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View Full Version : Condition that might cause someone to stand up, spin in a circle, and sit down . . . then repeat?



geminirising
08-27-2016, 07:52 PM
In high school, I remember a guy who once stood up in the middle of taking a test, spun in a circle, and sat back down. He did this the entire time he took the test. No one knew what was going on, and he was admitted to a facility shortly after. When he came back to school, he didn't exhibit his behavior again (at least that I saw). Could anyone identify what condition/disorder might have caused this behavior? I'm writing a character who has a similar episode and want to portray it as accurately as possible.

Lauram6123
08-27-2016, 07:58 PM
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

Siri Kirpal
08-27-2016, 09:37 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

There was a dancing plague in the Middle Ages. Don't know what caused it, but it might be worth investigating.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

cornflake
08-27-2016, 09:39 PM
Being a cocker spaniel?

Tourettes?

WriterDude
08-27-2016, 09:42 PM
Tourettes springs to mind.

geminirising
08-27-2016, 10:23 PM
Thank you all! I'm going to look into both OCD and Tourettes.

MaeZe
08-27-2016, 11:07 PM
Tourettes is about uttering profanities uncontrollably.

OCD is the only thing I can think of that would fit such behavior. OCD leaves a person having to continually repeat a ritual behavior or paralyzed with fear of something such as dirty door knobs so you can't go outside.

cameomac
08-27-2016, 11:20 PM
Long time lurker here. Tourettes can cause people to swear uncontrollably, but there are many different kinds of verbal and physical "tics" people can experience. For example, my son, who has a low-level diagnosis, blinks his eyes heavily (more like a wince than a blink) and repeatedly makes a sort of coughing/startled noise. (No swearing or words whatsoever.) Other kids with diagnosis that I've met through the course of Stephen's diagnosis and treatment had stronger tics, such as arms shooting out uncontrollably, "barking" sounds, etc. Hope this helps.

cornflake
08-27-2016, 11:29 PM
Tourettes is about uttering profanities uncontrollably.

OCD is the only thing I can think of that would fit such behavior. OCD leaves a person having to continually repeat a ritual behavior or paralyzed with fear of something such as dirty door knobs so you can't go outside.

Neither of these are correct.

Tourette's is a disorder that causes gross-, fine-motor, and verbal tics of all sorts. The cursing thing affects a very small percentage of Tourette's sufferers. The behaviour described in the OP could very well have been a result of having Tourette's, as well as of other things, but it'd be one of the simplest explanations.

The ways OCD can manifest are vast - many people do engage in rituals, and can have fears of various things, but that's, like the Tourette's thing, a very narrow and pop culture kind of view of the disorder.

Cindyt
08-27-2016, 11:47 PM
Thank you all! I'm going to look into both OCD and Tourettes. Good idea. I knew someone with OCD who used to take a step, spin, take a step, spin.

SBibb
08-27-2016, 11:59 PM
My first thought was OCD, since that can cause a person to go through a specific behavior pattern. That's not the only symptom, but it might be worth looking into. You might take a look at the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) for more information.

Roxxsmom
08-28-2016, 12:15 AM
I'd agree with the others. Tourettes Syndrome can manifest with physical tics as well as vocal ones. Obsessive-compulsive disorder can create pretty strong compulsions that lead to ritualized behaviors. Neither of these make a person a danger to self or others as a rule, so it seems odd that the person would be admitted to a facility for this (there are medications that can help with both). Unless the tic or compulsion manifested in a way that was life threatening, or he was harboring obsessive thoughts about suicide or something.

WeaselFire
08-28-2016, 06:27 AM
Hypnosis.

Jeff

Xelebes
08-28-2016, 06:28 AM
Some other issues:

Autism: sensory disintegration can cause a person to do customary behaviours to get their senses back together so that they can soldier on. This was a common problem for me especially in grade 2 but instead of stepping out, I would crawl under the desk. Later behaviours would have me stepping out of the classroom on my own. But I can imagine someone who finds a repetitive behaviour can easily accomplish the task.
Restless Leg Syndrome: legs have to move. Typically a problem during sleep but it can also be a problem when having to be still. The spinning around would simply be a movement to satiate a pain building up.

Cindyt
08-28-2016, 06:33 AM
Hypnosis is more interesting and adds another layer to the plot--the character has no memory of being hypnotized or he does but can't break from it.

