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In the media, we all see comedic characters who make us laugh and help us enjoy a movie, a sitcom, or a close friend of ours who we find hysterical.
In fact, Sani Dental Group knows that we all know or have a friend that constantly makes jokes and is the life of the party; however, what happens when our friends lose control? Can you imagine that terrible jokes are actually a brain disorder? When a patient is diagnosed with Witzelsucht this is the result.
What is the Disease?
Witzelsucht can be described as a neurological disease in which the patient makes puns or tells inappropriate jokes or pointless stories in socially inappropriate situations. In addition, in some rare cases, patients will suffer from hypersexuality and will make sexual comments at inappropriate times or situations.
This is an upsetting mental disorder and it is not to be considered a laughing matter, no pun intended. This 'Joking Disease' is not a joke, this is a disease associated with damage in the frontal lobe.
Fact: The disease is rare, it has only been documented 2 times.
Through tests, researchers have been able to determine the following symptoms associated with Witzelsucht.
When a patient is diagnosed with this disease they show an altered sense of humor, the patients will find it difficult to understand or fully interpret a joke’s content but can recognize the importance of the form of a joke.
The patient will often find non-sequiturs, slapstick humor, and puns to be the funniest since these forms of humor do not require the integration of content across sentences.
- Patients are unaware of their actions and are unable to comprehend or respond to others’ reactions.
- Witzelsucht is most common in people who have frontal lobe damage, particularly frontal lobe tumors or trauma.
- In rare cases, patients with Witzelsucht will be hypersexual.
Clinical Documentaries - Studies
Case # 1:
A 30-year-old, right-handed man was admitted to the department of neurology for irritability, inappropriate behavior, and morbid hyperphagia with obesity. His inappropriate laughter and persistent pun and joke-telling were a sharp contrast to his personality. The theological scholar, known for his exceptional memory, was behaving in a way that he had never behaved before.
To the patient, his behavior seemed normal, which explains why people remained non-discriminating toward his jokes, their context, and the way he acted towards others. Neurological examination revealed mild spastic right hemiparesis with minimal motor coordination and impairment of voluntary fine movements.
Additionally, verbal and performance tests showed evidence of poor concentration skills, high distractibility, and difficulty with visual-spatial tasks. The patient’s performance on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test was severely impaired, suggesting frontal dysfunction.
Case # 2:
A 56-year-old man, nicknamed KS, was admitted to the hospital with signs of a putaminal hemorrhage, including dense paralysis on the left side of his body and face, difficulty swallowing, and visual field defects on his left side. He then became euphoric and outspoken, speaking in puns and witticisms within an exaggerated smile.
He would work in puns and jokes while speaking his concerns about his other physical symptoms from the stroke in a coherent manner. Sometimes he would not crack a smile at something he said to make others around him laugh hysterically, while other times he could not appreciate others' jokes. During this time, KS also developed hypersexuality, using erotic words and inappropriate behavior towards the female hospital staff.
MRI tests showed bleeding at the right putamen, extending into the posterior and lateral portions of the right thalamus, and defects in the thalamus and right basal ganglion.
Today when a patient is diagnosed with Witzelsucht, he might be offered behavioral therapy; this treatment will help the sufferer re-learn their old behavior and realize that they are not acting like themselves. After this therapy treatment, many therapists recommend that the patients start taking additional mood-stabilizing drugs.
Medication such as serotonin producers and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, venlafaxine, are often used to help patients who suffer from Witzelsucht.
Your doctor will recommend daily doses of venlafaxine for up to two weeks, this medication often helps patients revert back to their original behavior. Two months after receiving treatment inappropriate jokes and hypersexual behavior rarely occur.
In 2015, Sani Dental Group will open its new facilities and will be able to monitor and take care of more diseases than before. Soon not only will we be able to protect and take care of your smile, but soon in Los Algodones, Sani Dental Group will be able to protect your frontal lobe from many diseases. We invite you to join our monthly Newsletter; in it, we offer our readers tips, new dental treatments, and much, much more.
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Sani Dental Group team is looking forward to taking care of your oral and overall health.