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Psychiatry/Psychological word

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:confused: Dear Psychiatry/Psychology friends,

I am having a extremely bad time with a Psychiatry/psychological word. The word is "NORMAL"! I have been several times to both of these people and found help. The problem I have is with this word "NORMAL. These folks cannot and will not use this word! The word to me means middle,they will diagnose un-normal are even abnormal but the word nornal they will not even talk about and they state there is no NORMAL! Those in the mental health please explain why you wont claim the word NORMAL. After I have your answer I will debate it with you if you wish. Thank you. pljames

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I'm not in the mental health field, but I can tell you this: normal mental health is not only highly subjective to humans in general but is also subjective to many occupations and endeavors. Normal is too broad in definition but carries too narrow a perceived connotation.


A certain amount of obsessive/compulsive behavior is almost mandatory for accountants and programmers. A formula one racer couldn't function unless he/she was more uninhibited than most "normal" people. How could an oncologist deal with all the death and suffering if they used what some would call a "normal" amount of empathy with their patients?


In a world where certain words have taken on a diluted meaning through overuse, I can't blame anyone concerned with possibly fragile mental states if they refrain from using such non-definitive terms.

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Yep. The bell curve is also known as 'the normal distribution'. However, measures of behaviour and attitude do not fit under the normal distribution the same as measures of height, pulse, IQ etc. The word 'normal' is not used so much when referring to behaviour because there is not really any normative value for behaviour. The terms more commonly udes are 'adaptive' and 'maladaptive'. Adaptive behaviour is 'normal' therefore it doesn't really matter what the behaviour is, the criteria are that it in some way benefits or helps the person cope with situations. Maladaptive behaviour indicates a failure to cope with 'normal' situations or behaviours that are likely to bring harm to the individual.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi pljames,


I am not working in the mental health field, not even life science field. Like everyone responded, it depends on how you define "normal". For a given definition of "normal", any thing out of it will be labeled as "un-normal". Many mental illnesses are examples of this, including schizophrenia.


My guess is that you want to debate about schizophrenia. So, what is your viewpoint? :)

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