Understand more about the human mind and mental health problems. This distance learning course will help you to understand more about abnormal psychology

Do you want to learn about schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, mania, childhood disorders? Why not take this course?

Understanding abnormal behaviour is the first step toward dealing with it, both for professionals as well as friends, relatives and acquaintances. This course will be of value to anyone who wants to understand more about common psychological disorders, their causes and treatment.

It is particularly beneficial for counsellors or support workers, for it will develop their ability to distinguish different types of psychological disorder, and determine when to refer clients for treatment. It is also of interest to anyone who finds human nature fascinating. We cover why different conditions may occur, what happens in different conditions and how we can treat them.

Learn more about abnormal behaviour and psychopathology.

  • Learn about schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, mania, childhood disorders.
  • Understand why some people behave in a deviant way.
  • Discover insights into how to deal with deviant behaviour.
  • Expand your knowledge of human psychology, as a manager, counsellor, welfare worker etc.
  • Explore an area of interest, and develop your life skills.



The course is divided into eleven lessons as follows:

  1. Disorders that are Usually First Diagnosed in Infancy, Childhood, or Adolescence
  2. Delirium, Dementia, Amnesic and Other Cognitive Disorders
  3. Substance-Related Disorders
  4. Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders
  5. Mood Disorders
  6. Anxiety Disorders
  7. Somatoform, Factitious, and Dissociative Disorders
  8. Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders
  9. Eating and Sleep Disorders
  10. Impulse-Control Disorders; Adjustment Disorder
  11. Personality Disorders


Duration: 100 hours. This course is available to start at any time.



  • Identify disorders first prevalent under 18 years of age;
  • Describe how you would diagnose a case of suspected Autism in a child of 4 years of age;
  • Compare and contrast delirium and dementia;
  • Do an internet search for images of PET scans and MRI of brains affected by delirium or dementia include the images an essay discussing these disorders;
  • Distinguish between substance abuse disorders and substance dependence disorders;
  • Differentiate between psychotic disorders;
  • Describe briefly the sub-types of Schizophrenia;
  • Distinguish between Unipolar disorders and Bipolar disorders;
  • Outline a cognitive model of depression;
  • Describe different types of Anxiety Disorders;
  • Develop a treatment to overcome a client's fear of spiders;
  • Distinguish between Somatoform and Dissociative Disorders;
  • Explain the primary criticisms of dissociative identity disorder;
  • Provide a diagnosis of a case study and justify your diagnosis;
  • Discuss Gender Identity Disorder, Paraphilias and Sexual Dysfunction;
  • Explain what distinguishes a preference of sexual act or object as a paraphilia;
  • Identify Eating Disorders and Sleep Disorders;
  • Explain how eating disorders develop;
  • Distinguish between Impulse Control Disorders and Adjustment disorders;
  • Develop a diagnostic table for impulse control disorders;
  • Distinguish between different types of Personality Disorder;
  • Differentiate between Narcissistic and Histrionic personality disorders.


Behaviour Associated with Substance Intoxication, Addiction or Abuse


Substance Intoxication and Withdrawal

Substance intoxication is diagnosed if a substance ingested affects the central nervous system and produces maladaptive cognitive and behavioural affects. If a person is addicted to a drug, is then denied it, and experiences withdrawal, that person would be diagnoses as having substance dependence and substance withdrawal. An example of substance withdrawal is the DTs (delirium tremens), which is caused by alcohol withdrawal.


Alcohol Dependence and the DTs

In rare cases, a person who has been drinking heavily for years may experience DTs, when the level of alcohol in the blood drops suddenly. The person becomes delirious, tremors and has hallucinations that are visual, but can also be tactile. They may see creatures, such as cockroaches, snakes, spiders, or similar crawling up the wall or over their body. They become feverish and may try to claw their own skin to remove the creatures, or cower in a corner. These DTs indicate that a person is addicted.

When a person has been drinking heavily over a period of years, increased tolerance can become evident. However, levels of alcohol in the blood can be lower than expected. The body appears to become more efficient at processing the drug. People who are alcohol dependent may need to drink daily and be unable to stop, despite trying to cut down or abstain. They may occasionally binge drink, remaining intoxicated for a day or two or more. They may suffer blackouts, or feeling intense cravings for alcohol in a non-beverage form, e.g. Hair tonic. This level of drinking will cause problems with family and friends, perhaps violence when drinking, frequent absences from work, possible loss of job and so on.


Substance Dependence

Substance dependence is a compulsive or chronic pattern of substance use. Symptoms of dependence often include tolerance, withdrawal, using more of the substance than intended, continuing use despite psychological or physical problems and spending large amounts of time pursuing the substance or recovering from its effects.

Some of the substance-related disorders can include the following:

  • Alcohol Dependence.
  • Amphetamine Dependence.
  • Cannabis Dependence.
  • Cocaine Dependence.
  • Hallucinogen Dependence.
  • Inhalant Dependence.
  • Nicotine Dependence.
  • Opioid Dependence.
  • Phencyclidine Dependence.
  • Sedative Dependence.

Some of the other terms that are used are tolerance which is the need for greatly increased amounts of a substance to achieve intoxication. While withdrawal is the significant physical, mental or social distress or impairment caused when heavy or long-term substance use is abruptly reduced or stopped. This can have both physical as well as mental symptoms. The term substance abuse is the chronic or compulsive pattern of substance use that is less severe than substance dependence. This may be characterized by failure to complete and fulfil major obligations, exposing oneself to physical dangers or persistent personal and interpersonal problems. Substance intoxication can be either behavioural or psychological change caused by a substance's effect on the body's central nervous system.


Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse is less severe than substance dependence. It is diagnosed when the person's use of the substance is mal adaptive but not severe enough to meet the criteria for dependence.


Who is this course suitable for?

This course is suitable for

  • Foster carers
  • Care workers
  • Carers
  • Prison officers
  • Law enforcement
  • Teachers
  • Teaching assistants
  • Children and family workers
  • Social workers
  • Managers
  • Welfare workers
  • Counsellors
  • Parents
  • And anyone interested in understanding more about people.


So if you want to learn more about Abnormal Psychology - why not try this course? 

If you have any questions, our psychology tutors are happy to help.

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