Historical Perspectives of Abnormal Psychology Essay

1162 Words Jan 30th, 2012 5 Pages
Historical Perspectives of Abnormal Psychology
Abnormal Psychology
PSY 410 January 30, 2012

Historical Perspectives of Abnormal Psychology
For many years, various forms of madness have been noted in every culture. Multitudes of theories, as well as some myths, have been developed to explain such conditions. Society’s opinion on what was considered abnormal was based on such phenomenon as paranormal forces, the anger of the gods, the influence of the moon, unstable personality, hereditary factors, and debauchery (Frude, 1998). History shows that theorists continue to develop a variety of theories to explain psychological disorders. These theories usually fall in one of three basic categories: mystical/supernatural (possession of
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This was believed to release the evil spirits that were causing the abnormal behavior (Damour & Hansell, 2005). Evidence showed that a large number of these patients even survived the procedure. Exorcism was also associated with animism, and was a ritual carried out by religious authorities. Exorcism was a means of casting out evil spirits believed to be the reason for an individual’s pathological behavior (Damour & Hansell, 2005).
In the Greek and Roman civilizations, a more scientific view of mental illness began to emerge. The basis of a systematic approach to psychological and physical disorders began with Hippocrates. He was a Greek philosopher who believed that all diseases, including mental disorders, were caused by an imbalance of four fluids, or humors, that were believed to circulate throughout the body (Damour & Hansell, 2005). Hippocrates theorized that an excess of black bile would cause one to become melancholic (or depressed), and an excess of yellow bile would cause one to become choleric (anxious or irritable). An excess of blood was believed to cause sanguine (moodiness) and excess phlegm was blamed for lethargy (indifference) (Damour & Hansell, 2005). Hippocrates believed that reestablishing balance among the four humors through dietary and behavioral changes would also stabilize behavior and health. Asclepiades disagreed with Hippocrates’ view on imbalances in body substances. He

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