The definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior expecting different results. This is actually not the real definition but its not that far from the truth. One of the real definitions of insanity is a “deranged state of mind” usually occurring as a specific disorder. In Alcoholics Anonymous meetings the definition of insanity is often said to be “ repeating the same behavior expecting different results.”
I see a definite relationship between AA’s view of insanity and one of the real definitions. Is the alcoholic or addict not in a “deranged state of mind” as they pursue the drink or the drug even though their life is falling apart? Years ago when I “doctor shopped” to get different pain medication prescriptions racking up bills from many different physicians, I wouldn’t say I was in a healthy state of mind. What about parents who sell their food stamps for drugs knowing their children are hungry. Would a “good parent” do that? A young man in his 30s steals from stores to get items that he can sell to inner city stores to get money for dope. He goes to jail for stealing and then when he gets out of jail he proceeds to steal again ending up in jail again. Is this not insane?
Chances are a person who has a “deranged state of mind” will at some point end up in a hospital where he/she will get help for their problems. Why is it that the young man who steals ends up in jail instead of in a hospital where he can get help for his problems. If I had been caught “doctor shopping” I would have been arrested. The parent selling the food stamps would be in trouble with the state they live in and probably would have to repay all the money and may even go to jail.
Alcoholism and drug abuse are considered a disease not a character defect. If it is a disease then why would a judge have any problem sending someone to a hospital for their “deranged state of mind”but instead throws them in jail.