Abnormal psychology is the branch of psychology that deals with a broad range of deviations from normal behavior. Those involved in this branch of psychology deal with psychopathology and abnormal behavior. All abnormal psychology disorders can be categorized under five main heads.
1. Adjustment disorders
These are mental disorders which are traced back to a source of stress which causes the patient to react in an abnormal emotional manner. Amongst these abnormal psychology disorders the symptoms of abnormal behavior will surface within three months of coming in contact with the source of stress.
The reaction of the patient is categorized with a level of distress which is seen as excessive by a normal person.It also makes the patient unable to function in his regular social environment such as his office or school or any other workplace.
2. Anxiety disorders
This is root of the fears that are unreasonable and excess. These abnormal psychology disorders are characterized by deep social anxiety.
The various phobias of ordinary things like cats, spiders, heights and such are also anxiety disorders. The post traumatic stress disorder can occur if the patient has faced some tragedy. The separation anxiety can be felt by the child when taken away from his parents during school hours.
3. Cognitive disorders
This set of abnormal psychology disorders deals with cognitive disabilities related to memory, perception and problem solving skills. The ability of a person to function normally gets impaired in case he is suffering from these mental diseases. The perception of the patient gets skewed and the decision making gets impaired. He is unable to utilize his intelligence to make correct judgments. Common cognitive disorders include Alzheimer’s disease, delirium, dementia and amnesia.
4. Developmental disorders
As the name suggests these abnormal psychology disorders are from the development period of the patient. Many of them are called childhood disorders. They may get diagnosed as early as infancy, or may take some time to surface and be seen clearly in childhood or adolescence.
Some common developmental disorders can be related to learning disabilities, such as dyslexia in reading, dyscalculia in math or dysgraphia in writing abilities. Another common mental retardation disorder is autism. There are also other conduct related disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder also called ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder. Dealing with such children requires special handling skills.
5. Mood disorders
Mood swings of an extreme nature are also characterized as abnormal psychology disorders. Bipolar disorder which is also called manic depression may be caused due to a combination of biological and psychological factors. Major depressive disorder is another disease where the patient looses interest in daily activities or pleasurable events.
It is important to understand that depression caused by an addiction such as drugs, alcohol or any other stimulant is not a mental mood disorder. Also the mood swings and depression must seriously impair the ability of the person to work to be counted as a mental disorder.