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Abnormal Behavior | Examples

Nowadays it is not difficult to meet people whose behavior is considered to be abnormal. In order to identify if the behavior of an individual is psychologically disordered, it is necessary to refer to the four Ds – deviance, distress, dysfunction, danger. These four concepts help to make a correct decision. In this assignment, I’d like to represent three examples which describe my personal experience with abnormal behavior.

Example 1: Deviance

Mary is 12. At first sight, she is a normal girl. She goes to school, she has a good hobby. However, sometimes her behavior is absolutely abnormal. She likes to change color of her hair. One day her hair is pink, the other day her hair is blue, then orange and so on. I think that her behavior is significantly different from the social norms. Of course, there is a cultural factor- she is young, and she wants to be different from the others but her behavior is deviant.

Example 2: Dysfunction

John is a young man of 22 years old. He works for an insurance company. He is a manager. His abnormal behavior is concluded in his obsession with washing his hands hundreds of times during the day. This action is considered to be a dysfunctional one because it interferes with his work and his personal life. He spends too much time washing his hands in the bathroom. He does not think of his direct duties. Of course, John’s behavior can easily be connected with the cultural aspect but I think in this case it is an abnormal behavior.

Example 3: Distress

Kate is a student of one of the US universities. She studies biology. However, she has a problem. Her boy friend ignores her. She is in distress. She misses classes. She cannot cope with the thought that she is not interested for him. She is crying day and night. In this case we can say that her personal behavior and her sombre thoughts cause her unhappiness and personal discomfort. This long period of discomfort is connected with Kate’s psychological disorder. It is clear that she must forget about her close relations with this young man and to find somebody else, or just forgive him and wish him good luck. However, Kate cannot live a full life. This period lasts 7 months.

Limitations to the Four Ds Approach

Limitations to the Four Ds approach include the following ones:

  • Changes in the social norms can make abnormal behavior a normal one. It means that abnormal behavior can become acceptable by the society. For example, Mary with pink hair and John who constantly washes his hands can become the individuals with normal behavior.
  • Abnormal behavior may be helpful and even adaptive for the individual. For example, John who has an obsession with washing his hands can feel himself rather well and be happy.


In conclusion, it is necessary to say that abnormal behavior as a psychological disorder can be related to 28% of population.(McLeod, 2008, para.1)

Due to some changes of norms in social life abnormal behavior can become a normal one. Of course, if an individual’s abnormal behavior interferes the life of other members of the society, this individual should consult a specialist who will help him to solve his psychological problems.


McLeod, S. (2008) Abnormal Psychology. Simply Psychology. March 23, 2008. Retrieved from:<http://www.simplypsychology.org/abnormal-psychology.html>