Abnormal psychology is a branch of psychology dealing with all the things which are considered abnormal in human behavior and society in general. Thus, this branch deals with many mental and behavioral illnesses like schizophrenia, personality issues and antisocial behavior. Additionally, many things which are not fully explained yet, and they have something to do with human psychology, often fall into the research circle of abnormal psychology. Therefore, hypnosis, dreams, altered mental states and other phenomena of this type all belong here and people learning and practicing abnormal psychology try to solve these problems and help people suffering from them.
The History of Abnormal
An interesting thing about this branch of science is that it changes along with the society. For example, during the past, homosexual behavior was considered abnormal and was treated by psychology as such. However, nowadays, this is no longer considered to be something unaccepted or “abnormal”. Thus, this has been excluded from the field of work, while many other sexual and gender issues have taken its place.
The Field of Abnormal Psychology
Basically, any mood, anxiety or personality disorders along with schizophrenia, belong to the list of things abnormal psychology deals with. Depression and bipolar disorder, panic and compulsive disorders as well as antisocial or borderline disorders, all belong to this field of research too.
Since many of these problems or “abnormalities” stem from a patient's relationships with other people, and various social experiences, abnormal psychology might be considered close to sociology. However, it mainly has something to do with pathological conditions which are not considered to be typical nor normal in general.
Today, abnormal psychology does not carry this name. Rather, it is referred to as psychopathology, dealing with diseases which are commonly seen in psychiatry.
Practitioners of this type of psychology base their knowledge on two paradigms – the psychological and biological ones. The former one focuses on humanistic, cognitive and behavioral causes and effects of psychopathology while the latter relies on physical factors like genetics and neurochemistry.
Thus, practitioners of abnormal psychology may often disagree with other doctors like physicians or regular psychologists, when it comes to certain diseases, illnesses or their causes and manifestations, having a broader view regarding the problem.
Yet, this branch of medicine is very valuable due to the fact that it opens a new perspective towards understanding many psychological and psychiatric conditions, offering numerous innovative and effective approaches towards treatment.