Diagnose or Not to Diagnose Essay

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Discuss the criteria used to define abnormality (abnormal behavior / mood disorders)

There are no established criteria to define what is abnormal. On the other hand, every individual trait can be said as abnormal on some social plane. (Oracle think quest, 2010) Some of the preferred ideas to define abnormality are as given below:

Statistical Norms Deviation: Certain population facts such as height, weight and intelligence are measured and recorded. Most of people come in the middle range of intelligence. Those who fail in general terms and falls below the so-called intelligence scale are termed as abnormal. But then, the people with extra intelligence also become abnormal. Furthermore, intelligence is a subjective issue. (Oracle think quest, 2010)

Social Norms Deviation: People going again social norms and trying to make their idiosyncratic identity are also termed as abnormal. Galileo was abnormal and he was brutally punished for his abnormality, he suggested that earth revolves round the sun which was abnormal as per biblical standards. (Oracle think quest, 2010)

Behavior Maladaptiveness: This is a better criterion to consider what is normal and what is abnormal. The criterion involves the issue of how the behavior affects the well-being of the individual and/or social group. Yet, the issue is in case, an individual's particular behavior starts exploiting the freedom of others, it should be termed illegal or criminal rather than abnormal illness. Mentioning such criminal activities as some mental illness means that the authorities and government are failing to protect the individual liberty of citizens and trying to protect the criminals by terming them mentally sick and offering them treatment and clemency. (Oracle think quest, 2010)

Personal Forms of Distress: This is by far the best criterion to define abnormal behavior. This criterion involves a study of personal problems. "The individual's subjective feelings and personal distresses are considered as abnormal." (Oracle think quest, 2010) "Most people diagnosed as 'mentally ill' feel miserable, anxious, depressed and may suffer from insomnia." (Oracle think quest, 2010) Yet the issue is, if a person is actually suffering such problems, then he simply doesn't need to go through the wastage of psychopathological diagnosis. He should be free to search proper treatment; the treatment can be clinical or alternative like meditation, natural relief and stress reduction processes, ayurveda, yoga, exercises etc. (Oracle think quest, 2010)

Summarize legal and ethical issues related to abnormal psychology (abnormal behavior / mood disorders)

All the legal and ethical issues related with abnormal psychology relates to the issue of individual liberty and the state's actions against individual liberty.

Evaluate classification system of abnormal behavior / mood disorders

The abnormal behavior patterns are classified according to the previously discussed abnormal criteria. The DSM system was introduced in 1952. The abnormal behavior are classified as mental disorders involving mental/emotional distress, significantly impaired functioning, or behavior that places people at risk for personal suffering, pain, disability, or death such as repeated usage of harmful drugs, suicidal attempts, etc. (Nevid; Rathus; Greene, 2005)

Discuss which classifications (in abnormal behavior / mood disorders) would be the most difficult to be diagnosed and why?

The DSM system is the most difficult to be assessed and used to diagnosis abnormal behavior. A diagnosis can be termed as useful only if it demonstrates validity and reliability. DSM system can be considered as reliable and valid only if different evaluators using the system are likely to arrive at the same diagnoses when they evaluate the same cases. The system may be considered valid if diagnostic judgments correspond with observed behavior. For example, people diagnosed with social phobia should show abnormal levels of anxiety in social situations. (Nevid; Rathus; Greene, 2005)

Another form of validity is predictive validity, or ability to predict the course the disorder is likely to follow or its response to treatment. There are some evidences that support the reliability of DSM system in many categories including some anxiety and mood disorders and alcohol and drug dependence disorders. Yet questions about validity persist for some diagnostic classes, such as Axis II personality disorders, as well as Axis V, Global Assessment of Functioning. One can say that the functioning of DSM classification remains highly controversial and it needs a lot of research, debates and arguments. (Nevid; Rathus; Greene, 2005)

