Abnormal Behaviour Diagnosis


Abnormal behaviour is a very challenging psychopathological aspect that is often stigmatized in the human community. This problem is often considered not just as the problem of a certain person, but as the crux of the whole society. These issues and attributes have limited the treatment and understanding of abnormal behaviour. The first step to understand the cause of abnormal behaviour is diagnosis. This is because after the diagnosis a proper treatment can be defined. It is important to note that abnormal behaviour disrupts the ability of people to act in an acceptable way.  It is not only a challenging disorder but also a very complex deviation. Many questions still linger considering the factors that alleviate or provoke abnormal behaviour disorder. However, a lot of progress has been made in the medical fraternity to treat and comprehend the abnormal behaviour disorder. In this way, diagnosis and treatment of the abnormal behaviour can be effective. It is vital to note that abnormal behaviour psychology focuses on cognitive, emotional and behavioural problems.


Abnormal psychology is a study that focuses on abnormal behaviour patterns which precipitate into a mental disorder. In this way, it tries to apprehend and control this behaviour in an attempt to identify the causes and apply different theories from the psychological aspect or field to deal with the problem. This paper seeks to discuss the abnormal psychology science in relation to maladaptive and adoptive behaviours and analyze the clinical practice that treats and understands abnormal behaviour disorders.


ICD 10 is the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and health related problems. Figure 10 simply means that the classifications are from the 10th revision. On the other hand, DMS IV refers to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders. IV simply means that the article is a fourth edition. These systems focus on the social circumstances, abnormal findings, complains, external sources of disorders and their symptoms.

It is important to note that DMS uses a standard procedure or common language to classify and understand mental or abnormal disorders. It also uses a multi-axial system. DSM has not only attracted a lot of criticism but has also attracted a lot of controversy at the same time. Many people argue that the manual represents the unscientific opinions. This has not only questioned the reliability but also the validity of the categorized diagnostic system. However, this manual is still used to help communicate and determine the patient’s diagnosis. This manual is used to diagnose anxiety, depression and self-harm (Hersen 2001).  Self-harm is usually connected to or associated with depression. ICD 10, on the other hand, uses a procedure coding system to diagnose abnormal disorder. This code helps to provide more information and findings about the disorder. The codes can also provide useful information about the diagnosis in order to arrive at positive symptoms.

Difficulties that Arise from the Use of DSM IV & ICD 10

Many complications and difficulties arise from the use of IDC and DMS. Some of the difficulties include; DMS focuses and concentrates on observable or supposed causes which are not very specific. Similarly, IDC was not initially intended as a diagnostic tool. In this case, the findings or diagnosis cannot be totally accurate. DMS and ICD can only focus or diagnose 11 to 16 mental orders. This means that these manuals are limited to 11 to 16 types of mental disorders. Both systems are not completely reliable and the descriptive validity is quite low because of the comorbidity prevalence (Sue & Wing 2012). Generalized anxiety disorder has the following symptoms - irrational worry, uncontrollable worry and excessive worry. This disorder does not only interfere the patient’s common routine but also attracts other physical symptoms such as muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, fidgeting and restlessness among many others. This condition can be diagnosed using DMS and ICD. However, the diagnosis cannot be fully accurate. This is because these systems concentrate on the supposed or observable causes or worry. Eating disorders can also be diagnosed using ICD system, which defines anorexia nervosa disorder. ICD 10 defines the diagnosis of the disorder using observable causes such as irresistible food cravings, patient’s strategies to counteract control and counteract fattening and the patient’s acute weight threshold definition.

Erving Goffman focuses on the exploration of individual identity, environmental impacts and group relations. He suggests that character development is depicted by extraordinary circumstances. He also asserts that usually patients are socialized into their patient roles. This is because the patient develops an identity and behaviour employed by the presentation or the treatment mode. In Goffman’s view, mental illness does not show the individual’s characteristics. In this way, he established that there is no great essence in self, but there exists an ongoing and essential social construction.

