What is Abnormal Behavior?

Abnormal Behavior- When a person behaves in a way which is different from the "norm", it is usually reffered to as abnormal. For example, if a student comes to school wearing a snow suit in the middle of August, it would be considered a little weird or abnormal. Abnormal behavior can result when certain chemicals in our bodies are out of balance. If someone has excess levels of dopamine in their body, it is possible that this could result in some abnormalities. Certain theories and ideas exist to help explain the causes of abnormal behavior. Check out the different theories below!!

  • Family and Interactions- Living in a pathogenic (disfunctional) family may contribute.
  • Double-bind theory- Children who grow up in an atmosphere with mixed messages can perceive the world with more confusion as adults.
  • Diathesis-stress-hypothesis- This theory explains that a person may have inherited a mental disorder (such as schizophrenia) and it was eventually set off by stressors, triggoring the disorder.

What is a Mood Disorder?

A mood disorder is characterized as a disturbance in the way a person feels or experiences emotions. The two most common mood disorders are Depression and Bipolar Disorder. Depression is associated with a lowering of mood (feeling blue), having a loss of interest for normal activities, and an inablilty to experience pleasure. Bipolar Disorder (also known as Manic Depression) is when a person goes through alterations of being extremely depressed and extremely happy in a given amount of time.presenting-the-brain.jpg

How are Depression and Bipolar Disorder similar?

1. Both disorders are characterized by having electical and chemical imbalances in the brain.
2. Both disorders can leave a person feeling extremely unhappy, resulting in an inability to function normally.
3. Lowering of the mood, lack of interest in activities, and inability to experience pleasure are common between both disorders.

How are Depression and Bipolar Disorder different?
1. Depression leaves a person feeling sad, tired, and incapable of doing normal tasks.
2. People with Bipolar Disorder go through phases of feeling invincible and capable of doing anything.
3. Bipolar Disorder causes extreme happiness which eventually leads to feeling sad or blue.

Everyone feels a little blue from time to time but it is abnormal to feel this way all of the time. If depression or anxiety is interfering with your life, you can contact Bridges to Recovery by calling 1-877-7BRIDGE or visit their website here.

Dissociative Disorders

Involves a disturbance in a conscious experience such as a loss of identity or memory. A person literally dissociates himself from a situation or experience too traumatic to integrate with his conscious self. Dissociative disorders come in many forms, the most famous of which is multiple personality disorder. All dissociative disorders are very rare.

"Bubble Family"
There are three basic forms of dissociative disorders. They are psychogenic amnesia, psychogenic fugue, and multiple personalities.

Psychogenic Amnesia is an escape from problems. A person may forget who they are, where they live and work, and who their family is. It is not to be confused with other losses of memory from organic brain damage, normal forgetting, or drug abuse.

Psychogenic Fugue is amnesia with a flight to a different environment to escape from unbearable conflict or anxiety. It could last for days, months, or decades. With Psychogenic Fugue disorder, a person could create a new life in a different setting. This disorder is known as traveling amnesia.

Multiple Personalities are when a person seems to have more than one distinct identity. Some psychologists believe this "splitting" of the personality is to escape from a part of himself or herself that he or she fears. The “secret self” emerges in the form of a separate personality. This disorder is extremely rare.

Since dissociative disorders seem to be triggered as a response to trauma or abuse, treatment for individuals with such a disorder may use psychotherapy, although a combination of psychopharmacological and psychosocial treatments are often used. Many of the symptoms of dissociative disorders occur with other disorders, such as anxiety and depression, and can be controlled by the same drugs used to treat those disorders. A person in treatment for a dissociative disorder might benefit from anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication.

Works Cited

Purse, Marcia. "What is Bipolar Disorder?" About.Com. 31 May 2007. 15 Jan. 2008 <http://bipolar.about.com/cs/bpbasics/a/0210_whatisbp.htm>.

Maser, Jack D., ed. "Dissociative Disorders." NAMI. June 2000. National Institute of Mental Health, Rockville, MD. 15 Jan. 2008 <http://www.nami.org/Content/ContentGroups/Helpline1/Dissociative_Disorders.htm>.

"Depression." National Institute of Mental Health. 10 Jan. 2008. 16 Jan. 2008 <http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/complete-publication.shtml>.

"Mood Disorders." Health a to Z. 8 Aug. 2006. 16 Jan. 2008 <http://www.healthatoz.com/healthatoz/Atoz/common/standard/transform.jsp?requestURI=/healthatoz/Atoz/ency/mood_disorders.jsp>.

Think Quest Team. "Defining Abnormal Behavior." Think Quest. 16 Jan. 2008 <http://library.thinkquest.org/26618/en-4.1.1=defining%20abnormal%20behavior.htm>.