Medical Definition of Automatic behavior

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Automatic behavior: A behavior that is performed without conscious knowledge and that does not appear to be under conscious control.

This curious type of behavior occurs in a number of neurological and psychiatric disorders. The neurologic disorders associated with automatic behavior include narcolepsy (the sudden recurrent uncontrollable compulsion to sleep) and some forms of epilepsy (such as psychomotor epilepsy). The psychiatric conditions associated with automatic behavior include schizophrenia (catatonic type) and fugue (flight) states.

Automatic behavior involves doing something "automatically" and not remembering afterwards how one did it or even that one did it. Automatic behavior is also called automatism.

CONTINUE SCROLLING OR CLICK HERE FOR RELATED SLIDESHOW

SLIDESHOW

Heart Disease: Causes of a Heart Attack See Slideshow

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Reviewed on 12/27/2018