YOU’RE CRAZY MAN! by Art Smukler, author & psychiatrist

What does crazy really mean? Dying your hair green? Spending thousands when you don’t have it? Dropping out of school to become a rock star?

Nope. Any of the above may be construed to be poor judgment, an adventuresome spirit or just silly, but not specifically crazy. In psychiatry, we define crazy in 2 ways — the existence of delusions and/or hallucinations.

A delusion is a fixed, false belief that is unshakeable by logic and not shared by most of society. “An alien is my best friend,” might fit into this category. BUT, in ET, Elliott, the meek little boy-hero, was contacted by a cute friendly, extraterrestrial who did become his best friend. Setting that example aside, if you believe you’re being contacted and possibly controlled by aliens, YOU are delusional, have lost touch with reality, and should seek treatment.

A hallucination, most commonly auditory, but also visual or tactile, is perceiving something that doesn’t really exist, except in your own mind. In the old testament, god commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. All 3 religions, Jewish, Christian and Muslim agree that this really happened, but disagree whether the son was Isaac or Ishmael. So when Abraham heard god speak to him, was this an auditory hallucination? Not in this world. Too many religious scholars and believers are in agreement that it actually happened. But, if YOU believe that god’s voice is directing you to kill your son, you are hallucinating and should get immediate help.

Any thought or ideas about being crazy?

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