Examples of Abnormal Psychology

Abnormal Psychology is a separate branch of Psychology that deals with the people who are “abnormal” or “atypical” compared to the members of a given society.


Before understanding the term “Abnormal Psychology,” let’s first look at the terms “Abnormality” and “Normal or ideal mental health.” Below are the characteristics which are considered essential for mental health and serve as a measurement of mental health:

  • Positivity for self
  • Capability to grow
  • Independence and autonomy
  • Correct perception of reality
  • Positive relations and friends

An individual who is able to satisfy most of the above characteristics is considered a healthier one. Wherein, abnormal stage or abnormality is when people deviate from the above ideal mental health. Now, let’s understand what Abnormal Psychology is all about. It is a separate branch of psychology that includes the study of unusual behavior, thought, and emotion. This includes the study of behaviors in a clinical context. So, in simple words, the study of abnormal behaviors, feelings, and thoughts comes under Abnormal Psychology.

Examples of Abnormal Psychology

The study of Abnormal Psychology includes different disorders like:

1. Anxiety Disorders

These types of disorders include a group of mental disorders that carry anxiety feelings or feelings of fear. Anxiety can be viewed as worry for future related things, and fear is considered as a reaction related to current events. These feelings may result in different body symptoms, like a fast heartbeat and shakiness. People having symptoms of anxiety disorders experience high anxiety. Anxiety disorders can be discussed with the following examples:

(a). Panic Disorders or Generalized Anxiety

In this case, an individual feels random fear. It’s like a panic attack in which one can experience sweating, chest pain, irregular or increased heartbeats, etc. Sometimes, one may also feel like having a situation of a heart attack. Unnecessary tension or worry without any reason or very little reason is also an example of panic disorder or generalized anxiety.

(b). Phobias

Phobias are the conditions in which individual fears of a specific situation. For example, few people may have a phobia from exams which is also known as Examinophobia.

  • Examination phobias:

Students face unreasonable and a lot of fear due to the exam in this phobia. Usually, a lot of tension and anxiety arise due to examination which is known as examination phobia. In this, sometimes it feels like losing control kind of feeling by students.

People suffering from Phobias are usually aware that the fear they are experiencing is irrational, still, they feel fear. There are four types of phobias i.e.:

1.2.1) Simple or specific phobia:

In this type of phobia, people feel a great fear of a particular situation or object. This unreasonable fear may cause an individual to avoid simple situations. Simple or specific phobia is further divided into four categories i.e.:

  1. a) Phobias from animals: People having fear from different animals like dog, or reptiles like a snake, lizards, or insects, etc. usually face such phobias. These are considered as the most common type of phobias in the category of specific phobias. For example:
  • Fear of dogs or Cynophobia:


People may have specific personal experiences like a dog bite in childhood which leads to fear of dogs. These events may have a long-lasting impact and can lead to fear that remains into adulthood as well. This type of fear is not the normal one, in fact, it categorizes as irrational and severe fear that can cause adverse effects in a person’s life and daily-routine functioning.

  1. b) Phobias from situations: Situational phobias include fear of particular situations like flying, car driving, crossing bridges or tunnels, darkness, etc. For example:

–    Phobia from darkness or Nyctophobia:

The fear of darkness also refers to Nyctophobia in which people experience anxiety in the absence of light or at places full of darkness or where there is no light.  Usually, they avoid such circumstances or limit their activities at such places. This fear may not be because of darkness but it may rise due to the hidden danger that is unknown in the darkness.

  1. c) Phobias from the natural environment: Few people have anxiety or phobia due to natural climate. This includes fear from lightning, thunderstorms, heights, water, sunlight, etc. For example:

       –  Fear from deep water:

Few people experience a phobia of going into deep water like the sea or ocean. They avoid even being nearby to such places and also feel anxiety while anticipating any such object like boarding a boat or water rides, etc.

  1. d) Phobias related to blood-injection-injury: This type of phobia consists of fear from injury or being injured, seeing blood or related medical procedures like blood tests, injections, etc.

1.2.2) Social phobias:

Social phobia or social anxiety disorder arises when people feel extreme worry and become social-conscious for social situations that occur daily which results in isolation of self from others. One may feel embarrassed in any situation and always remain in fear of judging by others. This phobia can be so problematic that one can be panic with simple interactions like giving an order at restaurants or attending phone calls, etc.  More example of social phobia can be as under:

  • Fear related to performance situations at the workplace:


One example of social phobia is having anxiety disorder in workplace situations. Like people who spend their time comfortably with family, friends, and colleagues but while participating in situations like giving formal presentations or speeches on stage or being part of business meetings, they feel extreme fear to face things and other people. Some people may also encounter fear while public speaking, etc.

1.2.3) Agoraphobia:

This type of anxiety disorder is related to the fear in which people avoid places or circumstances that may cause a panic situation for them and can make them helpless or make them feel embarrassed. Fear from the crowded place, large open places, traveling, etc. are a few examples of Agoraphobia. Another example can be:

  • Fear from driving:


People who have fear of driving i.e. while driving they may experience panic attacks, they may start fearing from different other transportation mediums like traveling by bus, train or airplane. This is a stage of Agoraphobia.

1.2.4) Other phobias:

Apart from the above, examples of other types of phobias can be fear related to loud sounds, falling down, fear of custom characters like a ghost, aliens, etc.

  1. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD:

This type of abnormal psychology consists of two parts i.e. obsession and compulsion. Obsession is related to the non-stop intrusion of unwanted and uncontrollable thoughts, images that create anxiety. Compulsion means ritualized behavior to reduce anxiety.

For example, people suffering from OCD may have the habit of checking gas stove lots of times to ensure it’s not on or really turned off as they have an extreme fear of catching their house by fire.  Similarly, few people may wash their hands continuously due to fear of germs. Though people don’t’ feel good by doing such repetitive behaviors, still it gives relief in anxiety occurred by unwanted thoughts.

A few more examples of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder could be repeating some words again and again, checking of loved ones repeatedly to ensure their safety, doing ritual things excessively due to religious fear, etc.

  1. Disorder related to Post-Traumatic Stress (PTSD):

This type of disorder is the result of different traumatic events like accidents, domestic violence, physical abuse, the sudden death of a family member in adverse circumstances, robbery, etc. This can cause situations like insomnia, nightmares, a feeling of guilt, etc.




  1. Mood Disorders:

This one is related to a condition that impacts our mood adversely. Mood disorders are mainly of two types i.e. bipolar disorders and major depressive disorder.

Bipolar disorder, which is also termed as “manic depression” causes irritated moods situation. An example of this type of disorder is “mood swings” in which people may experience different moods at a time like if someone is happy at a movement, may become sad or start crying another movement or may get angry without any reason.

In the case of depressive disorders, one may experience sadness or hopelessness over a long period of time without having any justified explanations.

  1. Personality Disorders:

In this type of disorder, people have an unhealthy and rigid pattern of behavior, thinking-level, and activities. Also, they feel difficulty in relating different situations and people. For example, people having such disorders are very suspicious in nature and trust other people very rarely. They usually misinterpret other people’s talk or doing like other people intentionally do things to harm them or take benefit from them. In turn, these people hold grudges and may act aggressively, or over defensively.

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