Traditionally, insanity or madness is the behaviour whereby a person flouts societal norms and may become a danger to themself and others. Greek tragedies and Shakespeare often refer to madness in this sense. Psychologically, it is a general, popular and legal term defining behaviour influenced by mental instability. In modern usage, it is most commonly encountered as an informal, unscientific term, or in the narrow legal context of the insanity defense. In the medical profession the term is now avoided in favour of more specific diagnoses of mental illness such as schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. When discussing mental illness in general terms, "psychopathology" is also considered a preferred descriptor.

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