End the Stigma of Mental Illness and Enroll in an Abnormal Psychology Program | NEIH

Updated: Mar 19

Understanding Abnormal Psychology

Abnormal Psychology

Abnormal psychology is a branch of psychopathology that covers the understanding of human behavior, the reasons behind it and how it can be treated. For instance, although higher levels of IQ are considered abnormal, they are also a sign of an individual who is a genius. Abnormal psychology studies the pattern and assess if the behavior falls within, or outside the norms of being good or bad. Understanding Abnormal Psychological can help you in your professional career and in your personal life as well.


The stigma associated with Psychological Disorders

Abnormal psychology aims to understand and identify emotional and mental disorders or aggressive behavior amongst both children and adults. Knowing what psychological disorders are and the causes behind them can help end the negative stigma attached to mental illness. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 450 million people or 1 in 4 will be affected by mental illness at some point in their lives. Historically we can see how societies across the world have subjected those with mental illness to heinous humanitarian crimes. Throughout history, people with mental illness were given a low social status, faced discrimination, harassment, false imprisonment and in extreme cases torture and death. All of these terrible things happened because of a simple lack of education and understanding regarding mental illness.

Illnesses and Topics you can Learn about in an Abnormal Psychology Program

  • Schizophrenia,

  • Social anxiety and depression

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

  • Sexual Dysfunctions

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Substance Abuse and drug addiction

  • Dissociative identity disorder (DID) or Multiple personality disorder (MPD)

  • Neurocognitive irregularities

  • Mood disorders

  • and the Assessment of Psychological Disorders

Abnormal psychology assesses these based upon the 4Ds known as dysfunction, distress, deviance, and danger that the behavior of an individual possesses to others. Upon identification, much of the treatment is done under the psychoanalytic, behavioral, medical or cognitive approach. Some known treatments and therapies include classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).


Careers in Abnormal Psychology

The robust field of psychology provides for various life-changing career options. By completing an introductory certificate program and getting a basic knowledge about types of disorders and their causes, an individual can use this information in many different fields such as in healthcare, educational institutions, business entities, wellness centers, and psychotherapy clinics.

Exploring the role of Clinical Psychologists

What do Clinical Psychologists do? As a clinical psychologist, you will be expected to treat patients with some form of a mental illness or those suspected to be at risk. Some of your duties and tasks may include:

  • Monitoring behavioral patterns of both adults and children,

  • Understanding culture and external environment for research and treatment,

  • Diagnose abnormal behavior and issues

  • Help relieve stress and depressive symptoms

  • Help patients move towards a healthier and mindful lifestyle

  • Monitor client progress and future abnormal behavior occurrence

  • Publish academic and professional research for evidence-based practice



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