Abnormal Psychology is defined as the interpretive and scientific study of abnormal thoughts and behaviour in order to interpret, describe, predict, explain, and change abnormal patterns of functioning. It is the branch of psychology concerned with research into the classification, causation, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of psychological disorders or psychopathology” (Lazarus, 1995, p108). Abnormal Psychology provides us sources, including medication, proper treatments, classification of mental disorders, and ways for prevention of some associated illnesses, which are some of the many uses of this field.
The study of the causes of a disorder can help us to prevent mental illness as well as other related diseases (McEwen, 2004). For example, Posttraumatic disorder is caused by a prolonged stress experience (Butcher, Mineka & Hooley, 2007). Everybody has stress in their lives. Stress is a natural coping mechanism for the body in a threatful situation, but we have to respond before the stress damages our brain and body and cause us mental illness in addition to many other diseases. Stress starts for our benefit, by increasing our heart rate to provide more blood, energy and fuel to our muscles. Also dilates our lungs to take more oxygen for the brain to become more alert, named as a fight-or-flight response. But very soon the stress can become an enemy to the organism. By changing our lifestyle, we can prevent damages in the brain and through the whole body. The researches done in Abnormal psychology made it available for us that prolonged stress increases abdominal fat, which is the unhealthiest fat in the body. To exercise regularly lowers abdominal fat. Getting plenty of sleep also helps against stress.
An important aspect of Abnormal psychology is also the classification of disorders. This provides us with a nomenclature and enables us to structure information in a more helpful manner. It help us see the symptoms of a person and understand which disorder they fall under. However, it does have some disadvantages such as problem of labelling someone with a disorder, so that even when the person fully recovers, the diagnostic label can be hard to shake (Butcher, Mineka & Hooley, 2007). An example of classification of disorders could be.
Abnormal psychology helps with the treatment of mentally ill people. A proper management of the medication is of great importance. The popularity of psychotropic medication in recovery is since the 1950’s, when its effects were first observed. At first it was thought that medication was an all-inclusive cure for mental illness, but it soon became clear that medication was not enough for complete recovery. Proper management of it can make tremendous difference in patient’s life (Weaver, 1992). An example of why treatment is important in this field of psychology is that the researches that have been done on many life threatening disorders is in order to find good medication for them.
Overall, individuals who have a deep fascination with abnormal psychology typically decide to follow a career path towards becoming a mental health counselor, clinical psychologist, or psychiatrist. In any of these mental health professional positions with an advanced degree and studies in abnormal psychology, you can be involved in better understanding the underlying causes of behavior, determining how the behavior should be addressed, and developing a treatment plan to help patients reach for a higher quality of life.