Medically reviewed by Dr. Rabeya Afroz Shomi
What is Abnormal Behavior?
Abnormal or dysfunctional behavior is defined as a behavioral pattern that is socially unacceptable, disturbing and distressing. It can also result in hampering an individual’s daily functioning. If a person’s behavior is way apart from what is expected of him/her, then the person’s behavior is said to be abnormal. The expected behavior depends on age, gender and the society one lives in. This behavior is generally termed as a psychological disorder, which could be defined as an ongoing pattern of thought, emotion, and behavior which is dysfunctional and which causes significant distress, along with being considered abnormal in that person's culture or society.
There are several theories and perspectives that have been established through thorough collection of data. These perspectives give a bird’s eye view to explain the causes of abnormal behavior in people. First is the medical perspective which focuses on biological and physiological factors that contribute as causes of abnormal behavior. The second is the psychodynamic perspective that evolved from the Freudian psychoanalytic theory, states that psychological disorders are the consequence of anxiety produced by unconscious and unresolved issues. Another is the behavioral perspective. It says that abnormal behavior is the byproduct of ineffective learning.
The fourth perspective is the cognitive perspective, according to which, people engage themselves in abnormal behavior because of thoughts that are based only upon their false assumptions about a certain aspect or topic. The last is the social‐cultural perspective that contends that abnormal behavior could be inherited from one’s family, the community and the culture at large. The treatment for abnormal behavior is carried out after proper diagnosis and exams. Every psychological disorder has a list of symptoms which is helpful in deciding whether or not a person has that disorder and should be treated for the same. Every approach for the treatment for psychological disorders and abnormal behavior has different set of mechanism by which they treat the patient.
These people troubled with disorders are treated by specialized professionals in the field of psychology. There are two kinds of medical doctors who deal with mental illnesses and disorders- first are psychiatrist, who specialized in the field of diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses; and the second are psychologists, who specialize in the study of human mind and behavior known as psychology.
How is the treatment done?
There are numerous treatments for mental illnesses and disorders. Hospitalization, medication and drugs are the most sought after methods of treatment when it comes to medical perspective. Several drugs are available for behavioral disorders, although the drug in question will be and should be prescribed by a medical professional, keeping in mind the needs of the individual. Ritalin and Dexedrine are medications for the treatment of ADHD and are known to help a child focus better and reduce impulsive behavior and motor restlessness. Ritalin falls in a group of medications that go by the name of long-acting stimulants. Other medications that fall in this group are Methylin ER, Methylin CD, Focalin, Concerta, and Metadate ER. Treatment of ADHD, an anxiety disorder or OCD is often carried out through antidepressants like Paxil, Anafranil, Tofranil, Luvox, Prozac, etc. These medications decrease impulsivity and obsessive-compulsive actions and reduce hyperactivity and feelings of depression. In some cases, shock therapy may also be opted for.
As far as psychodynamic perspective is concerned, the treatment is focused on the identification and the resolution of issues that a person might have or had. When it comes to behavioral perspective, the treatment is concerned with the reshaping of the distorted behavior of the person and teaching new and more appropriate and adaptive responses. On the other hand, the treatment for cognitive perspective deals with the process of therapy, that is helping the individual with the maladjustment and guiding them towards the development of new thought processes and values.
Who is eligible for the treatment?
Mental disorders can cause both emotional as well as physical difficulties for a person. If someone exhibits the symptoms of mental illness or disorder, they are eligible for the treatment of abnormal or dysfunctional behavior. They should be given proper medical and professional help. The emotional symptoms that indicate that a person might have a mental disorder could be getting easily annoyed or angry, blaming other and difficulty at dealing with frustration, questioning authority, and throwing tantrums. Physical symptoms are also commonly seen. These are fever and headache. As soon as these symptoms start to appear in a great degree and frequently, a visit to the psychiatrist or psychologist should be made.
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
Abnormal behavior is often confused with unusual behavior, but it is important to note that both of them are way different from each other. Behavior that may seem uncommon is not necessarily an indicator of a mental or psychological disorder. It may also be just how the person is- living differently that the society in which he/she lives in. That should not be mistaken with mental disorder and therefore, such people are not eligible for the treatment of any mental illness.
Are there any Side Effects?
The medicines commonly used for the treatment of mental illnesses and disorders come with a plethora of side effects. These drugs are notorious for an increase in suicidal thoughts and worsen the condition of people who suffer from seizures. Insomnia, reduction in appetite, frequent tremors are some other side effects of these drugs. Abnormal rhythm of the heartbeat is often the case with people who prescribed these drugs, along with severe feelings of depression. It is also possible for patients to get addicted with the frequent use of these drugs, resulting in dependency and abuse of these drugs, which in turn, requires medical attention. These medicines can also cause people with depression and suicidal tendency to attempt to overdose. Children are more susceptible to overdose than adults.
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
The post-treatment guidelines of abnormal behavior include keeping a check on the dosage and intake of medication and drugs provide and consult a doctor if any worrisome symptoms begin to appear. In case of people opting for therapy, regular visits to the psychologist must be made so that the treatment if left off in the mid and remains incomplete and untreated.
How long does it take to recover?
The treatment of abnormal behavior resulting from mental illnesses and disorders depends on the severity of the disorder and the coping potential of the patient. The treatment could take a few months for some people. For others, it could go on for a lifetime. There is no defined time period that patients suffering from mental disorders take to recover and so, it’s highly improbable to put even a rough time frame on the treatment.
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
The results of the treatment of mental illnesses are not permanent. It is fitting to say that even though a person may stop visiting the professional and get off the drugs, the illnesses could reoccur and cause complications and worrisome effects.
What are the alternatives to the treatment?
There are alternatives that could be opted for mental disorders such as chronic anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, etc. Taking long walks and listening to calm and composed music are known decrease stress and anxiety levels. The process of meditation is also known to be of immense benefit. Whatever type of mental illness it might be, the treatment of it should be taken as seriously as the treatment of any other physical ailment. Mental health should be prioritized for a healthy and happy life.
Relative risk: High
Side Effects: Low
Time for Recovery: High
Price Range: Tk. 1500 to Tk. 2000