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For those not in the know there is a manual called Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders which is often used as a diagnostic tool. Sadly it lacks any definition for one of the most serious conditions of all, "normality". In view of this huge oversight I have taken the liberty of writing the missing pages myself.

Diagnostic Criteria for Normality

I just find it insane that since normality is such a dysfunctional condition, it has no entry in the manual. It is simply assumed that normality is not having any other condition.

If you are worried that you may be normal take a look at the criteria below.

[The following is a serious joke based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM IV.]

Diagnostic criteria for normality?

The essential features of Normality are the presence of markedly impaired intellectual development and a markedly restricted repertoire of social interaction, activity and interests. Manifestations of normality vary greatly depending on the developmental level and chronological age of the individual.

A. Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
  1. a marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others, on abstract subjects
  2. stereotyped and repetitive use of language or catch phrases as a means of reassurance and guidance in life. e.g. “you never can tell”, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”.
  3. failure to develop peer relationships with those who are outside their own diagnostic criteria
  4. lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people who either have achieved significantly more or significantly less then themselves
B. Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behaviour, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least two of the following:
  1. encompassing preoccupation with one or more restricted patterns of interest such as sport, shopping, alcohol intoxication or sex
  2. participation in social but harmful activities such as chemical intoxication (drinking or smoking) sometimes leading to irresponsible behaviour, aggression, violence or permanent ill health
  3. persistent preoccupation with the irrational avoidance or pursuit of information on the sexual activities of others known to them combined with a marked interest in the sexual activities of those not known to them
  4. apparently inflexible adherence to specific, non-functional routines or rituals such as constantly seeking entertainment of one form or other
C. There is clinically significant lack of cognitive development and curiosity about the environment throughout life, as manifested by at least three of the following:
  1. often has difficulty sustaining attention in complex tasks and cannot optimise the performance of complex and interdependent tasks
  2. looses interest in any complex explanation of anything
  3. often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort
  4. inability to see a full range of possible explanations for situations
  5. difficulty to learn new skills or absorb new information
  6. difficulty in the manipulation of symbols to useful purpose
D. Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with any negative event and numbing of general responsiveness, as indicated by at least two of the following:
  1. efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with a negative events
  2. efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of negative events
  3. inability to recall important aspects of a negative event
  4. irrational belief that the victims of negative events are themselves responsible for the events and can thus be dismissed
E. Avoidance of reality indicated by at least three of the following:
  1. extensive reliance on emotional reaction rather than logical reaction in determining the response to any given situation
  2. an irrational perception of ultra-low probability events, manifested in the purchase of lottery tickets or anxiety or phobic avoidance of flying
  3. propensity to discuss the lives of a few very well known people rather than their own
  4. long-standing pattern of interpersonal rejection sensitivity, countered by the use of lies or constant re-assurance from others
  5. frequent dissonance between what they are saying and what they are feeling i.e. apparent over confidence combined with a deep underlying sense of failure
  6. more interested in winning than being right
  7. likely to react badly when subject to failure

Although there are a number of experimental treatments for normality there are few that manage to achieve consistent results.

© Tom de Havas 2011. The information under this section is my own work it may be reproduced without modification but must include this notice.