Illness Or Excuse?

I tend to get a little sceptical and cynical about the raft of ‘new age’ illnesses and ‘syndromes’ that have sprouted up over recent years. Are they due simply to an advancement in medical science or, is it the desire of certain physicians to make a name (or profit) for themselves? My scepticism is fueled slightly by the fact a large proportion of these new conditions appear to be discovered in the USA, a country where even the family pet kitty can get extensive psychotherapy to cure its ‘adiction’ to mice, for a price of course!

Now I have no wish to put down or belittle anyone who has a condition (of any sort) that adversely affects their life however; it appears that many people ‘suffering’ from these new ‘conditions’ appear to be children or young persons. Why is this? Could some of the ‘illnesses’ actually be down to bad behaviour, tantrums, poor parenting, the fact that kids expect freedoms before they have the knowledge, experience and maturity to exercise those freedoms?

One example of a ‘new syndrome’ (shown below), came to my attention the other day and was probably what prompted my thought process. That is not to say I am attempting to rubbish the existence of Kleine-Levin Syndrome (KLS) in any way, or detract from the difficulties being suffered by anyone diagnosed with the ‘condition’. My only reason for using KLS was to give an example of my point…

Kleine-Levin Syndrome (KLS): a rare and complex neurological disorder characterized by periods of excessive amounts of sleep and altered behavior. The disorder strikes adolescents primarily. At the onset of an episode the patient becomes progressively drowsy and sleeps for most of the day and night (hypersomnolence), waking only to eat or go to the bathroom. When awake, the patient’s whole demeanor is changed, often appearing “spacey” or childlike. When awake he experiences confusion, disorientation, complete lack of energy (lethargy), and lack of emotions (apathy). Most patients report that everything seems out of focus, and that they are hypersensitive to noise and light. In some cases, food cravings (compulsive hyperphagia) are exhibited. Instances of uninhibited hypersexuality during an episode have also been reported. (Kleine-Levin Syndrome Foundation)

I will leave it to the readers to decide if KLS (and others) are real, implied or invented by ambitious doctors trying to earn a crust? If nothing else comes out of my thoughts perhaps a wider section of the public will have heard of KLS and understand it a little better?

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