Dementia and Sexual Disinhibition
On a newsgroup, someone asked:
I’m a student nurse from N E England, and I’m interested in finding out about other nurses experience of managing sexual disinhibition in patients suffering from an organic brain disorder (specifically dementia/Alzheimers etc). I am currently doing an essay about an incident in which a patient would often expose himself and masturbate in communal areas, causing distress to other patients and families etc. The consultant suggested a ‘behavioural’ approach to treatment, (rather than using medication),
involving re-directing the patient to his room (with the help of magazines) to ‘relieve himself’ in private. Fortunately, this plan of action was dismissed due to the legal/ethical/moral implications, and because the
patients family objected (not surprisingly).
How do people feel about this?
Misreading the original post, someone remarked amongst others…
> I believe your consultant is *way* off the mark. I have seen sexual acting-out behaviours in people who have mental retardation, and they are almost always related to anxiety or boredom.
To which, I wrote:
Whoah, hang on a sec here!
Any sexual “acting out” has to be related to anxiety or boredom? Maybe it’s related to a lack of a shag? Funny thing about people in long-stay care institutions is that they are supposed to be non-sexual.
There is a huge difference between a paraphilia and organic brain disinhibition. From what is described, I doubt this is a paraphilia.
Whilst masturbating in communal areas is not exactly the polite thing to do – having a patient who masturbates shouldn’t exactly cause one to invoke a deep or inner reason or meaning for such an activity. Nor should we take a professional stance that just because we as health care providers are aware that one of our charges likes to masturbate, that we *should* do something about it, or that there is a policy/rule-book somewhere for it.
The bloke masturbates – most blokes do masturbate, believe it or not, a lot of women do too.
Now, whilst discussing masturbation in polite company will often tend to induce a blush or two, a wank is just a wank. I`m amazed that anyone even thought to discuss it with the family. I`ve certainly never discussed my own masturbatory preferences with my family or anyone else’s family for that matter!
Ethical/legal considerations for giving a guy a jazz mag? Oh come on – get the guy a few copies of loaded and FHM magazine, that`ll do it. (Oh, one of the biggest problems about being in a total institution of any kind is to find the privacy to perform the natural and private functions of living. I`ve often wondered if those guys on Big Brother must wonder just where they could go to do what comes naturally without it being broadcast live to the masses. A tad embarrassing doncha think?)
Best to be careful to not let something like this become the entire focus of the man’s care and day to day living needs. I mean he`s been doing it all his life, it`s just the context that’s changed recently for him.