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Madness

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In psychology, madness, insanity or craziness is associated with human behavioral patterns which are highly abnormal, poorly understood, sometimes bizarre, which appear nonsensical and possibly dangerous for a person or for others. It is a general term applied to cover a wide range of mental illnesses, typically the extreme ones, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, and not to more common problems such as neurosis or obsessive compulsive disorders like excessive hand washing. A person described as mad or crazy is often seen as out of control, or beyond control, and in a mental state in which they are unable to listen to reason; indeed, it is often marked by anger and sometimes violent acts.

In Mythology

In the Aeneid by Virgil, the Carthaginian queen Dido was so depressed by being rejected by her lover Aeneas that she committed suicide which is sometimes seen as a type of madness. Another example is from Greek tragedy. The Greek hero Ajax who became delusional, at the behest of the goddess Athena, and killed dozens of sheep, thinking incorrectly that the sheep were Greek warriors. Embarrassed, Ajax committed suicide also, according to the version by the Greek playwright Sophocles. He was unable to compromise or be reached by the pleas of his lover who urged him to forgive himself since he had an infant son.

In Psychiatry

In Britain there was a mental hospital in a London borough at Bechenham known as the Bethlem Royal Hospital; since the usually deranged inmates made lots of noise, the word bedlam originated, a contraction of the word Bethlem; bedlam is an adjective meaning a confused uproar such as in a madhouse.