Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders: A Controversial History

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders: A Controversial History

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Crazy is a word with a thousand and one connotations meaning everything from being wildly enthusiastic, to displaying wild or aggressive behaviour. Psychologists have come to the understanding that the pop culture word crazy is synonymous with abnormal behaviour. Abnormal behaviour is difficult to define as the question it faces is who has the authority to differentiate between what is normal and what is abnormal. There are many questions which aid psychologists to differentiate between normal and abnormal, but the following four are the most commonly agreed upon (Rieger, 2011):
1. Is the behaviour statistically rare? Is the characteristic rarely found in society?
2. Does the behaviour violate the norm? Is it socially unacceptable?
3. Does the behaviour cause distress to the person?
4. Does the behaviour interfere with the person's ability to meet the requirements of everyday life?
It must be noted that the questions contain qualifying words for whether or not there Is a universality to the abnormality across cultures; words such as ‘society’ and ‘everyday life’. These key words enforce the Idea that abnormality is not universal across cultures, what is abnormal in one culture is not necessarily abnormal in another. Depending on the school of thought, different psychologists believe the displaying of abnormal behaviour lends itself to suggest there is an underlying cause for the behaviour and in some cases the displaying of abnormal behaviour can be the signs of mental disorder. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders has been the go to manual for all mental health professionals for near as makes no difference 50 years as it has always been developed by the professionals, the American Psychiatric Association (...


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