Medical Model in Relation to Health and Illness

Health is a complete state of social well-being, social and physical fitness and not necessary the absence of infirmities and disease. Illness, on the other hand, is a subjective disease experience. This does not mean that an individual has a specific disease but that the individual is simply feeling a little out of the weather or ill. Medical model is a big picture that views illnesses and health by nurses, doctors and other health officials. Medical experts diagnose and identify the illness or disease. In this case, the medical model asserts that after the illness or disease has been identified, it can be then cured or treated (Goffman 1994).  Social model is an alternative medical model that entails many different health strategies. In this case, the medical model focuses on finding the case of the illness and treats the illness in order to ensure that the patient goes back to his/her healthy state. The medical model argues that every healthcare process or system should be able to cure the illness presented by the patients. This model also assumes that medical experts are responsible for identifying and making the diagnosis of illnesses and diseases. Doctor based illness is a medial model which believes that healthcare officials or experts have an interest in making sure that there are plenty of illnesses. This is because the medical industry develops diseases and later claims that they have found or discovered the cure to these illnesses. Clinical iatrogenic creates more illnesses after treatment. It is important to note that complications after surgery, drug effects and other aftertreatment consequences benefit the medical professionals because more medical treatment and research is required. However, critics suggest that this is a positive process in the medical field (Thomas and Hersen 2009).

It is important to note that medical knowledge has not only developed over time but has also become increasingly specialized. Medical model focuses on the whole person. Therefore, the medical model entails a mind and body dualism, mechanical metaphor concept, technology imperatives and biomedicines. This simply means that professional, beneficial contributions are an overemphasis tendency in the curative element of the medical model.

Limitations of the Medical Model

The medical model has failed in many aspects.  This is because the medical model has not accurately described the actual psychotherapy occurrence. There exist questionable aspects with the health insurance industry, medical industry and the science industry. Psychotherapy has become an interpersonal system and the model has failed in many ways to guide, support and treat certain illnesses. In regards to mental health, medical model does not only represent the issues that incorporate mental health but also the biological and scientific aspects of medicine. In many instances, this model conflicts with many other life or personal aspirations. In respect to taking care of patients, the medical model may be successful considering one patient and fail in treating another one. This is because similar symptoms are not caused by the same disease or illness. In this case every patient is unique, and the professionals should treat each patient personally and should not compare the symptoms.

The medical model splits the patient’s mind from body. This is because it focuses on aberrant approaches rather than focusing on the common symptoms. This simply means that the medical model is an unconventional way to solve the underlying medical and clinical problems at the same.

Evaluation of the medical Model Limitations

Medical model limitations do not assume that sick individuals do not need treatment. On the other hand, medical model is a persuasive instrument which interprets behaviour and understands reality. It attempts to expand the boundaries and incorporate previously interpreted models. Medical model improves the quality of human life in many ways. This is because it has a high degree of medical solutions and is intended to cure the patients. This model assumes that managing diseases and curing illness is based on identifying the illness, controlling or altering its course and comprehending it. Medical model advocates for the patients’ rights and focuses on resources and interventions to cure and apprehend the issue at the same (Thomas & Hersen 2009).

Thomas Szasz doubted the assumptions used in treating mental illness. His views are based on the principals applied in special treatment of mental disorders. He argued that mental sickness may as well be called possession by the devil. He focuses on maintenance and the power of language. He argues that mental disorders are simply expressions which are shocking, disturbing and have a pattern of behaviour. Rosenthall, on the other hand, argues that many professionals risk admitting patients and are playing safe instead of risking the society or others’ lives. Rosenthall‘s assumptions on the stickiness labels suggest that pseudo–patients’ medical records determine how people’s behaviour and records are viewed. This simply means that the treatment was not influenced by the diagnosis in any way, but the diagnosis was influenced by the symptoms (Rosenthall 1970). Laing assumptions of contribution suggest that conversational contributions are important in reinventing identities. This assumption suggests that many repeated observations on a particular subject should be independent.


Abnormal behaviour is considered as a deviant one by medical culture and contributes to maladaptiveness in any individual. This simply means that it is rare and unusual and leads to psychological distress. Deviant in this case means some behaviour that falls out of acceptable boundaries pf a particular culture. Abnormal behaviour influences experiences, personal history, religion and race. In this way, such behaviour is easy to determine or notice.


Classification systems are not very reliable while medical model treats disorders in almost the same way. These two medical systems are linked with the extent of possibilities and neutral language used in booth systems. One of the assumptions is that classification systems focus on the orientations of medical models. Perspectives on abnormal behaviour are based on medical perspective, psychodynamic perspective, behavioural perspective, cognitive and social culture perspective.

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