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Health > Mental Health >Insanity


‘Insanity’ is a legal term, rather than a medical one, and very imprecise. It is often far easier to recognise insane behaviour than to define it. How, then, does society make judgements about people’s mental state?

The simplest definition of an insane person-someone whose state of mind makes him unfit to be in charge of his own life and for whom total responsibility must be taken by others-is a poor one because the psychopath with no conscience can easily look after himself, whilst the chronic alcoholic would, by this definition, be closed as insane.

Another definition of an insane person as someone from whom society feels that it must be protected does not differentiate between the insane and the criminal, and the answer to the question ‘Is this person’s behaviour logical?’ is no basis for definition either, because what seems logical to one individual can strike another as extremely odd.

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