Mental health and disorder

“Am I normal?” is one of the questions frequently encountered by those working in the field of mental health. In this article, we will look for an answer to this difficult question together. First of all, we should talk about the concept of health. The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of physical, mental and social well-being”. Today, many analyzes, examinations, etc. We can detect with There is even a name for this job: ‘check-up’. So, can spiritual and social check-up be done? Who are we going to call normal and who are abnormal, and how will we do it?

The term ‘normal’ means statistically majority and not extreme. Statistical method is frequently used in medicine and the lower and upper limits of normal are determined according to the findings. In that case; In terms of mental health, can adapting to the majority be the criterion of normality? For example, in a society, the majority of people use smart phones, do not drop the phone, do not spare time for their family and children; If few people use the phone only at work and spend quality time with their families and children, should we call the majority or the minority normal in this society? When we examine the historical process, the great personalities who left their mark were those who did not fit the majority and tried to change them. So the statistical definition can be both relative and sometimes invalid in mental health.

Clinically, it can be considered normal that the individual does not have excessive anxiety or significant psychopathology, but is also satisfied with himself, and is comfortable and happy in his social relationships. But if a person who is extremely selfish, easily lies to others, insensitive to the problems of society, is content, has good social relations and is happy, is this person ‘normal’? On the other hand, can we call a person who tries to help everyone, is truthful, works for the benefit of society, but is uneasy and anxious, abnormal? Anxiety, sadness and suffering can be a symptom of a psychological disorder in a person’s life; There may be natural reactions that are not considered abnormal depending on the situation. In some cases, it may even be abnormal not to be sad, cry, or worry.

According to psychoanalysis, the criterion of normality is the balance between the id, ego, and superego. It is accepted that a mentally healthy person is someone who satisfies his lower ego (id) impulses, can also adapt to his environment (ego) and can listen to the voice of the superego (superego). However, in this definition, the satisfaction of the drives, adaptation to the environment, and the expectations of the superego are relative and always open to discussion. When Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, was asked about the conditions of the normal, he replied “work and love”. Hundreds of books have been written and will be written on these two words.

As we said at the beginning, ‘normal’ is very difficult to define. The famous philosopher Aristotle, who lived before Christ, said, “There is no perfect soul without some mixture of madness.” In the 19th century, Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler gave his student Gustav Bychowski advice: “Don’t give anyone a certificate of normalcy, not even my wife”. Today, according to Prof.Dr.Orhan Öztürk, the boundaries of normality and non-extreme abnormality are not clear, their criteria are relative. Statistical and clinical insights all have more or less truth to the assumption of environmental compatibility; but it is relative from age to age, from society to society, and even from person to person, it can change.

As a result; Inconsistent, inappropriate, excessive and inadequate behaviors can be seen in every person. However, if these behaviors are continuous or repetitive, disrupting their functionality and/or interpersonal relationships; should apply to physicians, psychiatrists or clinical psychologists working in the field of mental health.

Dr. Mustafa İspir

Source: Öztürk, M. Orhan, and Aylin Uluşahin. Mental health and disorders . Nobel Medical Bookstores, 2014.

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