and oppressive for example the old tradition that regarded women as people who belong to the kitchen and not in the corporate world. It is due to this and many other reasons that culture has influenced the experience of psychological disorders.
It is the abnormal behavior that gives rise to physiological disorders where people behave in deviant, maladaptive or personally distressful ways. There are three theoretical approaches that explain how people develop psychological disorders. They are biological, psychological and socio-cultural approaches that I will discuss as we progress.
Biological approach attests psychological disorders to internal causes such as genetic factors and the brain as the main sources of abnormality. It is this approach that defines abnormality as a mental illness as defined earlier since it defines psychological disorders as mental diseases.
The psychological approach emphasizes that psychological disorders originate from contributions of experiences, thoughts, and emotions as well as personal character. For example, a female child who was raised in a hostile family where the father used to bully and beat the mother as she watched, may develop a negative abnormal behavior towards men.
The social-cultural approach states that psychological disorder has a lot to do with the social context in which a person lives in. For example the person’s socioeconomic status, culture or ethnicity.
The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is a classification system in the United States that classifies different psychological disorders and keeps updating the diagnosable disorders that have increased dramatically. Among the many classifications DSM has, the Depressive disorder is our main focus.
Moods tell us how we are doing in life. We feel either good or bad depending on what we have achieved as important goals, where we failed and such emotional experiences. Several disorders involve this kind of emotional experiences among them bipolar and depressive disorders.
Depressive disorders are those that an individual suffers from depression due to lack of pleasure in life, the absence of joy, high level of sadness and low energy. Depressive disorders are common since a recent research in the US showed that 30% of people aged 13 years and above had a depressive episode for the last 12 months as at the date of research. Depression is different from other mood disorders since it involves specific brain structures that slow thinking and how a person perceives and relates to the world.
Some common symptoms of the depressive disorder include hopelessness, lack of energy and fatigue, poor concentration and slow thinking, and sleep problems which can be sleeping too much or lacking sleep. The most major ones being having a depressed mood most of the day, reduced interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyable, significant weight loss or gain or significant decrease or increase in appetite as well as feeling worthless or guilty in an excessive or inappropriate manner.
The biological therapy for this disorder would be the use of antidepressant drugs such as camphor which are taken orally to treat the low levels of neutral-transmitter regulation or the Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for disorders such as schizophrenia or use of drugs. ECT is a therapy that passes an electric current through the head to produce brain seizures though this method has changed with time for better results. (routledge)
Psychotherapy is the first form of treatment recommended for depression. “During psychotherapy, a person with depression talks to a licensed and trained mental health care professional who helps the person identifies and works through the factors that may be triggering the depression.” (Cleveland Clinic, 2014)
Depression can be cured if handled in a good way. The first step into helping someone with depression is letting them know that you care about how they feel and doing actions that actually show that you care. It is also wise to be positive in what you talk about to create a warm atmosphere. If they haven’t been checked be sure to take them to a trained mental health care professional who they can talk to about what is troubling their mind. Last but not least, if they are under any type of therapy, remind them to attend or take their drugs in a friendly manner so they don’t fell offended.
Cleveland Clinic. (2014). Retrieved from my.Cleveland Clinic.org.
routledge. (n.d.). Retrieved from routledge.com.
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