Psychopathology discipline is understood as an in-depth study of problems related to mental health. But just like pathology is the study of the nature of the disease (including causes, development, and outcomes). Psychopathology is the study of the same concepts within the realm of mental health (or illness).

However, this study of mental illness can include a long list of elements: symptoms, behaviors, causes (genetics, biology, social, psychological), course, development, categorization, treatments, strategies, and more.

Signs of Psychopathology

Moreover, signs of psychopathology vary depending on the nature of the condition. Although, some of the signs that a person might be experiencing some form of psychopathology include:

  • Changes in eating habits
  • Changes in mood
  • Excessive worry, anxiety, or fear
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Irritability or anger
  • Low energy or feelings of fatigue
  • Sleep disruptions
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
  • Trouble coping with daily life
  • Withdrawal from activities and friends

Causes of Psychopathology

The most important goal of researchers in the field of psychopathology is to discover the causes (etiology) of each disorder. Psychologists can design effective treatments when they know the causes of the disorders. Knowing the cause can help with the ability to prevent the development of many disorders. Unfortunately, theories of psychological disorders are in their infancy, and there are many more questions than there are answers.

There is no general agreement among psychologists as to where to look for answers to the question of etiology. Consequently, some researchers stress the importance of biological causes. Other researchers focus on psychological processes in the development of disorders. While still others emphasize the crucial role of learning experiences in the development of behavior disorders. All of these approaches are important. And each supplies a piece of the puzzle of psychopathology, but all approaches have their limitations.

Psychologists who work within this model believe that abnormal behavior is learned through past experiences. The same principles that are used to explain the development of normal behavior are used to explain the development of abnormal behavior.

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