These theories started to be accepted, but not for long. After the fall of Rome, religion began to dominate this area. People were subjected to painful exorcisms as a result of behaviors that were seen as â€œabnormalâ€. With the start of the Renaissance in the 1400s, things changed again. The physician John Weyer emphasized the role of physical causes in mental disorders. The focus on biological causes slowly started to increase. However, people who exhibited abnormal behaviors were still kept in dark rooms and were beaten repeatedly. In 1793, the French physician Philippe Pinel stated that all patients in an asylum would do much better if they were treated humanely. This led to the moral treatment, or the mental hygiene movement. During the nineteenth century reformers secured improved conditions for many people with mental illnesses. This led to a new set of conventions, including new hospitals and safer treatment methods.
Modern Explanations of Abnormal Behavior:
Several theories come together to create a thorough explanation of the possible causes of abnormal behavior. The biological model emphasizes the role of nervous systems in mental disorders. This approach states that brain functions, hormonal imbalances, and genetic factors are all responsible for abnormal behavior. The psychological perspective emphasizes the role of our unconscious impulses, learning, and cognitive influences on abnormal behavior. For example, a boy who has been teased by his friends repeatedly might develop a fear of social situations. This perspective also suggests that many theories of depression also emerge from a faulty thought process. The sociocultural perspective suggests that variables such as poverty, unemployment, prejudice, poor living conditions, and disadvantageous social position are all also contributors to abnormal behaviors.
The diathesisâ€”stress model is a relatively new perspective in the field of abnormal psychology. This view suggests that mental disorders result from the joint effects of two influences:
A predisposition for a given disorder, termed a diathesis.
Stressors in an individualâ€™s environment that work on the predisposition and activate the disorders or abnormal behavior.
This model states that all of the individualâ€™s experiences come together to determine the abnormal behavior. The extent to which an individual will succumb or be vulnerable to the disorders is determined by the environment they are living in.
Assessment and Diagnosis:
A psychologist or a psychiatrist needs to gather information about the patient to determine the kinds of problems the person is experiencing and to help with the same. These methods are known as assessment and they are carried out to help with diagnosis and identification of the specific problem. There are several different manuals that help in identifying abnormal behaviors.
The two most widely used manuals are the International Classification of Diseases published by the WHO, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association. The ICD-10 contains diagnostic criteria, codes, and information about the prevalence of over 300 disorders, as does the DSM. The latest version, i.e. the DSM 5, contains detailed information on neurodevelopmental disorders, schizophrenia, and other psychotic disorders, anxiety disorders, bipolar and related disorders, depressive and obsessive-compulsive disorders, etc.
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