People are generally too quick to label anyone who thinks or behaves in a deviant way as mentally ill. This unjust and unreasonable labeling is simply based on the fact that such deviant individuals follow different moral or social standards and behave in a way that is not considered as normal or acceptable by the majority.
When a label of mental illness is applied to individuals, it is a result of not being able to accept the existing diversity of views and behavior, irritation that deviant individuals are unwilling to conform to or challenge the generally held views or adopted patterns of behavior, and sometimes an ungrounded feeling of threat that is expected from such behavior or thought (Lounsbury). According to some researchers and psychologists, modern society has invented too many mental illnesses and disorders which it hastily applies to its members to respond to or protect itself from their undesirable deviant behavior.
But, in fact, what is generally considered as abnormal behavior is often a normal reaction to various events, news, and situations. For example, deviant behavior may result from a distressful and unhappy reaction to stress, depression, disease, dissatisfaction with one’s life and performance, conflicts at home or at work, etc. Such behavior usually continues for a certain period of time and then returns back to normal.
But because normal people do not often understand its causes or do not know the deviant individual at all, this behavior appears not normal to them and they are quick to define it as mental illness (Graham). Still the deviant social behavior can be explained by the fact that some people are members of various sub-cultures and follow certain practices that are accepted in those groups but appear bizarre from the point of view of the mainstream cultural and social conventions. Other patterns of deviant behavior may also result from the improper socialization of certain individuals.
The list of the causes behind deviant behavior can be continued, but people are rarely willing to make an effort in order to try to understand them, and quickly ascribe abnormal behavior to mental illnesses (Graham).
References Graham, G. Creating Mental Illness. Retrieved February 20, 2009 from the World Wide Web: http://www. mentalhelp. net/poc/view_doc. php? id=1069&type=book&cn=21 Lounsbury, L. Deviance and Conformity. Retrieved February 20, 2009 from the World Wide Web: http://www. authorsden. com/categories/article_top. asp? catid=35&id=29243