Good Models Of Abnormality Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Psychology, Model, Behavior, Disorders, Health, Biology, Brain, Medicine

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2021/01/03

The models of abnormality refer to the laid down hypotheses that tend to evaluate the nature of psychological abnormalities. There are four main models that explain psychological abnormality and these is biological model, the cognitive model, a behavioral model and psychodynamic model (Nevid, 2012).The biological model is one of the oldest models that is based on the presumption that mental illness is similar to any other physical illness. From this assumption the mental ailment can be diagnosed and managed in the same way other diseases. This model holds that abnormal behavior is caused by the malfunctioning of the brain and also relying on the genetic arrangement of the individual. The human brain is made up of millions of nerve cells that receive nervous impulses from millions of other nerves that are located in all parts of the body and hence this leads to coordination of the whole body.
The cerebrum controls our thought process and personality, and it hence has the greatest role in abnormal behavior. Other parts of the brain produce chemicals which when imbalanced then mental disorders may result. The nerves that transmit impulses from the body to the brain are linked to synapses and neurotransmitter substances are involved in the transmission of impulses across the synapses. Imbalances in the production of these neurotransmitter substances have been associated with many mental disorders and management involves the use of medication that either blocks or enhances the activity of the neurotransmitter substance depending on the disorder. The probability of developing mental abnormalities according to the biological model have been shown to be linked to our genetic makeup and interaction between our genes and various aspects of our environment (Lawrence and Nelson, 1973)
A person’s personality is a process that is influenced by three components that are the id, ego, and the superego. The id is the component that seeks immediate gratification; ego is largely influenced by a broader view of the reality, and the superego is influenced by the ego idea and the conscience thought. A person's personality is also stipulated to develop through five stages which are the oral followed by anal then phallic, latency and genital in that order. If a person becomes fixated at any stage of this cycle, then they are prone to develop emotional disorders that manifest themselves as mental disorders (Doyle-Portillo and Pastorino, 2011).Anxiety can result due to emotional disturbances and in dealing with the anxiety a person develops defense mechanisms to protect themselves from anxiety and these coping mechanisms include rationalization, regression, projection among other coping mechanisms. Psychodynamic models hold that abnormal behavior in a person has their cause in early childhood experiences and if unpleasant then anxiety results due to the unconscious conflicts that are seen as a threat by the person. Abnormal behaviors are symptoms of dealing with these threats.
The behavioral model sees most of our behaviors as learned through conditioned reflex action (Nevid, 2012).Much of the behavior that we learn have an adaptive advantage and is essential for our survival. However, it is also possible to learn behaviors that are abnormal especially if they are not discouraged early by use of negative reinforcement. Getting rid of this maladaptive behavior lies in unlearning of these behaviors. The final model is the cognitive model that holds that our mental processes greatly affect our behavior. Humans usually interpret the environment before reacting to it. When abnormal behavior occurs, then the most likely cause is distorted interpretation and cognition of one’s environment. Distortion in one’s cognitive and thinking process leads to emotional processes. The distortions are manifested in the form of overgeneralizations, illogical error, irrational beliefs and negative thoughts (Lawrence and Nelson, 1973).

The model that best describes abnormal behavior is the psychoanalytic model. It has the following as its strong points:

Many people that have presented with psychological disturbances do have a history of childhood traumas and the theory holds that psychological abnormalities arise from childhood experiences.
The therapists that use psychodynamic model mainly use observation method to look at behaviors that arise from day to day life activities such as defense mechanisms.

The model that is based on Freudian theory provides a holistic description of human personality.

Freud offered a treatment method for psychological abnormalities and this gives an optimistic view of psychological stress, showing that they are treatable.

The weaknesses that have linked to the psychoanalytic model include:

· The theory tends to focus on the patients past conflicts while ignoring current problems that may be the cause of the abnormal behavior. Secondly, the psychoanalytic models trace the conflicts within a person to a person’s childhood and the blame is laid on the parents, and this makes the patient feel less responsible for their psychological health. Thirdly, there is an overemphasis on internal conflicts and instincts and less emphasis on the situations and context that the patient has found (Doyle-Portillo and Pastorino, 2011).
The model that does not quite explain many cases of psychological abnormality is the biological model. However, it has the following strengths; the model gets backing from well-established science such as medicine. Research has shown that genetic and biochemical factors have been linked to some mental illness such as schizophrenia. Mental illness has been shown to have a physical cause, and this lifts the blame for the abnormality from the patient. On the other hand the glaring weaknesses of the model are that it cannot be used to explain how success can arise from treating mental illnesses by purely using psychological treatment method.
Research has shown that in most of the mental illnesses there is no identifiable physical cause. For instance, a cause may be identified as physical when it is not clear to show the cause and effect association between the illnesses. The model does not take into account the cultural and social factors that research by other psychologists have shown that they affect abnormal behavior to a great extent (Lawrence and Nelson, 1973).
The biological model is based on physical factors such as biochemical imbalances and genetic factors that affect mental processes and disconnect in the nervous transmission process can lead to abnormal behavior. Psychodynamic model, on the other hand, sees the cause of abnormal behavior as psychological. Abnormal behavior in adult life is linked to conflicts that a person was exposed to in their early stages of life (Advanced Abnormal Psychology, 2001). Secondly, the biological model does not link abnormal behavior to any actions that a person can cause.
Ultimately, Psychodynamic theory links abnormal behavior to the type of parenting that a person received and the experiences at tender age. Also, another difference is that biological model recommends use of medication to regulate the concentration neuro-chemicals to manage abnormal psychological behavior. Psychodynamic model sees the solution to the management of the psychological abnormality to trying to uncover the conflicts that a person experienced in childhood and teaching them to acquire more practical coping mechanism by use of counseling method.


Advanced Abnormal Psychology. (2001). Boston, MA: Springer US.
Doyle-Portillo, S., & Pastorino, E. (2011). What is psychology?. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth.
Lawrence, P. S., & Nelson, R. O. (1973). Readings in abnormal psychology. New York: MSS Information Corp.
Nevid, J. S. (2012). Essentials of psychology: Concepts and applications. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

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