How to distinguish abnormal behavior from normal behavior?

Due to the complex and close relationship between normal and abnormal, four perspectives have to considered and subjectively explored to be able to classify behavior.

First, Adjustment and Maladjustment, which aims at defining behavior based on their conformity with social norms. The concept of Adjustment is hereby seen as closely linked to biological and social reproduction. Criteria of adjustment are of ideological, philosophical, and religious nature. Standard societal rules must be upheld and adjusted is considered who adjusts to the dominant rules while not suffering from it and not creating any problems.

Second, the biomedical perspective in which the human is seen as an organism that breaks down when ill. Disease is seen as universal and objective existence and defined as a diagnosable entity that can be delimited and thus intervened using standardized ideal intervention methods. Diagnostic criteria got established and can determine the disease and apply appropriate treatment.

Third, the statistical perspective which evaluates abnormal or normal deviance from society. In statistical terms, the individual is placed with regards to means and standard deviation to determine if their behavior is within expected ranges or not. Behaviors frequently occurring in a population are hereby considered normal and infrequent behaviors are abnormal, this is seen as an anthropological view.

Last, the perspective that evaluates welfare and discomfort levels of the individual. It is consisting of an assessment of what he does in his life, which evaluates whether the individual is seeking pressure or rather avoiding or suffering (hedonic view) or eudaimonic view which concerns realization of virtue. Welfare is expressed subjectively and concerns integration (social, environmental, interpersonal, and intrapersonal, and discomfort is seen as indicating a rupture, either with himself, or others that causes displeasure and suffering.

In conclusion, the relationship between normal and abnormal remains ambiguous but these four questions follow the same logic and aid to correctly specifying between normal and abnormal.

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