Abnormality or Individual Differences?

Topic: Psychology and Personality
Words: 274 Pages: 1

Abnormality, in the conventional sense, is a deviation from the norm. Usually, a person is called abnormal when he or she does things that are considered unusual or unacceptable by much of society. Increasingly, however, people have begun to notice that deviation from the norm is not always pathology. The definition of humanity in abnormality is acceptance of the individual’s individuality. Acceptance of individuality, in turn, means not attributing pathological roots to abnormality.

Perceiving human differences through a non-pathological prism means, first and foremost, showing an understanding for the differences. It means accepting that the norm is relative for each person and that a deviation from it for one may be within the norm for another (Cave, 2020). Thus, there is no pathological beginning in some deviations from the norm but a profound individualism.

The perception of human mental illness as differences rather than pathologies has its price and advantages. Advantages include the fact that people with mental illnesses do not feel like deviant individuals. They can be fully integrated into society because society does not reject them. The disadvantages of this approach are that people who require medical treatment may not seek help in a timely manner. Such people may not take their illnesses seriously, considering them simply individual features and neglecting them.

Abnormal behavior, which can be seen as a weakness in most cases, includes intense emotionality and irritability. Such people are easily hurt, and others may see their excessive resentfulness as abnormal behavior. However, such hypersensitivity also implies strong empathy, and such individuals can become good psychologists. Thus, being overly emotional and sensitive can turn from a disadvantage into an asset.


Cave, S. (2020). Classification and diagnosis of psychological abnormality. Routledge. Web.

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