History of Abnormal Psychology Many people have heard of psychology before. It is simply a scientific study of behavior and mental processes. Did you know there are many different subdivisions of psychology? One major subdivision is abnormal psychology, which is concerned with understanding the nature, causes, and treatment of mental disorders. What comes to mind when you hear the names Erik Erikson, Sigmund Freud, or Mary Whiton Clakins? They were all well known psychologists dating back as far as 430 B. C.
E when Hippocrates proposed that mental illnesses were caused by an imbalance of four major fluids in the human body, blood, bile, black bile, and phlegm, even before the study of psychology became a science.
There were many different types of mental disorders in Hippocrates’ time ranging from Demonology, Gods, and Magic, to Natural causes and of course there were different ways to treating them each as well. Demonology, Gods, and Magic were considered types of possessions. Treatment for possessions usually resulted in exorcism (techniques- magic, prayer, incantation, noise-making, or horrible-tasting concoctions of sheep dung and wine).
In Hippocrates’ time, people with mental illnesses were institutionalized and kept out of the public eye. Also in earlier times to treat them, they would do a frontal lobotomy, removal of a section of brain in the frontal lobe said to control their personality. Their thought was if they took away their personality, (by removing their frontal lobe or part of it) it would make them easier to deal with and easier to care for. Now days, when people show signs of a mental illness such as obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, or schizophrenia they are treated by medication, therapy, and sometimes still institutionalization.
The adolescent years are the most important for influencing a child’s life. Therefore, when a child spends its infancy or adolescent years in institutionalization, they are more likely to develop severe emotional, behavioral, and learning problems, as well as experience strain in their relationships. Institutionalization is when a child is raised in an institution where, compared with an ordinary home, there is likely to be less warmth and physical contact; as well as a lack of encouragement and help in a positive learning. Institutional settings tend to be less warm for raising a child.
They lack intellectual, emotional, and social stimulation which are all things that children need to be raised. Even though this is not true for every child, it still raises the risk of a child growing up “not normal. ” It has been discovered that when a child is placed in a foster home or with adoptive families versus being in an institution, they tend to turn out better as adults. They form better social and behavioral skills, as well as stronger and better relationships. In diagnosing a psychiatric disorder, you must first understand the person.
Because no two people are exactly the same, you must understand their culture, their normal behavior, their family history, and many other facts about them. A book was published (DSM-IV) with every type of mental health disorder in children and adults. In this book, you can find the known causes for each disorder, statistics, prognosis, and also some researched treatment options. You have to know just what to look for in each individual, and what to consider normal and abnormal when diagnosing a patient who has a possible mental disorder. Also, you must understand and notice the differences between the patient’s symptoms and signs.
Symptoms of a disorder are what a patient can feel and therefore what they complain about. Signs of a disorder are what a person can see when looking at a patient. Until early 1970s, people in the public were not very concerned about people with mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress, and others. They didn’t really worry too much about it because at that time they were, for the most part, institutionalized. After people began to be deinstitutionalized, when they were out and about in public with everyone else, people tended not to know much about individuals with mental disorders.
Generally, people think that individuals with schizophrenia are usually violent people, but in reality, they like to be left alone and tend to withdraw themselves from social activities. People in the public tend not to be able to recognize the type or severity of mental disorders. Therefore, they don’t know the causes and they don’t know their symptoms and how they will react to certain things. This tends to make the public view of people with mental illnesses quite negative. Many of their views, however, come from the lack of knowledge. Even though people started studying, observing, and understanding psychology as far back as 430 B.
C. E. , it is evident that new understandings are constantly being brought to our attention and to the attention of the psychologists, due to science. Around 1880, psychology actually became a study of science. Now when you hear the names, Erik Erikson, Sigmund Freud, or Mary Whiton Clakins, hopefully you will remember that psychology runs much deeper than just what it is thought about and what is taught to you in English class in high school. Many of us have heard the quote “don’t judge a book by its cover,” well don’t judge a person either.
Don’t just blend in with the general public and think that everyone with a mental disorder is violent or crazy. Learn what you can about a person before you judge them learn how to be around them, you never know, one could be your best friend, or your future spouse. Also keep in mind, someone in your family may have a mental disorder and you just don’t know about it, some disorders are more apparent than others. (Will be expanding on a few more of the topics mentioned above as well. ) References Butcher, JN, Mineka, S, & Hooley, JM. (2011). Abnormal psychology core concepts.
Boston, Ma: Allyn & Bacon. Ciccarelli, SK, & White, JN. (2006). Psychology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Gay, Katrina, & Duckworth, Ken. (n. d. ). Schizophrenia: public attitudes, personal needs. Retrieved from http://www. nami. org/Content/NavigationMenu/SchizophreniaSurvey/Analysis_Public_Attitudes. htm A B Borinstein Public attitudes toward persons with mental illness Health Affairs, 11, no. 3 (1992):186-196 Lundbeck Institute, . (n. d. ). Diagnosis of mental disorders. Retrieved from http://www. brainexplorer. org/factsheets/Psychiatry%20Diagnosis. pdf
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