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Doctor Kevin
Doctor Kevin, Ph.D.
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1482
Experience:  25 years in private practice
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Why is determining abnormal behavior or a mental disorder so

Customer Question

Why is determining abnormal behavior or a mental disorder so difficult?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  psychlady replied 6 years ago.

One of the reasons is that we cannot clearly define a mental disorder is that we can't see it or touch it. That leaves only subjective ways to diagnose that are prone to human error. We can't take an xray for instance. The other reason is that diagnoses if you look in the DSM-IV are very similar. This causes us to misdiagnose people in families of disorders that are similar in nature. Lastly human error alone can cause a mis diagnosis. We either ignore or misinterpret symptoms and this leads to giving people a diagnosis that is in error. The patient themselves can also give information that is faulty and this leads to their own mis diagnosis. Patient can eliminate symptom thinking it is unimportant and really in reality be crucial to the clinician's decision in diagnosis them. It has been found that two clinicians can give two diagnosis based on the patient's self report.

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.

What I guess what I am asking how can one indentify and analyze theoretical and practical challenges in defining what is abnormal?

Expert:  Doctor Kevin replied 6 years ago.
The definition of abnormal is another story entirely.The field of abnormal psychology identifies multiple causes for different conditions, employing diverse theories from the general field of psychology and elsewhere, and much still hinges on what exactly is meant by "abnormal". There has traditionally been a divide between psychological and biological explanations, reflecting a philosophical dualism in regard to the mind body problem, as well as different approaches to the classification of mental disorders.Now to answer you question of what constitutes abnormal in psychology there are three ways of arriving at that. The first is a statistical abnormality; when a certain behavior/characteristic is relevant to a low percentage of the population. However, this does not necessarily mean that such individuals are suffering from mental illness (for example, statistical abnormalities such as extreme wealth/attractiveness) The second is a psychometric abnormality, which is when a certain behavior/characteristic differs from the population's normal dispersion e.g. having an IQ of 35 could be classified as abnormal, as the population average is 100. However, this does not specify a particular mental illness. The third is measured by deviant behavior. This is not always a sign of mental illness, as mental illness can occur without deviant behavior, and such behavior may occur in the absence of mental illness. There is one other category they call combinations which including distress, dysfunction, distorted psychological processes, inappropriate responses in given situations and causing/risking harm to oneself. Analyzing the changes in this process is the history of abnormal psychology which continues to shift and change as society changes. The piratical changes can be seen in the different Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel's that have come out over the ages. On a very piratical level they reflect what we consider a psychiatric problem and what we don't. I hope I have answered your question. If not let me know.

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Doctor Kevin, Ph.D.
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1482
Experience: 25 years in private practice
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Expert:  Doctor Kevin replied 6 years ago.
Is there something else you would like help with on this subject? If not please remember to click the green Accept button or else I don't get paid.
Expert:  Doctor Kevin replied 6 years ago.
I am sorry to contact you again but I am willing to give you more information if you need it. If not and you are satisfied with my work please click the green acceptance button. Otherwise all my work will be unpaid and you will have gotten my answer for free.