Jim is a 48-year-old Caucasian male that shows a sign of depression and possibly Asperger’s, which is a form of Autism but a more high functioning kind. His behavior seems normal to Jim but abnormal to everyone else. Although Jim can uphold a stable job his interactions with fellow coworkers is almost nonexistent. As well as the nonexistent relationship he has with his coworkers Jim does not see his own family even though they live in the same city.
To understand Jim’s behavior and individual must take into consideration the six primary elements of abnormal behavior. Those elements are “suffering, maladaptivness, and deviancy, violence of standards of society, social discomfort, irrationality, and unpredictability” (Butcher, 2010, Pg. 4). Jim shows no sign of physical suffering, but he is suffering from lack of social ineptness. Jim understands that he may be a bit socially awkward but does not seem to care. Although suffering is an element of abnormality in many cases, it is neither a sufficient condition nor even a necessary condition for us to consider something as abnormal” (Butcher, 2010, Pg. 4). Jim unquestionably suffers from a bit of maladaptivness because of the fact his awkwardness hinders him from forming good long-lasting relationships with anyone in his life.
Even though Jim does not think he has an abnormality, according to the rules of society, he is abnormal. Jim’s awkwardness, according to society is abnormal only because mostly his actions are rare. If something is statistically are and undesirable (as is mental retardation), we are more likely to consider it abnormal than something that is statistically are and high desirable (such as genius) or something that is undesirable but statistically common (such as rudeness)” (Butcher, 2010, Pg. 4). The way Jim responds to social cues makes it obvious that he does suffer from something abnormal.
“Violation of the Standards of Society: All cultures have rules. Some of these are formalized as laws, others form the norms and moral standards that we are aught to follow” (Butcher, 2010, Pg. 4). Jim’s awkwardness and brutally honest answers may come off as rude to society. Those who do not understand that Jim suffers from a disease may find him unfriendly. His actions would be considered a violation of the standards of society. Although Jim does not believe he is acting abnormally or that his behavior is different society would consider his behavior completely abnormal “When someone violates a social rule, those around him or her may experience a sense of discomfort or unease” (Butcher, 2010, Pg. 4).
Of course, Jims reactions and statements have caused others discomfort and anxiety. “Although a little unconventionality may add some spice to life, there is a point at which we are likely to consider a given unorthodox behavior abnormal” (Butcher, 2010, Pg. 4). Jim stays ‘under the radar’ and does not ever show too many signs of irrationality or unpredictability. His behaviors and social cues obviously are unpredictable but anyone who knows Jim understands that sometimes he does not follow social cues and his reactions and responses may not be ‘normal’.
After looking through the six primary elements of abnormal behavior Jim suffers from at least three out of the six. Jim’s symptoms seem to line up with Asperger’s Disorder which was considered a mental disorder in the DSM-IV but will be taken out in the new version. According to the DSM-IV some of the criteria that a person must meet to be diagnosed with Asperger’s is “multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expressions, body poster, and gestures to regulate social interaction.
Other conditions one must meet are failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level, lack of spontaneous seeking to hare enjoyment, interest or achievements with other people, and lack of social or emotional reciprocity” (Diagnostic Criteria, 2002). An individual must show at least two of these particular things to be considered to have Asperger’s. Although in the DSM-IV considered Asperger’s a mental disease they have currently added this disorder to the ‘autism spectrum disorder’.
Many of the negatives that will follow with this change are possibilities that people will not be properly diagnosed as well as funding for certain services may not be covered. Unfortunately, the difference between someone who is suffering from Asperger’s vs. someone who is suffering from Autism can be completely diverse. Many individuals who suffer from Autism are extreme cases and can barely function in society at all. With Asperger’s being a high functioning disorder there is high possibilities that those who suffer from this disorder can lead ‘normal’ lives as Jim did.
One of the pros of having a classification system such as the DSM-IV is that psychologist can convey in simpler terms the symptoms and information for not only the other doctors but also family members of the individual suffering. When my sister was first diagnosed with Asperger’s they gave us information on this disorder in terms that we could not understand. With the DSM the psychologists can better help everyone understand about the disorder. The DSM also makes it easier to narrow down a search for a disorder.
If someone has multiple symptoms a doctor can take a few searches through the DSM and be able to assess the individuals. Some of the disadvantages of the DSM system are that when a person suffers from a disorder according to some of the diagnoses an individual must be suffering from ALL of the symptoms which are not always the case. The goal of this system is to help communicate but not be the solution for the problem. Many also say that this type of system creates a preconception that can be bias and our perception and interpretations may be different.
In conclusion, Jim most definitely suffers from a mental disorder according to the DSM-IV but this will change soon. Jim suffers from a form a high functioning form of Autism called Asperger’s and most likely will always suffer. His attitude toward others may never change and he most likely will always be alone. The changes being made to the DSM will be hard for those who suffer to be properly diagnosed because they must meet all the specific criteria’s in the Autism Spectrum Disorder which may not be the case for each individual. The DSM most definitely has its advantages and disadvantages.