Furthermore, the DSM system is not very concerned with cultural and ethnic diversity. Some behaviors that may be considered as normal in America can be termed as abnormal in India and vice versa. One of the major advantages of DSM system is its designation of specific diagnostic criteria. The DSM permits the clinician to readily match a client's complaints and associated features with specific standards to see which diagnosis best fits the case. This allows therapists to properly prescribe medicines that may provide positive effects. (Nevid; Rathus; Greene, 2005)

Illustrate treatments of psychological disorders (abnormal behavior / mood disorders)

Major treatments available for "abnormal behavior are drug therapy which is psychopharmacology that includes anxiolytics, antidepressants, tricylics, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, mood stabilizers and antipsychotic agents. Other treatments are 'Electroconvulsive Therapy -- ECT' and 'Light Therapy'." (Sparks notes, 2009) Apart from that, alternative therapies like stress reduction methods, meditation etc. are also popular.

Assess treatments of psychological disorders (abnormal behavior / mood disorders)

Psychopharmacology may prove to be effective; it may cause dangerous side effects too. Often people become addictive to the medical treatments and the effectiveness of medicines starts declining. ECT, and light therapy along with mental relief and stress reduction exercises, meditation etc. are better ways for treatment as per my views.

Demonstrate the ability to evaluate and incorporate emerging relevant technologies applicable to the field of abnormal psychology (abnormal behavior / mood disorders)

As a result of highly expensive researches going on in the field of abnormal behavior under the pressure of political and corporate groups, (Widiger; Sankis, 2001) some of very amazing technologies are emerging in the market. It is really difficult to assess and evaluate the ability of these technologies in the field of abnormal psychology unless a proper definition of abnormal behavior is established.

Analyze and evaluate information critically and effectively (abnormal behavior / mood disorders)

Abnormal behavior or mood disorder is very confusing issue that includes a lot of conspiring information. (Widiger; Sankis, 2001)

Demonstrate ethical behavior in regard to information and information technology (abnormal behavior / mood disorders)

Ethically, governments and authorities should let the individuals decide for what treatment they want to get help against which of their personal behavior. Trying to establish a definition of abnormal behavior will tend a complete brainwash of citizens. IT should explore more about the ways in which the governmental authorities may try to control and restrict individual thinking process.


Baker, B.L., Blacher, J., & Pfeiffer, S. (1993). "Family involvement in residential treatment of children with psychiatric disorder and mental retardation" Hospital and Community Psychiatry, vol. 44, no. 6, pp: 561-566.

Chan, Jeffery; Hudson, Colin. (2002) "Individuals with Intellectual Disability and Mental Illness:

A Literature Review," Australian Journal of Social Issues, vol. 37, no. 1, pp: 31-40.

Davidson, P.W., Cain, N.N., Sloane-Reeves, J., Giesow, V.E Quijano, L.E., Van Heyningen, J., & Sholam, I. (1995). "Crisis intervention for community-based individuals with developmental disabilities and behavioral and psychiatric disorders" Mental Retardation, vol. 33, no. 1, pp: 21-30.

Mencken, H.L. (2008) "Notes on Democracy"

Dissident Books.

Nevid, Jeffrey S; Rathus, Spence A; Greene, Beverly. (2005) "Abnormal psychology in a changing world" Prentice Hall.

Regier DA, Kaelber CT, Rae DS, Farmer ME, Knauper B, Norquist G.S. (1998) "Limitations of diagnostic criteria and assessment instruments for mental disorders Implications for research and policy" Arch. Gen. Psychiatry, vol. 55, no. 2, pp: 109-115.

Rogler LH. (1997) "Making sense of historical changes in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual

of Mental Disorders: five propositions." J. Health Soc. Behav, vol. 38, no. 2, pp: 9-20.

Sparks Notes. (2009) "Abnormal Psychology." Retrieved 24 July, 2010 from http://sparkcharts.sparknotes.com/psychology/abnormalpsychology/section18.php

The Economist. (1995)…[continue]

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