The description of which includes: “Recurrent and intense sexual fantasies; sexual urges and sexual behaviour lasting at least six months.” I kid you not, these are the symptoms of hypersexual disorder. I think this describes almost all healthy men and a high percentage of women in any new or loving relationship. But wait, it gets even more ludicrous when they cite their reason for wanting to list this as an actual disorder, “Because some people have recurrent, 'out of control' sexual behaviours that are not inherently socially deviant.” Have they not just stated that the reason they want this listed as a disorder is that it does not fall within deviant behaviour? The only words I can see in that description that might be mildly concerning is “out of control”. Out of whose control, specifically? It begs the question, “what defines ‘out of control’”? Certainly not public masturbation or similar such practices as exposing oneself, because they do fall within the confines of deviant behaviour. What might be considered ‘out of control’ for one person, could be perfectly chaste for the next. This suggests that the only definition of ‘control’ might be defined within the boundaries of the law and consenting adults. This description makes it sound that any person who has sexual urges, fantasies and behaviours for longer than six months are suffering from a sexual behavioural disorder, rather than being in love or enjoying his or her body.
Binge Eating Disorder
The experts define binge eating as, “Eating any amount of food that is larger than what most people would eat in a given period of time under similar circumstances”. Not exactly a mind-blowing differentiation from ‘the norm’. The condition is further described as, “A binge eater could eat much more rapidly, eat until feeling uncomfortably full or eat large amounts of food when not feeling hungry.” Once again, they’ve just described the vast majority of the Western population enjoying Sunday lunch! Apparently, binge eating is further defined as occurring at least once a week for three months. The article also states that researchers say that it may also be tied to obesity. “Ya think?”
The main debate of this one is whether or not the symptoms earn the badge of “withdrawal” as with alcohol or heroine. Withdrawal is defined as a series of physical and emotional symptoms that are triggered by the cessation of the drug. The article says, “After ending heavy and prolonged use of cannabis, people with this disorder have at least three symptoms such as irritability, anger or aggression; nervousness or anxiety; insomnia; decreased appetite or weight loss; or restlessness.” Are you kidding me? Most people who are heavy users of this (or any other) drug are usually medicating an emotion with which they are ill-equipped to manage such as, oh let’s see, irritability, anger, nervousness or anxiety and insomnia. Most people who have some knowledge of the drug’s effects are familiar with “the munchies”, the insatiable hunger brought on by the use of cannabis so the decreased appetite is a bit of a no-brainer. I’m not suggesting that anybody who has been heavily using this drug would not suffer because of its cessation. But perhaps that could be partly attributable to their only coping mechanism having been removed, leaving them to deal with emotions and situations they were trying to avoid in the first place.
I think it astonishing that they can class over-eating or eating when not hungry as “binge eating” and yet a drop in hunger when ceasing to use Cannabis is considered a “decreased appetite”. Per-lease! It concerns me that the industry often tries to take normal human reactions and behaviours to situations of a stressful nature, and stretch them to fit some frightening sounding disorder that needs medication. Binge-eating, sex and drugs are merely self-prescribed medications. So how is a pill prescribed by a doctor any better or more effective than these dark, home remedies? Both are dealing with symptoms rather than cause.
Recently a woman was asking about anti-depressant medication that was prescribed by her Doctor. She was uncertain about taking it, having never done so before, and was wisely questioning this route by asking her friends for advice. Most came back with helpful and supportive advice for her and made comparisons of the drug she was prescribed and what they, themselves, were taking. The woman who was asking the question had been prescribed these drugs after having experienced one of the most traumatic losses to which a parent could be subjected. That of her own child, some weeks prior. Her ‘depression’ was not depression but the normal human process of grief following a traumatic and shocking loss. Sadly, there is no pill to counteract such tragedies in a person’s life. I was saddened that a doctor had prescribed a pill rather than helping to normalise for her, the feelings that she was experiencing and explaining the importance of allowing herself to go through this process.
People can get too caught up on labelling the behaviours that result from stressful or unpleasant situations in life. Part of the problem is that we put far too much stock in what professionals tell us about ourselves. The truth is that we have been human for thousands of years. We know how to do this. We know what we need. But our culture has steered us away from the normal practises of being human, both causing and encouraging us to be independent. To communicate via text, email or phone; work from home; meet prospective partners on-line, thereby breeding isolation and disconnection from one another. Our values and focus have shifted from us as a collective to me as an individual.
The key is not to look at the behaviour and try to remove it, but to look at your life and identify the gaps in your lifestyle that are feeding these behaviours. Empowering yourself to fill those gaps removes the need for the behaviour. Be sure that the foundations of your contentment are put together with strong bricks. Look for cracks and repair them, before it all comes crumbling down around you. Are your relationships equal, fulfilling and supportive? Do you get the recognition you need and deserve for the contributions you make at work and home? Do you feel heard and understood by those closest to you? Does your life and its daily grind hold meaning and purpose? Do you feel you are maintaining a modicum of control in important areas of your life? Are you eating nutritious food, exercising regularly and sleeping well? If you answered “Yes” to all of these, then you have the support and elements of resilience you need to help you weather the storms that life will, undoubtedly, throw at you.
If you answered “No” to any of these questions, then these are the starting points of any behavioural or emotional challenges you might be facing. Address these by taking action rather than medication!