Abnormal Psychology and Therapy
Abnormal behavior can be defined as behavior which is unusual, socially unacceptable, dangerous, or whether a person is in a significant amount of personal distress. There are many different criteria which have been developed in today's societies which will determine what is considered normal or abnormal behavior. However, these criteria vary across different societies and cultures. Therefore, one must consider the cultural and social aspects of the behavior before one can define any behavior as abnormal. Unusual behavior can be considered behavior which is uncommon in a culture, for example, hallucinations, panic attacks or hearing voices in western cultures is considered unusual and so a person whom experiences one or more of these symptoms could be considered abnormal. However, if the person is from an American Indian background, then to hear voices or have other hallucinations is perfectly acceptable and the person might even be given tribal status.
One can also define behavior as abnormal when behavior is socially unacceptable. Every society has a set of 'social norms', standards which have been developed through religious beliefs and cultural practices. If a person violates these social norms, then he or she is likely to exhibit behavior which can be obtrusive and offensive to the average person in a society.
Personal distress is a benchmark of abnormal behavior. There is importance in considering several factors about the situation and circumstances contributing to the personal distress, as some situations will contribute to more grief being suffered than others. The severity of the personal distress is also a factor of consideration. Is the emotional reaction so severe that it has affected normal day-to-day activities becoming debilitating or causing the person to be of harm to herself or others? If yes, the behavior is abnormal.
One may also define behavior which is dangerous to be abnormal. For example, exhibiting...