Normality And Abnormality

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Depression has been said to be to be a “common cold of mental health” (Lucknow, n.d.) and this is because of the alarmingly huge number of diagnosed patients that suffer from this mental disorder. It is quoted that more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression worldwide. However despite this, many cannot tell the difference between feeling sad or depressed and having clinical depression. This makes the current use of ‘depression’ in some cases pop-psych, that is psychological terms misused in pop culture. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) or clinical depression is a psychiatric disorder that is often associated with a persistent low mood, low self-esteem, and a decrease in level of functioning.

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Abnormal Psychology refers to the study of any behavior or mental process that is not normal or abnormal. So what exactly is abnormal and normal? Abnormal behavior, in terms of psychology, has three different definitions. The three definitions of abnormality are; deviation from social norms, failure to function adequately, deviation from ideal mental health.

Social ‘norms’ are unwritten rules created and implemented by a certain social group to guide the behavior of those who belong to that group. And therefore, breaking these rules or ‘norms’ may be considered abnormal behavior and individuals may be socially out casted for doing so. Social norms are behavioral patterns that are native to a specific social group and are often passed down from generations through observation. Figures in a society that pass down norms are called gatekeepers, this term can refer to parents, teachers, religious leaders and peers of the individual. Examples of cultural norms would be how marriage partners are chose, attitudes towards alcohol consumption and the acceptance of spanking children as punishment. However, since norms can change overtime, so will what people consider being ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’. Therefore, these norms should be considered in context. There can also be a cultural difference in these norms as what may be considered
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That is if maintaining a relationship with that individual is difficult or if the individual is unable to go on with day-to-day living, we can see that the abnormal behavior is starting to affect the individual’s ability to function adequately by themself in society and is affecting others around him by causing them distress. However, function adequately is a subjective judgment and may differ from person to person or society to society. Behaviors also can be deemed ‘unacceptable’ by society but from the individual’s perspective, it may not necessarily seem ‘bad’ to partake in such behavior. This does not make the behavior abnormal but simply ‘maladaptive’, that is to engage in behaviors that make life difficult for

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