What does it mean to be “normal” or “abnormal,” and to what extent does your place in a given culture at a moment in history influence this?

Module 7 DQ 2
What does it mean to be “normal” or “abnormal,” and to what extent does your place in a given culture at a moment in history influence this?
Support your position.
Historical causes for abnormalities such as mental, physical or cultural were attributed to the supernatural, biological or psychological reasons (Zuern & Ashley, 2012). However, there various definitions for the terms normal and abnormal depending upon the benchmark used for measurement, the context in which the behavior is occurring as well as the cultural and societal influences acting on said behavior. For example, according to an article by authors Zuern & Ashley(2012), even Jesus himself was considered abnormal when he sat with the unclean and criminals as he was questioned by the Pharisees for his outrageous behaviors. Now, his behavior is seen by many Christians as the noble, correct way to treat others and is perfectly normal and acceptable in the Christian culture.
Furthermore, culture impacts the validity of diagnosing certain psychiatric disorders as demonstrated by the introductory chapter in the DSM-5 Cultural Issues Subgroup: Cultural Aspects of Psychiatric Diagnosis (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). The goal of this specification is to include worldwide cultural and contextual factors such as social and environmental peculiarities where individuals develop.
Moreover, cultural systems include such as experiences and interactions, social structures (access to resources, racisms, and marginalization), local material environment (access to resources such as health) and individual circumstances that can vary from time to time (Lewis-Fernandez & Aggarwal, 2013). Additionally, the person’s interpretation of the situation as well as the pathology of the behavior according to others in the local setting, perceived severity, and persistence of the disturbance and availability of support systems or interventions is part of the validity and usefulness of diagnosis.

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
Lewis-Fernandez, R. & Aggarwal, N.K. (2013). Culture and psychiatric diagnosis. Adv Psychosom Med., 33, 15–30. doi:10.1159/000348725.
Zuern, G. A. & Ashley, W. M. (2012). In quest of the meaning of normal and abnormal behavior
American International Journal of Contemporary Research, 2(9), 20-25.
Deborah Hill
2 posts
Re:Module 7 DQ 1
Consider the neurobiology of our most basic drives. How do substance-abuse disorders most notably interfere with these basic human drives and the areas of the brain that control them? Support your position. Substance abuse is the after effects of prolong chemical use. It masks or numbs problematic thoughts, and feelings that becomes too difficult to address. However, the natural processes of brain and body functions are inhibitors to neurological and biological drives. Recent research studies report that compulsive and repetitive use may result in tolerance to the effect of the drug and withdrawal symptoms when use is reduced or stopped (Qi, Tretter, & Voit, 2014).
Depending on the type of substance dependence, different neurotransmitters have been suggested as targets. Specifically, alcohol can increase inhibitory neurotransmission through gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), while simultaneously reducing excitatory neurotransmission through glutamate (Glu). Substances like amphetamine increase the dopamine level in the synaptic cleft, whereas nicotine mimics psychopharmacological effects of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and modulates dopamine release (Qi, Tretter, & Voit, 2014).
Alcohol affects several neurological pathways and powerful enough to cause significant changes in the brain. The effects of alcohol works like all the other drugs affects the central nervous system (CNS). The type of alcohol commonly consumed is ethanol with different alcoholic beverages containing different percentages of it. Ethanol acts to depress brain function (Banerjee, 2014).
The results of abuse translates into destruction of organ functioning such as, liver damage or (cirrhosis) caused by alcoholism. The effects of chemical intrusion destabilizes and impairs alert systems visually, mentally and physically, slowing down reactions and coordination (Banerjee, 2014). All of which impair sound reasoning, thinking, posture, walking and long-term negative effects on cell deficits. For example, depressed mood observed by alcoholics demonstrate rumination, and confusion often times leading to difficult or incoherent conversations.
Banerjee, N. (2014). Neurotransmitters in alcoholism: A review of neurobiological and genetic studies. Indian Journal Of Human Genetics , 20 (1), 20-31. doi:10.4103/0971-6866.132750
Qi, Z., Tretter, F., & Voit, E. O. (2014). A Heuristic Model of Alcohol Dependence. Plos ONE, 9(3), 1-8. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0092221




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