Examine the Concepts of Normality and Abnormality

1426 words 6 pages
Examine the concepts of normality and abnormality (22mks) Abnormality may be defined as behavior that causes distress, loss of freedom, physical or emotional pain, and increased risk of death or injury to self or something that causes a disability of some sort. Abnormal behaviour is however difficult to diagnose because it is, to a large extent, based on the symptoms people exhibit. Psychiatrists and psychologists use a standardized system called a diagnostic manual to help them but this system isn’t without faults. Since there is no clear definition of normality or abnormality – and symptoms of the same psychological disorders may vary not only between individuals but also between social and cultural groups, it is clear that a …show more content…

In addition to that, they didn’t want a psychiatrist’s or a society’s view on what is good or desirable affecting whether someone is diagnosed as mentally ill. The technique of looking at science to establish what is normal and abnormal is known as naturalism. The desire to have a naturalistic definition of mental illness is a part of the medical model of medical illness. The mental illness criterion (the medical model) sees psychological disorders (abnormality) as psychopathology. This literally means illness in the psyche. This criterion is linked to psychiatry, which is a branch of medicine. Patients with psychological problems are seen as “ill” in the same way as those who suffer from physiological illnesses. Diagnosis of mental illness is based on the clinicians observations, the patient’s self-reports, a clinical interview and diagnostic manuals. Kendell (1975) was one of those who wanted a naturalistic account of mental illness. He wanted a scientific distinction between normality and abnormality. Kendell argued that illness in general (both physical and mental) should be understood as any condition reduces fitness. According to the evolutionary theory, fitness refers to an organism’s ability to pass his genes on to the next generation. So an illness is a condition that reduces longevity or fertility. Kendell found that people with schizophrenia have fewer offspring than people who do not suffer from it. Major