Table of contents:

"Tell Me, Am I Crazy?" - Self-development, Society
"Tell Me, Am I Crazy?" - Self-development, Society

Video: "Tell Me, Am I Crazy?" - Self-development, Society

Video: "Tell Me, Am I Crazy?" - Self-development, Society
Video: How Far is Too Far? | The Age of A.I. 2023, December

Doubts in their mental normalcy quite often have to be heard in the process of psychological counseling. Quite often the request: "Tell me, am I crazy?" Most often, such doubts arise from an inability to cope with their emotions. For example, a person is overly quick-tempered, because of which he can say too much, and therefore his relationships with loved ones suffer. Or life circumstances happen, due to which a person gets stuck in a bad mood for a long time. And this is enough for him to diagnose himself with depression.

Doubts about their own normality also arise in cases where a person has poor control (or does not control at all) his behavior. The most illustrative example here is the so-called "bad habits", pathological addictions. A gambler can promise himself and others as much as he wants that he will no longer sit at the table and will not make a single bet. But as soon as he feels an irresistible urge to play, his real actions quickly refute his promises.

Normal or pathological?

But can all these people be considered "mentally abnormal"? I want to warn you right away that there is no consensus even among experts. The so-called "problem of norm and pathology" in psychiatry and psychology belongs to the category of "eternal problems". On the one hand, there are generally accepted medical classifications (like the ICD).

But such classifications are much criticized for the fact that they have a tendency to unjustified proliferation, the inclusion of "fashionable diseases." On the other hand, antipsychiatry is gaining ground in the wake of modern activism. Which (in the most radical version) asserts that there are no "mental pathologies" at all, and all these classifications of diseases were invented by doctors only for the sake of making money and oppressing patients.

Three criteria for assessing normality

As one of the possible points of view, I would like to propose three criteria for assessing "mental norm / abnormality". These criteria were proposed by specialists from the Moscow Institute of Psychoanalysis.

  1. Adequacy.
  2. Criticality.
  3. Productivity.

Adequacy is a person's ability to organize his behavior in accordance with social norms adopted in a particular situation, group, activity. It is clear that this criterion is not ideal, because in different social contexts we can face completely different norms. The rules of conduct that are appropriate in a nightclub are unlikely to be appropriate anywhere in the office (and vice versa). In addition, even within the same situation / group, we can face conflicting norms (and then any behavior will be to some extent "inappropriate").

We can say that in a person's life there are always some "basic groups" in which he is constantly included and whose social norms are well known to him. For example, such a “base group” is family, friends, work collective. A "normal" person knows and respects the social norms of his "base group", which can be confirmed by the group: "He is one of us, the same as we are."

Criticality - the ability to question your perception of reality, your judgments, decisions, actions. From the point of view of the mental norm, the most important is criticality, directed at oneself, that is, self-criticism.

There is an old psychiatric joke: “How does a neurotic differ from a psychotic? It sometimes seems to the neurotic that he is Napoleon, and this upsets him very much. But the psychotic is sure that he is Napoleon, and he is very proud of this fact. Let us recall that psychoses are considered more severe mental disorders than neuroses. Including due to the fact that self-criticism in psychotics is practically absent; they can explain and justify any of their actions, even the most strange and inadequate ones.

Returning to the beginning of the article, we note that if a person asks about his own normality, this indicates that a critical attitude towards himself has been preserved. And with a very high probability it can be argued that, despite the existing problems and difficulties, the person is quite "normal".

Productivity is a person's ability to perform socially demanded, useful and effective activities. In its simplest sense, productivity resonates with social adaptation - a person's ability to be a full-fledged member of society, have a profession, be able to earn money, establish and maintain relationships with various people.

From an evolutionary point of view, a living creature must be viable - that is, have enough strength and skills to provide itself with food and a roof over your head. It is clear that in society the issue of survival is not as acute as in the wild, and that for survival in society, slightly different skills are needed. For example, the ability to make enough money to meet your own needs, and possibly the needs of loved ones.

If a person has enough of these social skills of "social survival", and they are sufficiently developed, he can be considered productive (and adapted). Otherwise, he finds himself in the status of “an extra person”, the results of whose activity are not in demand, and social adaptation is questionable.


In conclusion, the most important thing: it is possible to talk about "mental abnormality" only when all three factors are behind the "strange behavior" (for example, behind the inability to control one's emotions or actions) - inadequacy (ignoring / violating social norms), uncriticality (inability to see yourself "from the outside") and unproductiveness (social maladjustment). If all three of these factors are present, then you need professional mental health / psychological assistance. If at least one of the factors is missing, then you have enough of your own internal resources to cope with pressing problems.