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Before reading this chapter the term abnormal only reflected the one end of a spectrum ( Manic-depressant, etc.). Abnormal was defined by me as someone who “freaked” me out. Two real good examples of this would be Russell Crowe’s character in A Beautiful Mind, and the many characters in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It was the extreme bottom that triggered the word abnormal to me.
Webster’s dictionary defines abnormal as anything from the norm. Using this definition leaves a lot open for interpretation. This definition makes it appear that someone who is above the norm is than also considered as abnormal. But what is the norm? Theoretically, the average IQ for a person is roughly around 100. If someone was to have an IQ of 120 is that person then considered abnormal? Taking this one step farther, if that same person was placed in a school in which the average IQ is then 120, now could this person no longer be considered abnormal but part of the norm? Within ever group, a research is able to find a subgroup (the IQ example). Having a subgroup can then make someone who is out of the norm now part of another norm.
A more accurate definition for abnormal could be “a behavior that is seen as harmful or destructive to either themselves or others around them. With such a definition alcoholism, or any addiction for that matter can than be considered as abnormal. This version of abnormal indicates that a person is in need of a change, and a change for the better. Abnormalities maybe be above and below the norm but someone who is above the only change that can be made is one that is negative, and in psychology therapists are trying to change their patients for the better not the worse....
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