That which is not appropriate to a situation is considered abnormal behavior. Common abnormal behavior criteria is; unusual, suggests severe personal distress and/or faulty reality interpretation, self-defeating, dangerous and socially unacceptable. Historic perspectives lacked scientific merit, and biological relations were not in vogue. The devil was blamed for maladaptive behavior. Nowadays there are biological and psychodynamic models of abnormal behavior.

The Humanistic theory is that problems occur when humans fail to actualize talents and abilities. The Learning theory is that problems occur through conditional and observational learning. For example, a child may get punished if he or she is caught masturbating. Later, in adult years the person may have sexual anxieties that manifest into abnormal behavior. Cognitive theory is that problems occur by distorted, irrational beliefs. These theories are further classified and and categorized. The validity of classification suggests that future psychologists may change this to an independent system from the present medical model.

Four major types of abnormal behavior are labeled disorders. The first is anxiety disorder distinguished by physical manifestations and illusory thought (phobias, panics, compulsions, post-traumatic stress). The treatment involves reduction of physical suffering plus maintaining repression.

Next are Dissociative disorders. These are a separation of cognitive processes, a running away from integrated thought takes place. A person can experience multiple personalities, alternative personalities and psychogenic amnesia. One can multiply the running away while the other subtracts from it. Both ignore or forget a personality in the process.

Somatoform disorders are physical complaints without medical confirmation. Hypochondriacs are preoccupied with actual physical sensations that they interpret as illness. Some people even lose a body function (paralysis) because of their persistent belief that they are ill. Caution is recommended for therapists in this field. Although symptoms lack medical validation, it doesn't mean that the sufferer is exhibiting abnormal behavior.

The fourth disorder is expressed emotionally by moods. Both biological and psychological factors are present in mood disorders. Major depression and Bipolar disorder reflect complicated mood swings that expose such physicalities as irregular eating or sleeping patterns. This common disorder is continually researched.

Suicide is considered a psychological problem. Evidently the elderly are more likely to try it than teen-agers. Suicide is not considered a productive way to solve problems in Western society. It is common and even considered honorable in some other cultures. Perhaps more research is necessary to discover why the elderly are more attracted to it. Maybe there is some wisdom that isn't negatively perceived about death.

Delusions, hallucinations and catonic trance are characterizations of schizophrenia. It tends to run in families. One interesting sign of schizophrenia is withdrawal or fantasy absorption. Many people use the term very loosely, "Don't be a shizo, or, excuse me , that was my other schizophrenic side." It has become a well-known, familiar disorder.

All the personality disorders are unyielding and abnormal to conformity. Most of them enhance suffering in the social realm. Normal people experience some of the characteristics too. Mid-life crisis involve failure to adhere to a life plan for some, and surely they do not think of that as a personality disorder.

A myriad of definitions that border normal behavior is encompassed by understanding abnormal behavior. Questionable, analytical thought by psychologists has given way for classification of abnormal behavior and therapy. Progress appears to have happened as far as understanding the distinction. At least witches aren't burned anymore.