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Concepts of Abnormality and Psychological Disorders

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Mental health professionals have attempted to understand psychological disorders using different approaches through the ages. Today, we have sophisticated facilities and hospitals dedicated to the treatment of the mentally ill. While studying the history of psychological disorders it is interesting to note that some practices from ancient times are still in use. Take the case of Lakshmi and her daughter, Maya. Maya exhibits abnormal behaviours and Lakshmi believes that this is because of evil spirits that have possessed her. She has been taking her daughter to a self-proclaimed healer, who uses counter-magic and prayer to cure her. Stigma and lack of awareness prevents Lakshmi from using the modern facilities and hospitals that provide quality mental health care.

On the other hand, when young Rita reported seeing people and hearing voices, mental health professionals at a modern facility were able to understand her hallucinations using a convergence of three approaches. Psychologists use official manuals like the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – 5 th Edition (DSM-5) and International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) to indicate presence or absence of disorders. Today there is increased compassion for people who suffer from disorders and a lot of emphasis is placed on providing community care.

Which approach do you think would best explain Rita’s treatment? How do you think DSM-5 and ICD-10 help mental health professionals in indicating the presence or absence of disorders?

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