Someone being seen as normal or not normal can have social ramifications, such as being included, excluded or stigmatized by larger society. When you think about abnormal psychology, rather than focus on the distinction between what is normal and what is abnormal, focus instead on the level of distress or disruption that a troubling behavior might cause.
The CDC reported that “cluster[s] of negative attitudes and beliefs motivate the general public to fear, reject, avoid, and discriminate against people with mental illnesses”. The French sociologist Émile Durkheim indicated in his Rules of the Sociological Method that it was necessary for the sociological method to offer parameters to distinguish normality from pathology or abnormality. He suggested that behaviors or “social facts” which are present in the majority of cases are normal, and exceptions to that behavior indicate pathology.
As well, to grieve intensely over the loss of a sock would also not be considered normal responsiveness and indicate a mental disorder. The consideration of proportionality to stimuli was a perceived strength in psychiatric diagnosis for the DSM-II. The social norms that guide people are not always normal for everyone. Behaviours that are abnormal for most people may be considered normal for a subgroup or subculture.
What is the verb for normal?
By better understanding what is “abnormal,” researchers and therapists can come up with new ways to help people live healthier and more fulfilling lives. Those in the field of abnormal psychology study people’s emotional, cognitive, and/or behavioral problems. Abnormal behavior may be defined as behavior that is disturbing (socially unacceptable), distressing, maladaptive (or self‐defeating), and often the result of distorted thoughts (cognitions). The standard criteria in psychology and psychiatry is that of mental illness or mental disorder.
The presence of abnormals is important because it is necessary to define what ‘normal’ is, as normality is a relative concept. So at a group, or macro level, of analysis; abnormalities are normal given a demographic survey, but at an individual level abnormal individuals are seen as being deviant in someway that needs to be corrected. Statistical normality is important in determining demographic pathologies.
What’s the verb for normal? Here’s the word you’re looking for.
A real social identity is the identity that persons actually have in their society or is perceived, by themselves or others, to have. If these two identities have differences between each other, there is said to be disharmony. Individuals may monitor and adapt their behaviour in terms of others’ expected perceptions of the individual, which is described by the social psychology theory of self-presentation.
One can easily find the text book definition of abnormality from any source. Abnormality is the significant deviation from commonly accepted patterns of behavior, emotion or thought, while normality is the absence of illness and the presence of state of well being otherwise called normalcy. It can be difficult to draw the line between normal and abnormal behaviors, especially in leadership. Evidence of the classification ambiguity were punctated by the Rosenhan experiment of 1972. This experiment demonstrated that the methodology of psychiatric diagnosis could not effectively distinguish normal from disordered mentalities.
Thus, simply because a behavior is unusual does not make it abnormal; it is only considered abnormal if it meets these criteria. Abnormality (or dysfunctional behavior) is a behavioral characteristic assigned to those with conditions regarded as rare or dysfunctional. Behavior is considered abnormal when it is atypical or out of the ordinary, consists of undesirable behavior, and results in impairment in the individual’s functioning. Abnormality is that which is considered deviant from specific societal, cultural and ethical expectations. These expectations are broadly dependent on age, gender, traditional and societal categorizations.
The definition of abnormal behavior is an often debated issue in abnormal psychology because of these subjective variables. Most definitions of normality consider interpersonal normality, the comparison between many different individual’s behaviours to distinguish normality from abnormality. Intrapersonal normality looks at what is normal behaviour for one particular person (consistency within a person) and would be expected to vary person-to-person.
If a behavior is causing problems in a person’s life or is disruptive to other people, then this would be an “abnormal” behavior that may require some type of mental health intervention. Behavior that is out of the ordinary is not necessarily indicative of a mental or psychological disorder. Abnormal behavior, on the other hand, while not a mental disorder in itself, is often indicative of mental and psychological disorders. A psychological disorder is defined as an “ongoing dysfunctional pattern of thought, emotion, and behavior that causes significant distress, and is considered deviant in that person’s culture or society”.
Similarly, a behavioural pattern may not conform to social norms, but still be effective and non-problematic for that individual. Where there is a dichotomy between appearance and function of a behaviour, it may be difficult to measure its normality. This is applicable when trying to diagnose a pathology and is addressed in the DSM. A disharmony exists between a virtual identity of the self and a real social identity, whether it be in the form of a trait or attribute. If a person does not have this disharmony, then he or she is described as normal.
