Symptoms and history are an essential step to gathering information in order to assess and diagnose abnormality. Assessments are used in order to find out an individual's current symptoms, including information such as the type of symptom, frequency, and duration. The functioning of the individual across different aspects of their life is also important to consider. For example, feelings of anxiety occurring in one situation, such as meeting new people, may indicate social anxiety, while feelings of anxiety all the time may be more relevant to generalized anxiety disorder.
2011 by Mimi & Eunice
How the individual is coping with their symptoms and problems is also a part of studying their history due to the fact that their coping style can either help or hinder their treatment and poor coping can exacerbate the problem. For instance, someone suffering from a mental disorder after suffering abuse as a child may drink to forget their problems, but this may also lead to substance addiction, which requires further treatment.
Environmental influences must also be considered in regards to symptoms and history due to the fact that certain disorders are only diagnosed if symptoms last for a certain period of time. Depression that occurs right after someone gets fired from a job would not be diagnosed or treated the same as someone who has depression for more than a year for no apparent reason.
Lastly, the history of not only the individual's psychological problems but family history is indicative for assessing and diagnosing abnormality, especially since there is extensive research to suggest that some disorders have genetic links.