An individual is said to be normal in his/her behaviour till he/she feels satisfied with environment. Environment presents positive as well as negative stimuli, individuals are expected to establish an equilibrium with environmental stimuli. Whenever this equilibrium disturbs it leads to abnormalities in behaviour and cause ill mental health.
How can we decide that an individual has become mentally ill is a question which will be answered so that mentally ill person can be identified at easier stage.
Generally it has been observed that mentally ill person suffered with vague and unreasoned fear, it is only a sign but should not be ignored. One should go in depth of causes of fear. Just reduction of the fear it not cure, it is only sign that all is not going well with regards to personality.
Therefore in the diagnosis of mental illness careful study of other symptoms is important. Person with behavioral abnormality generally do not accept or admit that there is need of help of counselor, so one can’t expect cooperation of patient. Before reaching at any conclusion some more symptoms that may be seen in abnormality of behavior are to be considered. For example in spite of the fact that ones physical examination reveals no causal organic defect but he may complain of reduced vision or double vision. Similarly illusion and hallucinations are symptoms related to perception. In illusion things are mistaken like piece of rope is taken (mis) as snake while hallucination is an imaginary perception, like there is no sound but he hear voices of bell or feel muscular pain or sensation that are not present.
In some individuals disorder of thoughts are seen, it consists of rapid jump of one idea to another without coordination or link. Occasionally blocking of thoughts is also seen where sudden stoppage or failure in the sequence of thought process are seen. For example when asked what have you taken in lunch. He started I took….. and say nothing.
In severe cases of mental disorder a symptom called as “Agnosia” is observed where individual looses power to perceive existing relationship around him. Similarly obsession and compulsion is very common abnormality sometimes seen in all of us at any point of time in life. For example with the idea that hands are dirty one feels an overwhelming urge to wash his hands. Respectably called as washing menia. There are person used to take bath twice a day even in coldest climate, such persons are obsessed with the idea that their body had caught germs, they think that if not taken both, he will get ill. Similarly an individual may be compelled to return and check the lock of door many times while proceeding to market or office. Similarly fear of being poisoned is an irrational, irrelevant and inappropriate thought, but individual has little control over that thought he is obsessed to this thought.
We can observe some people persistently shaking their legs, this repetition of movement without cause is also sign of onset of behavioral abnormality, this type of act in called as impulsive motor behavior.
Some people exhibits negativism in their behavior in which they behave just opposite to expected behavior. For example if all the family members decide to go the picnic one member refuses saying place is not good for picnic or says it is wastage of time.
In some people an irrational excessive increase in the emotional reactions are seen such as unnatural state of happiness shows in the form of signing, dancing and much laughter. This emotional state is called as “Elation” while in depression individual feels sick, glory, sad, worried, worthless. In some mental cases there is an unusual fluctuation of the mood between elation and depression.
Apathy is a state of emotional flatness in which one feels neither happy nor sad. Thus events that normally evoke anger, happiness, sadness or shame have no effect upon the person suffering from apathy.
Phobia is also irrational persistent fear of something like fear of High places, fear of animals, fear of water, fear of the darkness, fear of disease or fear of being poisoned.
Some of the abnormalities of behaviour are being mentioned here so that we as a lay person can identify the signal that all is not going well with regards to behavior. Consequently early measure may to taken to help an individual with behavioral abnormality.
Contributed by: Dr. Sushma Talesara Professor, Vidhya Bhavan Teachers Training College C.T.I, UDAIPUR