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‘four Ds’: deviance, distress, dysfunction and danger. That is, psychological disorders are deviant (different, extreme, unusual, even bizarre),
distressing (unpleasant and upsetting to the person and to others), dysfunctional (interfering with the person’s ability to carry out daily activities in a constructive way), and possibly dangerous (to the person or to others).
Deviation from social norms: Each society has norms, which are stated or unstated rules for proper conduct. Behaviours, thoughts and emotions that break societal norms are called abnormal. A society’s norms grow from its particular culture — its history, values, institutions, habits, skills, technology, and arts. Thus, a society whose culture values competition and assertiveness may accept aggressive behaviour, whereas one that emphasizes cooperation and family values (such as in India) may consider aggressive behaviour as unacceptable or even abnormal. A society’s values may change over time, causing its views of what is psychologically abnormal to change as well.
Maladaptive: Criterion for determining the normality of behaviour is not whether society accepts it but whether it fosters the well-being of the individual and eventually of the group to which s/he belongs. Well-being is not simply maintenance and survival but also includes growth and fulfilment, i.e. the actualisation of potential, which you must have studied in Maslow’s need hierarchy theory. According to this criterion, conforming behaviour can be seen as abnormal if it is maladaptive, i.e. if it interferes with optimal functioning and growth. For example, a student in the class prefers to remain silent even when s/he has questions in her/his mind. Describing behaviour as maladaptive implies that a problem exists; it also suggests that vulnerability in the individual, inability to cope, or exceptional stress in the environment have led to problems in life.
Psychological disorders that are characterised by superstition, ignorance and fear. Again it is commonly believed that psychological disorder is something to be ashamed of. The stigma attached to mental illness means that people are hesitant to consult a doctor or psychologist because they are ashamed of their problems. Actually, psychological disorder which indicates a failure in adaptation should be viewed as any other illness.
0:00 Abnormal Behavior
0:25 Concept of 4Ds
3:10 Normality and Abnormality Approaches
11:02 Middle Ages
11:28 Period of Renaissance
12:51 Classification of Disorders
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