Psychological Abnormality of Psychological Abnormality There is consensus among psychologists and other stakeholders that the definition of psychological abnormality is never exact. The main reason for the variations in the definitions of psychological abnormality is the fact that no two individuals are exactly similar (Comer, 2005). However, there are certain terms that feature prominently in these definitions, referred to as the four Ds. These terms are deviance, distress, dysfunctional, and dangerous. Psychologists, for that reason, apply various criteria and definitions, relevant to a person’s behavior and the context in which a behavior occurs. While distress refers to different and extreme behaviors such as sexual deviance and severe depression, distress implies behaviors such as paranoia, which upset the individual in question (Comer, 2005). Dysfunctional on the other hand refers to the tendencies or conducts that interrupt a person’s everyday activities and functioning such as drug and substance abuse. Finally, dangerous refers to the damaging behaviors that often manifest in psychologically abnormal people. These four Ds are the characteristics that psychiatrists use in choosing treatments for psychological abnormalities.
Among the various interventions used to treat and control psychological abnormalities, psychotic medication is perhaps the most widely applied approach. Being the favorite among many psychiatrists and patients, numerous side effects, both negative and positive, have been identified with the use of antipsychotic drugs (Comer, 2005). Among the negative effects of antipsychotic medication are weight increase and the resultant diabetes, which could be life-threatening. Consequent to the weight gain and other related side effects, antipsychotics may increase the possibility of a heart attack. The other negative side effects of antipsychotics of significance are postural hypotension, cardio-toxicity, peripheral and central anti-cholinergic effects, sedation, sexual dysfunction, endocrine and hematological effects. Despite the negative impacts, researches have shown that antipsychotic medication is rather effective. For example, the American Psychiatric Association and the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, supported by research findings, have continually recommended antipsychotics for disorders such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The negative effects of antipsychotics can however be minimized by the optimization of clinical strategies such as dosage reduction, appropriate drug choice, and the careful explanation the nature of the side-effects of antipsychotics to patients and their caregivers (Comer, 2005). In fact, the preference for an antipsychotic should be determined by an evaluation of the potential effects of the various adverse effects on a patient.
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Comer, R. J. (2005). Fundamentals of abnormal psychology, fourth edition. New York, NY: Worth.