Important to note is that abnormal behavior, as it relates to psychological disorders, would be “ongoing” and a cause of “significant distress”. A mental disorder describes a patient who has a medical condition whereby the medical practitioner makes a judgement that the patient is exhibiting abnormal behavior based on the DSM-5 criteria.
- A person without any mental illness is considered a normal patient, whereas a person with a mental disability or illness is viewed as abnormal.
- In medicine, behavioral normality pertains to a patient’s mental condition aligning with that of a model, healthy patient.
A mathematical model of normality could still be used for intrapersonal normality, by taking a sample of many different occurrences of behaviour from one person over time. Many difficulties arise in measuring normal behaviors – biologists come across parallel issues when defining normality. One complication which arises regards whether ‘normality’ is used correctly in everyday language. People say “This heart is abnormal” if only a portion of it is not working correctly, yet it may be inaccurate to include the entirety of the heart under the abnormal description. There can be a difference between the normality of the structure and function of a body part.
Counselors, clinical psychologists, and psychotherapists often work directly in this field. The fact that a person thinks and/or acts differently as compared to an averaged ‘common sense’ individual doesn’t make one’s behavior an abnormal one.
In this sense, normality exists based on societal norms, and whether someone is normal is entirely up to how he or she views him- or herself in contrast to how society views him or her. While trying to define and quantify normality is a good start, all definitions confront the problem of whether we are even describing an idea that even exists since there are so many different ways of viewing the concept. Abnormal psychology is a branch of psychology that deals with psychopathology and abnormal behavior, often in a clinical context. The term covers a broad range of disorders, from depression to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) to personality disorders.
Durkheim’s model of normality further explained that the most frequent or general behaviors, and thus the most normal behaviors, will persist through transition periods in society. Crime, for instance, exists under every society through every time period, and so should be considered normal. There is a two-fold version of normality; behaviors considered normal on a societal level may still be considered pathological on an individual level. On the individual level, people who violate social norms, such as criminals, will invite a punishment from others in the society. Normality is a behavior that can be normal for an individual (intrapersonal normality) when it is consistent with the most common behaviour for that person.
Normal is also used to describe individual behaviour that conforms to the most common behaviour in society (known as conformity). Definitions of normality vary by person, time, place, and situation – it changes along with changing societal standards and norms.
When a variable rate, such as virus spread within a human population, exceeds its normal infection rate then preventative or emergency measures can be introduced. It is often impractical to apply statistical normality to diagnose individuals. Symptom normality is the current, and assumed most effective, way to assess patient pathology. Psychiatric normality, in a broad sense, states that psychopathology are disorders that are deviations from normality.
Thus any variable case that lies outside of two deviations from the mean would be considered abnormal. However, the critical value of such statistical judgments may be subjectively altered to a less conservative estimate. It is in fact normal for a population to have a proportion of abnormals.
What is the true definition of normal?
1a : according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle. b : conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern. 2 : occurring naturally and not because of disease, inoculation, or any experimental treatment normal immunity.
An Alternative View: Mental illness is a Social Construction
In medicine, behavioral normality pertains to a patient’s mental condition aligning with that of a model, healthy patient. A person without any mental illness is considered a normal patient, whereas a person with a mental disability or illness is viewed as abnormal. These normals and abnormals in the context of mental health subsequently create negative stigmatic perceptions towards individuals with mental illness. The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation stated that “an estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older – about 1 in 4 adults – suffer from one or more of (several) disorders in a given year”.
DSM-II labelled ‘excessive’ behavioral and emotional response as an index of abnormal mental wellness to diagnose some particular disorders. ‘Excessiveness’ of a reaction implied alternative normal behaviour which would have to include a situational factor in evaluation. As an example; a year of intense grief from the death of a spouse may be a normal appropriate response. To have intense grief for twenty years would be indicative of a mental disorder.
Normal behavior is often only recognized in contrast to abnormality. In its simplest form, normality is seen as good while abnormality is seen as bad.
What does it abnormal is when one is becoming violent or provide a clear cut picture danger for people around and/or for oneself. Applying normality clinically depends on the field and situation a practitioner is in. In the broadest sense, clinical normality is the idea of uniformity of physical and psychological functioning across individuals. Related to the previous definition, statistically normality is usually defined it in terms of a normal distribution curve, with the so-called ‘normal zone’ commonly accounting for 95.45% percent of all the data. The remaining 4.55% will lie split outside of two standard deviations from the mean.