Imagine a disease whose main symptom is abuse of bad jokesjokes with inappropriate content, a very positive self-perception about their own jokes, but a great sarcasm insensitivity. It seems that we are describing a tweeter, but in reality it is a disease, known as Witzelsucht. People who suffer from it have in common the affectation of the right frontal lobe of the brain, responsible for control of attention and planning over our own actions. Therefore, when it is damaged, impulsive, self-centered or socially incompetent behaviors are generated.
It was first described by the German neurologist Hermann Oppenheim at the end of the 19th century. Specifically, he treated four cases of people with what seemed like a addiction to inappropriate jokes. In addition, they had exaggerated laughter at their own jokes, but did not seem to understand sarcasm. Therefore, she decided to name the condition Witzelsucht, since in German witz means joke and sucht translates as addiction.
All of them had tumors in the right frontal lobe of the brain, so it was clear that this was the origin. And the point at which it would be necessary to influence to try to deal with the situation. Since then, the scientific literature has collected several more cases, with small variations, but many points in common. All of them were triggered in adulthood after the development of a brain tumor or injury. So if you’ve been telling bad jokes and laughing at your own jokes all your life, don’t worry. You’re not sick, you just have a quirky sense of humor.
When your brain makes you addicted to inappropriate jokes and bad jokes
The jokes and pranks of the affected people vary a lot from one to another. However, they usually have some Points in common. For example, it is quite common for them to have sexual or political content. Having said this, we must insist: seriously, the tweeters are fine.
One of the cases found in the scientific literature is that of a 54 year old mans, affected by the Pick’s disease. This is a rare neurodegenerative disease, which mainly affects the temporal and frontal lobes of the brain. As this pathology progressed, the patient began to behave strangely. Among them stood out bad jokes and inappropriate jokes, poor hygiene, childish behavior and excessive laughter to their own occurrences. Such was the situation that came to cost him the dismissal of his work.
His case was described in an article in which the doctors who treated him noted that while they examined him he could not control his jokes, often sexual in content, and then burst into loud laughter. She also started dancing as if she were in a disco or treated the toilets in a way disrespectful. She even pulled two of them by the ties, comparing them between laughs.
You can also read about the case of an eminent 30-year-old theologian. Despite the seriousness of her profession, she gradually began to show unusual behavior for him. did not stop doing jokesHe seemed addicted to meaningless puns Y he laughed like crazy at his own jokes. Upon undergoing a computed tomography of his brain, it was found that the right frontoparietal area was affected, for which he was diagnosed with Witzelsucht.
And the same diagnosis was also made by a 59-year-old man who, after recovering from a cerebral haemorrhage started having a hypersexualized behavior. She often hugged young women in a totally inappropriate way and accompanied these gestures with unpleasant jokes. The situation was unbearable for her wife, not only because of that, but also because he used to wake her up in the middle of the night to tell her, between laughs, the bad jokes that had occurred to him.
In an article published about him in the BBC some of the jokes he referred to in the interview were shown. For example: “How to cure hunger? Stay away from the buffet table.” Apparently there were many more, but they did not dare to reproduce them because of their sexual content.
The patient was unaware of the inappropriateness of his jokes. Luckily, he was able to be made aware of it and at least went on to write the jokes in a notebook instead of letting them loose right and left. It was an advance, but logically not the ideal solution.
Can it be treated?
In some cases operate on the tumor itself may be the solution. But the involvement of the brain is not always due to a tumor and it is not always possible to intervene.
As for drugs, some improvements have been reported with venlafaxinea drug that acts as serotonin and norepinephrine reuptaker. The jokes and bad jokes have not completely subsided, but have become almost imperceptible, allowing patients to lead a normal life. Because yes, when humor gets out of control it can also negatively affect a person’s life. That’s another reason for those who have been telling bad jokes all their lives not to worry about their health. In your case, some looks of disbelief and compassion will be the most negative thing that they bring.