Abnormal psychology can be defined as a field of study that examines the relationship between abnormality in certain areas of human behavior and various disorders or illnesses. It is important to understand that abnormal psychology is not a separate subject from mental health, and it is a key area of care for those suffering from such disorders as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
An abnormal behavior may be anything from a person’s reaction to stress to an unusual pattern of eating or sleeping patterns. People who have experienced such trauma may have been unable to communicate their feelings to others and have resorted to behavioral extremes to try and escape their troubles. Other examples of abnormal behaviors are anorexia and bulimia nervosa, alcoholism and drug addiction. Individuals who have been in abusive relationships and may be struggling with depression may have developed abnormal behavior patterns because they were unable to express their emotions in a manner acceptable to their abuser. A similar case scenario may arise when a depressed person develops a compulsion to overeat.
Various abnormal behavior can also result from chemical imbalances in the body. These imbalances, whether they are caused by drug abuse, alcohol abuse or malnutrition, can lead to poor eating habits and a lack of exercise. This can result in weight gain and, if left untreated, obesity or an unhealthy body type.
A number of medical professionals specialize in abnormal psychology. These professionals include psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses and psychologists. Psychologists who specialize in this field typically work in residential settings, including mental institutions, clinics and hospitals.
Many individuals in the health care field are trained to help people suffering from various mental illnesses and treat them mentally as well as physically. Some are also certified to help treat patients suffering from psychiatric conditions. Abnormal psychology professionals in the mental health industry can be found in hospitals, mental hospitals, outpatient centers, mental health clinics and psychiatric nursing homes. Some of these professionals work in government agencies, such as the National Institute of Mental Health and the Centers for Disease Control.
The term abnormal psychology is often used in conjunction with mental health to indicate a psychiatric condition, a disease, or an illness that has a distinct, peculiar set of symptoms, rather than a behavioral pattern or symptom. However, many psychologists specialize in this area and specialize in treating a specific type of disorder such as psychopathy, a condition characterized by extreme egocentricity and selfishness.
As mentioned, the field of abnormal psychology has a number of practitioners that treat different types of patients with varying degrees of skill and training. Some work solely within a mental health setting, while others are employed in mental health clinics or psychiatric nursing homes and work with those who have mental illnesses or behavioral disorders.
Most mental health professionals are required to undergo a minimum amount of training in the study and treatment of mental illnesses and the psychology of the disorder. This training usually includes a comprehensive examination of the individual’s medical history and any possible mental illnesses or behavioral disorders. Then, a psychologist or psychiatrist will determine the individual’s needs and recommend a course of action for the patient. If the individual does have a serious mental health disorder, he or she may require further psychological testing or therapy.
Another common characteristic of abnormal psychology is that mental disorders and behaviors are often associated with biological imbalances in the brain chemistry. In some cases, abnormal behavior is not caused by a mental disorder, but is a result of chemical imbalances in the body. For example, people who are depressed or suffer from bipolar disorder may develop obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Unfortunately, this condition does not always mean that a person is mentally ill or even that the condition is life-threatening. While there are many cases of individuals with abnormal psychology who are not mentally sick, many people with this disorder have a history of mental health issues and the condition does need a more in-depth analysis by a qualified mental health professional before it becomes apparent that the individual is suffering from abnormal psychology.