Abnormal psychology is a very important branch of psychology that is concerned with behaviour usually considered abnormal, along with psychological phenomena that doctors or experts have not been able to comprehensively explain. These would include dreams, altered mental states as well as hypnosis. According to Coriat, AP is one of the late developments of scientific medicine. Coriat says that it is the work of small groups of investors in the past decade that began with a study of phenomena of hypnosis (2008). According to Mangal, there has to be very clear understanding that the study of abnormal cannot be undertaken until there is a decision about normalcy and the abnormality or what behaviour and activities makes an individual normal or abnormal. The study should then cast light on the concepts of normality and abnormality. Secondly, all human behaviour has its roots in motives and basic needs hence the denial of basic needs and blocking of the motives could likely result to frustrations, conflicts and stresses these can always end up in maladaptive behaviour or what Mangal terms as maladjustment (2008). It s therefore very important to study and clearly understand motives, basic needs, adjustments, frustrations, conflicts and stresses that could lead to one behaving abnormally or unusually normal for that matter.
According to Mangal, in order to contribute to the preventive purposes, abnormal psychology should therefore be capable of describing and explaining the causes of abnormal behaviour. It implies that at the end of a thorough investigation, factors generating maladaptive behaviour, symptoms and syndromes of various behavioural disorders must be identified.
Case of Elvis Presley
According to Dr. Noguchi, Elvis was at his death found with a combination of eight different prescription drugs in his body but apparently there was no trace of any illegal drug such as heroin, cocaine or hashish that Noguchi says is often found in overdose cases. According to the coroner, Elvis died accidentally since he simply did not realize the effect of the drugs combined in his body. A brief breakdown of the drugs found in his body include: Antihistamine, codeine (for pain), Demerol (is narcotic and used as a sedative), tranquilizers (includes valium) and a sedative-hypnotic prescription for insomnia. In happens that no one prescription was at toxic levels that implies that all the medication were found at or within therapeutic range and individually did not constitute an overdose. The only question we must answer is that what led him to use these drugs at very non-toxic level which leads to a probably answer that he might as well have known how to control the usage.
Addiction when in its proper definition is the over attachment to an artificial source of gratification or mood modifier of sorts that comes to dominate a person’s life (Schaler, 2004). Many people would insist that Elvis was not a drug addict may be simply because President Nixon appointed him a special drug enforcement agent. The use of antidepressants is the epitome of this form of prescription addiction. At the death of Presley, the autopsy report revealed that the cause of death was “severely irregular heartbeat” that is just another name for a form of heart attack, according to Schaler. It is very much noted and precise according to Schaler that the list of drugs later found to have been used by Presley were therapeutic in nature and this implies that he turned to prescription pain killers early in his career with an increased use of the same over the years. Addiction is rather a direct attachment of an individual’s needs in a specific situation with the characteristics of the experience derived from an involvement. Schaler creates s list of general rules of addiction in relation to pharmaceuticals: Firstly, people become directly addicted to the experiential effects of a given drug, secondly, the more successful and direct one has the experience the more the addictive a substance will result, thirdly pain and mood elevation are recognized and accepted as primary goals of addiction and lastly, the economics of the drug industry also contribute to the never-ending escalation of the prescription addiction (2004).
Jonawiak states that Presley often carried his drugs along with him including prescription manuals that consisted of the chemical makeup of the drugs, recommended dosage and even the side effects. The combination of drugs did things that the drugs individually did not do. This implies that Presley was suffering from a real problem that can be attributed to pain, insomnia, and tendency to obesity since he had suffered also from eating disorder (1999). Presley is said to have had no doctors, lawyers or professionals in his family and belonged to a group of people with notoriously low self-esteem, according to Chadwick (1998). It is then no wonder Presley had to believe in the Southerner syndrome having experienced defeat, as the Civil War, pessimism, and depression, economic and psychological inferiority complex. These are explained to have certainly been special factors that must have contributed towards the burdens of famous Presley.
In conclusion, the traits and characteristics of Presley’s behaviour only leave room for certain very radical but important points to note that he suffered a prescription addiction, bipolar disorder and depression. This has been arrived at from the analysis of the type of drug used in large and frequent doses and also some of the behavioural activities.