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Comparative Mental Disorders

  1. Mar 9, 2010 #1

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    Are there any mental disorders that could be classified as beneficial? In addition, can the malevolent disorders be at all ranked by order of malevolence?

    It seems to me that OCD would be one of the best disorders to have, even if it is not net beneficial.

    Also, I don't know where to put this, so feel free to move it where it should be.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 10, 2010 #2
    No. OCD sucks. I've got it mildly, as to where I can function like a normal human being without repeating everything I do, but there are some things that well yeah.

    Having any sort of disorder sucks, but if I were to have one it would have to be the vocal turrets syndrome. Excuses to swear!
  4. Mar 10, 2010 #3

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    Oh don't worry. I'm not denying that OCD sucks, I'm just wondering if OCD can be better or worse than other mental disorders like paranoia or optimism.
  5. Mar 10, 2010 #4
    Optimism doesn't sound like that bad of a disorder!

    Paranoia would suck hard.
  6. Mar 10, 2010 #5
    Schitzophrenia is probably one of the worst if it's really bad. However some people who get one type of mental illness have two or more other types of it. So having ocd and manic depression would be fun im sure.
  7. Mar 10, 2010 #6

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    Oh yes, it would. I tried being paranoid for a day once. I couldn't do it. My mind just couldn't accomodate that complete a lack of trust.

    However, optimism doesn't seem that great when you are a pessimistic misanthropic cynic. And I am at least two of those things. And none are disorders.

    Of course, optimism was the joke of my post. Every one of my posts in this area will contain a joke, a rant, or a sarcastic remark.

    Tourette's wouldn't be that great, in my opinion. Not being able to control my mouth...

    However, split-personality disorder could be fun. Hey, it's possible.

    And schizophrenia? Brrr....
  8. Mar 10, 2010 #7
    I believe that technically a disorder is something that prevents you from functioning 'normally' so by definition it could not be an over all benefit. You might say that some phobias are beneficial by reducing the likelihood of being exposed to something dangerous. This would likely become a detriment again though by reducing ones ability to think clearly in the dangerous situation that they are afraid of.
  9. Mar 10, 2010 #8


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    You're assuming "normal" is the best of all possible conditions.
  10. Mar 10, 2010 #9
  11. Mar 10, 2010 #10
    I used 'normally' as a simplification for something I do not have the time to really consider how to properly phrase without making use of subjective wording. One who does not 'function normally' is not necessarily possessed of a disorder though we usually refer to people who have disorders as 'not able to function normally'.
  12. Mar 10, 2010 #11


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    My DX is paranoid depression, you can count those out as being cool to have lol.
  13. Mar 10, 2010 #12

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    Well that sounds like a disorder right there!

  14. Mar 10, 2010 #13
    There is one disorder I can think of that has a potential upside and that is Geschwind's Syndrome. This is a constellation of personality traits that sometimes accompanies temporal lobe seizures.

    One of the traits is called "hypergraphia" and this is the compulsion to write, doodle, make lists, draw - just about anything that can be done with a pencil or pen. The content of the writing is usually philosophical or religious, demonstrating a concern with morality, ethics, the plight of the underdog and the oppressed, and there are frequent digressions into extraneous detail. There is a lot of underlining, capitol letters for emphasis, use of different pen colors, and illustrative doodles and sketches. However, in some people the emphasis is primarily on record keeping in the attempt to make up for the memory problems that seizures cause.

    Most people with hypergraphia can't write worth a damn, but they push forward filling up notebook after notebook spurred on by the overwhelming feeling they have something important to say.

    In some cases, though, the sufferer actually manages to harness this compulsion to write and doodle and practice it with discipline. Dostoyevski and Lewis Carrol, both diagnosed with epilepsy during their lives, are considered to have written ex epilepsia. Dostoyevsky is classic Geschwinds, and many of Alice's distorted sensory experiences are observed by the neurologically savvy to be among the simple partial seizure symptoms. Van Gogh was also diagnosed as epileptic, and was witnessed having complex partial and grand mal seizures (but for some reason people keep trying to diagnose him with all kinds of other problems). He's an example of someone who channeled his hypergraphia primarily into art: his rate of output was insane, two or three paintings a day, but he also, at the same time, wrote a huge volume of letters to his brother. Author Whitley Streiber is another writer known to have a diagnosis of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy and a lot of people feel his reports of alien abduction are false memories arrived at in recalling snatches of hallucinatory experiences he had during complex partial seizures.

    One epileptic I know from an epilepsy forum was employed for years as a newspaper editor, and another had actually written a book that was published. He and his wife managed a motel in Maine and he wrote a book of character studies of some of the stranger guests who'd stayed at the motel. A third guy there wrote crosswords for a London daily paper. Contrast that with a bipolar forum I used to visit. Bipolar people are alleged to be very creative but not one person there ever reported having made any money from writing.

    Temporal Lobe Seizures do not make you a good writer, but they do make you an obsessive writer and some manage to hone that urge into good writing.
  15. Mar 10, 2010 #14


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    Mhmm.. I see.. So tell me, how do you feel about your mother?
  16. Mar 10, 2010 #15
    That brings to mind Kerouac and Voltaire. Kerouac was very serious about stream of consciousness writing ("first thought best thought") and I hear would fix sheets of paper together end to end so he would not have to pause to change sheets in the typewriter.
    Voltaire apparently refused to put a work down until he was finished and would supposedly drink up to 40 cups of coffee a day to stay awake while writing.

    Philip K Dick was crazy though I am unsure if he had a natural disorder or the effects of his early drug use. He suffered many hallucinations which he wrote about in VALIS and, knowing about his delusions, you can see the influence all through out his writing.
    I've mentioned before an interesting book he wrote called Clans of the Alphane Moon which describes a space colony populated by escaped asylum inmates which divided into clans based on disorder and evolved an interesting culture and politics.
  17. Mar 10, 2010 #16
    The book Seized by Eve LaPlante goes into great detail about the many famous authors believed to have seizures. I only mentioned the ones I know who got an official diagnosis.

    At age 48 Anthony Burgess (A Clockwork Orange) was diagnosed with a brain tumor and told he had a year to live. Thinking he only had a year to leave his wife some financial security from royalties he sat down and furiously wrote six novels. Then he didn't die. He kept writing and ended up putting out something like 30 books before he actually did die in his 80's. From his prodigious output and the misdiagnosed neurological episodes I have often suspected he was actually having temporal lobe seizures which resulted in hypergraphia.

    Often people who have something wrong with them take to drinking or drugs, which then muddies the water when trying to figure out the primary problem. So it's very hard to say about P.K.Dick.
  18. Mar 10, 2010 #17

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    In responses to the posts concerning me...

    Why do I try to have a joke, rant, or sarcastic remark in every post? Because one thing that I dislike, possibly above all others, or high up there, is being boring. I add humor or angry rants to avoid being boring. In the case of the rants, I also want to get something off my chest.

    My relationship with my mother is just fine. It's the other people outside my family, outside my friends, whom I can't stand.
  19. Mar 10, 2010 #18


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    So how long have you been afraid of clowns?
  20. Mar 10, 2010 #19
    This is going to get expensive for you char.
  21. Mar 10, 2010 #20

    Char. Limit

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    Clowns? What are clowns and why should I fear them?

    The only thing that I truly fear are little, flying insects.
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