Psychology is a fascinating field, as any study of the human mind would be. There are so many different theories, so many different schools of thought, so many different areas of study. Even with all the different aspects of the human mind and personal thought that can be studied, its a natural question to ask: “What is abnormal psychology?”

What Is Abnormal Psychology?
Simply put, abnormal psychology refers to the branch of psychology that specifically focuses on thoughts, emotions, and behavior that outside the societal norm, often to the extent where mental illness develops.

The actual practice of this definition on one area of study or another is actually difficult, in large part because it’s such a gray area. What’s normal? What’s abnormal? How do you draw that line? Even getting a clear definition can be a challenge as a result.

Some people might say that abnormal psychology refers to anything interesting – anything beyond the hub-bub of normal every day frustrations or conventional behaviour. This is a bit of a vague definition but it does give a general feeling or idea of how this particular branch or field works. In psychological terms abnormal refers to a psychiatric condition where the client symptoms are having a mild – severe impact on daily functioning – this then departs from what is understood as normal.

Multiple Types of Approaches
One truth about psychology is that there is often a strong examination of a problem from multiple angles, and that means that there isn’t just a one direction for treatment or for analysis. There are some psychologists who prefer one specific field or method, then there are those who choose a combination of them depending on each situation.

Just a sample of those common abnormal psych approaches include:
– Psychoanalytic approach
– Behavioral approach
– Medical approach
– Cognitive approach

None of these approaches are necessarily right or wrong and there’s nothing that makes one inherently better than another. These some of the options and different techniques that psychologists have in their tool box as a way to treat various psychological conditions that may be considered abnormal in nature.

Psychoanalysis starts from famous psychologist Sigmund Freud and strongly looks at the subconscious as a major source of concern that becomes apparent through dreams, day dreams, and other thoughts. By being able to interpret these you can interpret through shared symbolism what message is trying to get through.

The behavioral approach doesn’t look for an unseen subconscious that can be hard to find or interpret but it focuses specifically on what can be seen and observed. A psychologist who strongly believes in behavioral approach will pay attention to the actions that can be seen and observed, believing all the answers and treatment can be helped by this.

The medical approach is where medicine and biology meet with psychology and that underlying mental illness are due to physical or physiological causes. Understandably this is sometimes seen as medical or biological as opposed to another psychological reason.

Cognitive is a more modern branch of the original idea of psychoanalysis and focuses on the inner thoughts, dialogue, and thoughts to help explain what is contributing to the psychological disorder. Cognitive approaches often combine with behavioral treatments to offer additional options for treatment.

Types of Abnormal Psychological Disorders
One of the more interesting parts of abnormal psychology are the disorders. Once again this is an area where a lot of attention gets paid because of how many of the disorders reflect specific difficulties and varying symptoms.

There are many different categories of psychological orders, and for each of these there are subsets of disorders that fall under each one. So what does this list look like?

Some of the categories of psychological disorders include:
– Adjustment disorders
– Mood disorders
– Anxiety disorders
– A wide array of developmental disorders
– Personality disorders

Just about every type of abnormal psychological condition you can think of would full under one of these five categories.

What Does This All Mean?
From the initial definition to diagnosis and understanding of what the condition is, to how to treat it, there are many different approaches that take very different angles on the treatment process. The fact that many times more than one strategy can be combined in a treatment to account for the whole picture just reflects how its possible to find the right treatment for your particular condition.

In Conclusion
What is abnormal psychology? That’s a helpful question and as you can see by this article there is a very long and detailed answer for it. With so many different types of treatments, disorders, or approaches, there’s no doubt that one person’s treatment experience can be a completely different experience from someone else’s so its best to tailor your treatment to your own personal needs.

Which one method will be the best for you? That’s always hard to say as one of the truly interesting things about psychology has always been the fact that it differs from person to person even with several things in common. It’s important to ensure the treatment you choose feels right to you and that you can clearly see how it will help you with your difficulties, otherwise if its not working look for other alternatives because there are other treatments that work best.