>>Should doctors medicate people who laugh too much?

Should doctors medicate people who laugh too much?

I was recently made aware of a new (anti-laughter) drug “Neurodex” that treats a newly created disorder called Involuntary Emotional Expression Disorder (IEED) or Emotional Lability, and asked to share my thoughts about it.

My humble guess is that the person asking the question wanted me to say that this new drug is one more illustration of how the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is primarily driven by the psychopharmacological industry and pathologizes normal behavior, such as grief, sadness, shyness, healthy rebelliousness, and now…laughter.

Things, however, are not that simple.

Understanding the context

There are 5 main categories of laughter

From a medical and therapeutic point of view there are 5 main kinds of laughter:

  1. Genuine or spontaneous laughter. (Humor is a part of this.)
  2. Self-induced simulated laughter. (Easiest way to introduce laughter into your life.)
  3. Stimulated laughter. (Someone tickles you.)
  4. Induced laughter. (You take something.)
  5. Pathological laughter.

Pathological laughter is not healthy

Involuntary Emotional Expression Disorder (IEED) is a disorder characterized by involuntary emotional displays of mood that are overly frequent and excessive. In the laughter world it is part of a form of pathological laughter referred to as PLC (Pathological Laughing and Crying) or Gelastic Seizure. People find themselves laughing uncontrollably at something that is only moderately humorous, being unable to stop themselves for several minutes or longer. (It is not infrequent for people subject to this to laugh themselves into exhaustion.)

Check the stats. It is more frequent than you may know: Involuntary Emotional Expression Disorder is most commonly observed after brain injury, people with dementia expressing a psychosis of some sort, or degeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig disease), people with pseudobulbar palsy, and approximately 10% of multiple sclerosis patients.

My answer

While the risk of massive abuse exists with such a drug (e.g., in a mental hospital “Tommy gets on my nerve when he laughs, let’s give him some neurodex to have some peace”), you can reasonably conceive that in some specific cases, say someone with M.S. who wants to socialize yet can’t control their laughter/crying, such a drug can be justified as a short term solution.

I can only pray that the trained medical professionals who will be prescribing Neurodex will do so very wisely.

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2016-02-03T20:56:13+00:00 Blog Laughter Therapy|

About the Author:

Sebastien Gendry is an American expert on laughter and how to unlock its many benefits to promote wellness and wellbeing in everyday life, at home and at work. A work-related burnout and ensuing journey towards recovery led him to discover and fall in love with the world of therapeutic laughter in the early 2000s. He has since traveled close to one million miles over the past decade offering a variety of laughter and empowerment programs to 1,000s of people on four continents, and continues to do so. [Read more.]


  1. staceyaveriela October 7, 2016 at 7:26 am - Reply

    hey um my friends laughs too much and when she laughs i laugh is it bad. should we get medication or is it fine ,by the way we laugh for no reason on a random time and we laughed for an hour . we cant even drink water and we make up a random

    • Sebastien Gendry November 1, 2016 at 11:13 am - Reply

      “Too much” is a viewpoint. Compared to what? Otherwise if any activity, laughter included, creates physical distress then you should consult a medical doctor.

  2. PizzaKhayali January 30, 2017 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    Everytime my class tells a stupid joke, I am the first and the last one to laugh in class. My classmates tell me to stop laughing but I just can’t. And sometimes this led me to trouble. My teachers kick me out of class whenever they tell me to stop laughing but I laugh harder. My mom always calls me crazy when I laugh at something “not funny”. My stomach hurts me hard after I eat and laugh. I also laugh when I feel anxious or shy around people. Is this normal?

    • Sebastien Gendry January 30, 2017 at 6:03 pm - Reply

      If you find yourself unable to control your laughter on a daily basis, week after week, month after month, and it is negatively impacting your social life then you may want to look into what is truly triggering you and get professional help. A safe and immediate first step would be to develop more inner peace by meditating daily. Ask youtube for ideas on how to do this. Aim to spend at least 30 minutes morning and evening doing this. Build up to this over time if it’s difficult for you.

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