MadSci Network: Neuroscience

Re: What is the definition of 'aberrant', in the clinical sense?

Date: Tue Mar 26 17:34:54 2002
Posted By: Gabriel Vargas M.D.,Ph.D., Post-doc/Fellow, Neurosciences/Psychiatry
Area of science: Neuroscience
ID: 1000511261.Ns

Aberrant  As defined by Merriam Webster:

Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin aberrant-, aberrans, present participle of aberrare to go 
astray, from ab- + errare to wander, err
Date: circa 1780
1 : straying from the right or normal way
2 : deviating from the usual or natural type : ATYPICAL

Aberrant can be used in psychiatry and would mean essentially the same 
thing as the dictionary definition and would apply in the context of 
aberrant behavior meaning behavior which is not within the normal limits.  
It is not used in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental 
Disorders - Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), published by the American Psychiatric 
Association, Washington D.C., 1994, the main diagnostic reference of 
Mental Health professionals in the United States of America.  DSM-IV 
includes the Diagnostic Criteria for the most common mental disorders 
including: description, diagnosis, treatment, and research findings. 
The difficulty in applying the term aberrant in psychiatry is that what is 
considered aberrant in one setting may not be aberrant in another.  For 
example criteria for determining what constitutes a delusion (a bizarre 
belief) has the qualifier that: “The belief is not one ordinarily accepted 
by other members of the person’s culture or subculture (eg it is not an 
article of religious faith).”

Thus, in summary, the term can be used in psychiatry though normally it is 
not used and it would mean the same as the standard dictionary definition.

hope this helps,
gabriel vargas md/phd

Sadock and Sadock Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry
Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Current Queue | Current Queue for Neuroscience | Neuroscience archives

Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Neuroscience.

MadSci Home | Information | Search | Random Knowledge Generator | MadSci Archives | Mad Library | MAD Labs | MAD FAQs | Ask a ? | Join Us! | Help Support MadSci

MadSci Network,
© 1995-2002. All rights reserved.