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Abnormal psychology is being defined in a wide range over the years. Basically it is a behavior that in not within norm. A norm considers culture, gender, age, status and even religion. In this regard, it may be acceptable to one social group but not to others.

In prehistoric times, psychological abnormalities are considered as demonic. In the year before Christ, strange behavior is believed to be treated with some force, thus exorcism. In 1247, asylums were founded to give more humane treatment to psychologically disturbed patients and St. Mary of Bethlehem in London was one of most famous asylum at that time. In Renaissance time, historians believed that psychologically ill are called witches evidenced by the widespread Sales witch trials and heretics were burned alive. In 1766, Franz Anton Mesmer believed that magnetism communicates with outside force and body fluids, thus, practicing the first known hypnotism.

In 1700s, Benjamin Rush of US, father of American Psychiatry provided better ventilation, recreation and exercises to the sick. In 1880, Dorothea Dix was successful with her campaign to open 32 psychiatric hospitals were opened for the poor. Sigmund Freud developed a theory that unconscious motivation is being emphasized and used psychoanalysis as a treatment. (Snitcher E. and Harris K. History of Abnormal Psychology [On-line]).

In modern times, different approaches are being used for treatment. Psychiatrist believes that due hormonal imbalance and factors outside one’s personal being, a patient needs a sounding board to communicate their depressions and experiences These treatments would also expose patient’s hidden desires and feelings. Group and family therapies are also being used as an interactive approach to encourage the patient to open up and share their inner feelings with the others who may have similar experiences with them and to gauge consequence of their actions. Reports also show that after therapies, patients are more relaxed and felt better.

The depression score for a patient is lower compared to those people who are not getting proper treatments.  Treatment also varies. It has several approaches and methods that it is designed to address a particular problem efficiently. 1) Cognitive-behavioral best for fear and anxiety; 2) Humanistic approach best for self-esteem; and 3) psychodynamic best for school or work achievement (McLeod, S.A. (2007) Simply Psychology [On-line])

But full recovery from these abnormalities doesn’t depend with the psychologist alone, a patient must be open to discuss and not restrict some topics. The psychiatrist insights are vital, still, experiences, thoughts and insights of the patient must be brought up in the open so as to address the problem and proper medication and treatment can be provided. . Psychiatrist likewise, doesn’t judge the patient because of what he has done or said. Instead, during treatment, the psychiatrist creates friendly and non-judgmental atmosphere.

The first step in recovery is acknowledging that there is a problem at hand and needs to be addressed immediately. There is no disgrace in accepting psychiatric help but an underlying truth that people, at this time, are mature to understand disorders, so as the one experiencing it.


McLeod, S.A. (2007) Simply Psychology [On-line] UK: Available: http://www.simplypsychology.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/ Accessed: August 18, 2008

Snitcher E. and Harris K. History of Abnormal Psychology [On-line]: http://www3.niu.edu/acad/psych/Millis/History/mainsheet.htm/ Accessed: August 18, 2008

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