>>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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2018-04-03T17:27:40+00:00 Laughter Blog|

About the Author:

Sebastien Gendry is a speaker, trainer and consultant, expert in laughter for wellness and wellbeing. He played a major role in introducing Laughter Therapy in North America, Russia, Palestine and other countries, inspired the creation of 100s of Laughter Clubs worldwide, and is the creator of the Laughter Wellness method. He has been offering a variety of laughter programs every year on three to four continents for the past decade and continues to do so.

12 Comments

  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.

  3. Diana October 18, 2017 at 5:18 am - Reply

    For some reason, whenever one of my brothers tell a joke that’s apparently somewhat funny that I think is hilarious, they laugh and I laugh so hard I end up practically wheezing, and they stop laughing and start laughing at me laughing. Sometimes I can’t even breathe and I have to try as hard as I can to calm myself. It’s especially bad when I’m drinking something or eating soup, because I spit it all over whoever’s next to me when I laugh. They jokingly say I have a problem with laughing too much, but do I actually have a problem?

    • Sebastien Gendry October 18, 2017 at 8:46 am - Reply

      Hello Diana. It is impossible to make general comments on specific situations. Overall if your laughter experience is a pleasant one for you then there is nothing bad or wrong about it. What others think is their opinion and they are entitled to it. It just doesn’t have to be yours. Genuine laughter does disrupt the status quo because it is contagious and gently leads people to open up their box of emotions – the whole thing. Those who do not want to deal with their own will therefore often either leave the room and/or object to and find fault with those who can.

  4. Diana October 18, 2017 at 9:09 am - Reply

    Ok, thanks! It makes me feel better knowing I don’t have some kind of problem with laughing.

  5. Asante November 15, 2017 at 11:50 pm - Reply

    I always laugh too much when I’m around people I feel shy with…. This is hurting me too much please what should I do.. Please I need immediate solution for this

    • Sebastien Gendry November 17, 2017 at 8:58 am - Reply

      Hello Thomas. I don’t know. Consider reaching out to a professional in your area who can help you with this. What you describe may be linked to a lot of internal tension, and is so then a possible answer is with acceptance of who you are. Laughter coaching would help a lot. Ask google.com and you will find several in South Africa where I believe you live. Also consider http://www.laughteronlineuniversity.com/practice…/

  6. Kimberly Harrington April 5, 2018 at 2:53 am - Reply

    My name is Kim I laugh so much that most of my day is spent on laughing. I can laugh for periods of for then 3 hours at one time and still laugh a lot through out the day. I crack everyone up even people I don’t know. People get annoyed with me exspeacely my children. I am called a special kind of weird. Mostly I enjoy it but sometimes it’s so overwhelming that I plead for my husband to save me and plead to God to have mercy. I have felt close to passing out and have lost of control with my bladder. I really do not want to take sike meds. I have been inbarraced but that makes me laugh even more. I get strange looks in public witch causes me to laugh harder cause people can’t figure me out. I have people ask if I’m high. It’s more like a natural high. Not sure what to think but it has helped me to lose weight. But most usually I end up very tired with week muscle.

  7. Dori April 11, 2018 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    Hello Sebastien! I would like to know what do you think about my laughing conditon.
    Since I was a child I remember having these extended laughing episodes and now that I am 24 I still do.
    The idea is that whenever something funny/silly/stupid happens (or which I can interpret like this) I laugh for several minutes.
    What causes me this laughter? I have observed my behavior and realized that my brain reproduces the same laughing event several times even when the event has ended in the real life. Or furthermore, one funny thing elicits more funny situations that might have happened months or years ago and that’s it, I cannot stop laughing.

    From one point I enjoy my laughing, but from another point, I feel bad about it because I cannot control and it can happen in different situations and this makes me feel embarrassed. Sometimes I was asked to leave the room/activity/the auditorium just because of this.

    How serious does this sound? Should I consult a doctor to explore further this issue?

    • Sebastien Gendry April 12, 2018 at 5:49 pm - Reply

      Hello Dori. Keeping in mind that giving advice is easy and that the following is only my humble opinion, I encourage you to look at this from a different perspective. Beyond pondering whether or not your laughing is right or wrong, does it make you feel good? If it does, then ignore whatever anybody else is saying and keep living your life accepting yourself as you are. If it comes to that then be mindful of others and pro-actively leave any space that requires silence until your laughter fits stop. It’s a simple matter of respect, not right or wrong behavior. Likewise, if someone in any environment where it is safe to be you feels uncomfortable about you laughing so much, then that’s their issue and not yours. Let them visit a doctor for treatment is that’s their pleasure.

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