1.1 Explain theways in which abnormality is measured Abnormality is defined and measured in 4 main ways.
Theseare:· Deviation from social norms· Failure to function adequately (FFA)· Deviation from ideal mental health· Statistical infrequency Deviation from social norms is oneof the ways of measuring abnormality. This approach means identifying people asabnormal if they behave in a different way to what is ‘socially normal’. Socialnorms are the considered acceptable ways of behaving according to the majorityof a society. This definition or approach measures abnormality by identifyinganyone who acts outside these guidelines as abnormal.
It is important thatabnormality is measured within the correct social or cultural group as socialnorms may differ between different cultures or societies. Failure to function adequately(FFA) is another way of measuring abnormality. This measures abnormalitythrough assessing a persons’ capability of functioning in daily life.
Anyonesuffering or struggling to cope with the demands of everyday life is labelledby psychologists as abnormal. Rosenhan and Seligman (1989)identified these characteristics as suggestions to define failure to function:· Maladaptiveness· Suffering· Violates moral/ social standards· Vividness and unconventionality · Unpredictably and loss of control · Irrationality/incomprehensibility · Causes observer discomfort These characteristics were to help in measuring what wouldfall within failure to function. Another definition and way of measuring abnormality isdeviation from ideal mental health. Jahoda (1958) suggested six characteristicswhich would measure what deviates from ideal mental health. Absence of any ofthese characteristics would result in being identified as abnormal. These sixcharacteristics are as follows:· Positive view of the self· Capability for growth and development· Autonomy and development · Accurate perception of reality· Positive friendships and relationships· Environmental mastery- able to meet the varying demandsof day-to-day situationsIdeally, according to this definition, one would have to meetall of these characteristics to be considered normal.
The last way to measure abnormality is statisticalinfrequency. This definition bases its way of measuring abnormality oninfrequency. It measures through statistics and whether a persons’ behaviour ortraits are statistically unusual or rare. So, if the way a person behaves stands outstatistically against others in their society or cultural group, they willtherefore be labelled as abnormal. 1.2 Discusssymptoms and demographics of one mental health disorder of your choiceObsessiveCompulsive DisorderAn obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorderin which a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. Accordingto mind.
org it is classified into two main parts: obsession and compulsion. ObsessionObsessions are unwelcome thoughts, images, worries or doubtswhich occur in your mind repeatedly. These encourage anxious feelings which issometimes described as ‘mental discomfort’. Obsessions include an unreasonablefear of situations such as becoming contaminated and the need to do certain thingsto perfection. For example, this will work in a persons’ mind in this way: Theywill believe the plate is contaminated and therefore will wash it, however theywill still think it is contaminated and continue to wash it because theunwanted obsession or urge stays in their mind even though they may not want tokeep having to wash it. These repetitive and unpleasant thoughts are a way ofcausing anxiety and, to relieve this anxiety, the person must act out on theirobsession.
For example, checking doors are locked even though know at the backof their mind that they have. People may also have sexual or violent intrusivethoughts. These are obsessive thoughts of committing violent or sexual acts onpeople, close friends or loved ones. They are completely unintentional meaningthe person has no intention of acting out on their obsession. Some examples of violent intrusive thoughtsare harming children or loved ones, killing innocent people, poisoning the foodof loved ones and also violent thoughts towards themselves like jumping infront of a train or bus. Compulsions Compulsions are repetitive activities someone will do toreduce discomfort or anxiety caused by obsession.
Most commonly these are mild compulsionssuch as- making this tidy and neat, checking things or having the television volumeon an even number because it sits uncomfortably in their mind. Some sufferersfrom OCD also have rituals which they partake in and perform. These can giverelief from anxiety and give the person a sense of control over their illness.
Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive DisorderIndividuals with OCD often experience repeated thoughts,images or urges in their head. These will mostly be unwanted thoughts. Some examplesof these include:· Being afraid of bacteria, dirt or contamination· Imagining hurting someone close to you or committingsexual acts or perhaps behaving in a way which might conflict beliefs orreligionIndividuals may also feel the need to take part in repetitiveacts throughout their day such as washing hands, counting, locking andunlocking doors and hoarding. Thoughts that live in a persons’ mind are often in ‘control’.Many individuals feel as though they cannot ignore these thoughts and can spendat least an hour per day focusing on these. People will also gain no pleasurefrom acting out these thoughts- only relief from the anxiety it causes. Behavioural ApproachThe behavioural approach suggests that individuals with OCD associateobjects or situations with fear and therefore learn to avoid it or performcertain compulsions in order to relieve anxiety. These fears of objects orsituations may begin when an individual is under emotional stress, pressure orworry.
So, making a relation between a situation or object with a fear willencourage those with OCD to avoid them or act out rituals to help. A good example of this would be a person fearing becomingsunburnt while sunbathing. This may cause the person to increasingly worry and thereforemay experience unwanted obsessions about having to stop becoming sunburnt. Theperson may then begin repeatedly applying sun-cream to reduce the anxiety andworry. This will then become reinforced until it becomes challenged. The fearmay spread to other situations like just being outside and wanting to be safefrom contamination or dirt which will then cause more rituals. Mowrer(1947) came up with the 2 process theory.
The firstprocess involves classical conditioning where a stimuli is associated with anegative or threatening thought ot experience and will then lead to thedevelopment of anxiety. For example- associating shaking hands (stimuli) withcontamination (fear). The second process involves operant conditioning. This iswhen the individual understands or realises that their anxiety is relieved byacting out on obsessions- which are compulsions. Richman and Hodgson (1980) supported Mowrer’s 2 process theoryand found that exposing individuals triggering obsessions to them resulted inhigh levels of anxiety and then allowing them to act out their compulsions inturn reduced their levels of anxiety. Biological approachIn OCD, the behavioural approach focuses on the disorderbeing inherited through genetics, and inherited from parents.
One example of a gene which has been connected to the onsetof OCD is the GOMT Gene. It is formed from the production of calechol-O-methyltransferasewhich regulates neurotransmitters dopamine which has been connected with OCD.This gene has been found more common in those suffering with OCD than thosewithout OCD.