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Abnormal Behavior

Lecture 1

What is Abnormal Behavior?

Abnormal psychology is defined as an area of focus or branch of psychology the mainly focuses on mental and behavior disturbance. That finds the causes of the behavior and sets a treatment plan. Psychological disorders that involves a disturbance of psychological functioning or behavior ( 1). Medical model is a biological perspective in which abnormal behavior is viewed as symptomatic of underlying illness ( 1)

Different cultures can also be view from an outside culture as abnormal behavior. For example in China women would bind their feet to shrink it and/or prevent growth to fit in shoes that were only a few inches big. This is not commonly practiced today, but it was considered to be a sign of beauty.


There are multiple different signs/symptoms of abnormal behavior such as aggression, antisocial, criminal actions, self mutilation, and substance abuse etc. There are many factors in considered if someone has abnormal behavior and what is the cause of the behavior.

DSM-IV Summary
DSM- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It is a guidelines of axis for both clinicians and researchers use for reliable diagnoses. It has descriptions with signs/symptoms of all disorders. Psychologist can look at the symptoms and develop a treatment plan.

DSM-IV Summary Table

Axis 1: Clinical disorders
Examples: Anxiety disorders Mood disorders Dissociative disorders Substance-related disorders Schizophrenia Sexual & genderidentity disorders Eating disorders

Axis 2: Personality/ developmental disorders

Axis 4: Axis 5: Axis 3: Psychosocial and Global Relevant physical Environmental Assessment of disorders problems Functioning
Examples:100 = Superior functioning in a wide range of activities 50 = Serious symptoms or impairment in social, occupational, or school functioning 10 = Persistent danger of severely hurting self or others

Examples: Examples: Examples: Paranoid personality Infectious & Problems with disorder parasitic diseases primary support Antisocial Endocrine, group personality disorder nutrional, metabolic, Problems related to Narcissistic immune diseases social environment personality disorder Diseases of Educational Borderline nervous system & problems personality disorder sense organs Occupational Dependent Congenital problems personality disorder anomalies Housing or economic problems

How to diagnose abnormal behavior?

As discussed a few slides earlier a psychologist would use the DSM to assess the patient to determine he/shes diagnoses. At this website it describes symptoms and diagnoses from the DSM.

Any Mental Illness in Past Year among Persons Aged 18 or Older, by State: Percentages, Annual Averages Based on 2008 and 2009 NSDUHs

How to determine the right treatment plan

First the psychologist must do an assessment on the patient. From the assessment it should describe signs/symptoms. Diagnosed patient from the signs/symptoms. Then from the DSM the psychologist determines treatment.

At the end of this lesson you should be able to recognize abnormal behavior. Diagnose a patient with abnormal behavior from their signs/symptoms. Prepare a treatment plan.

Resources 1_Lecture_Handout.pdf dsm_iv_summary_table.htm