Chris P
08-28-2016, 06:45 AM
Long time lurker here. Tourettes can cause people to swear uncontrollably, but there are many different kinds of verbal and physical "tics" people can experience. For example, my son, who has a low-level diagnosis, blinks his eyes heavily (more like a wince than a blink) and repeatedly makes a sort of coughing/startled noise. (No swearing or words whatsoever.) Other kids with diagnosis that I've met through the course of Stephen's diagnosis and treatment had stronger tics, such as arms shooting out uncontrollably, "barking" sounds, etc. Hope this helps.

I knew a guy with this level of diagnosis. He would occasionally gasp loudly, like an inhaled hiccup, and the eye symptom you described is right on. We lived in Uganda at the time, and people told me (I never noticed it myself) he wouldn't have the stutter or gasp when speaking the local language; only when he was speaking his native English.

Dancing plagues are sometimes caused by toxicants, usually produced by mold. The Salem Witch Trials were a type of mass hallucination caused by mold on wheat, and there was recently an outbreak of dementia in Tanzania that could have been (we don't know yet) caused by consumption of local mushrooms possibly synergized by aflatoxin-producing mold on corn and peanuts. None of these, however, respond to therapy. They just go away once the mold levels go down and the body clears the toxicant.

The only other thing I could think of would be a brain injury, but that too would not be cured by therapy.

Chris P
08-28-2016, 06:55 AM
Hypnosis is more interesting and adds another layer to the plot--the character has no memory of being hypnotized or he does but can't break from it.

I think anyone pursuing this would be well advised to look into it. I'm only going on what people have told me, but I don't think you can hypnotize someone against their will. Even when they are under hypnotic suggestion, it's quite likely they can break it if they want, and I'm also told sleep returns the person to normal.

An idea that popped into my head: Classical conditioning. In college they told us about The Little Albert Experiment (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Albert_experiment), where a child was trained to fear a harmless object due to the experimenters clanging a steel bar any time Albert reached for the object (here, a lab rat). For your story, could the character be subject to some sort of conditioned response? Of course, an adult can overcome a conditioned behavior although conditioned feelings are harder to overcome.

MaeZe
08-28-2016, 06:59 AM
Neither of these are correct.

Tourette's is a disorder that causes gross-, fine-motor, and verbal tics of all sorts. The cursing thing affects a very small percentage of Tourette's sufferers. The behaviour described in the OP could very well have been a result of having Tourette's, as well as of other things, but it'd be one of the simplest explanations.Thank you for that clarification. One always has more to learn in these matters.


The ways OCD can manifest are vast - many people do engage in rituals, and can have fears of various things, but that's, like the Tourette's thing, a very narrow and pop culture kind of view of the disorder.I believe I did cover the fact OCD had a range of behaviors.

I still question that a tic could manifest as the behavior described in the OP. But I'd be interested in any papers you might link to just out of curiosity.

MaeZe
08-28-2016, 07:01 AM
Long time lurker here. Tourettes can cause people to swear uncontrollably, but there are many different kinds of verbal and physical "tics" people can experience. For example, my son, who has a low-level diagnosis, blinks his eyes heavily (more like a wince than a blink) and repeatedly makes a sort of coughing/startled noise. (No swearing or words whatsoever.) Other kids with diagnosis that I've met through the course of Stephen's diagnosis and treatment had stronger tics, such as arms shooting out uncontrollably, "barking" sounds, etc. Hope this helps.Yes, that helps a lot, maybe not for the OP, but I'm always interested in learning more about such things. :)

blacbird
08-28-2016, 07:09 AM
Running for the Presidency of the United States.

caw

Cindyt
08-28-2016, 08:50 AM
Well, it depends on if it's nonfiction or fiction and how far the writer wants to take literary license. In the film (I know, but it's an example) Stir of Echos Keven Bacon's character is hypnotized and can't completely break out of because, well here's the link http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0164181/
I think anyone pursuing this would be well advised to look into it. I'm only going on what people have told me, but I don't think you can hypnotize someone against their will. Even when they are under hypnotic suggestion, it's quite likely they can break it if they want, and I'm also told sleep returns the person to normal.

An idea that popped into my head: Classical conditioning. In college they told us about The Little Albert Experiment (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Albert_experiment), where a child was trained to fear a harmless object due to the experimenters clanging a steel bar any time Albert reached for the object (here, a lab rat). For your story, could the character be subject to some sort of conditioned response? Of course, an adult can overcome a conditioned behavior although conditioned feelings are harder to overcome.

-Riv-
08-28-2016, 10:09 AM
I still question that a tic could manifest as the behavior described in the OP. But I'd be interested in any papers you might link to just out of curiosity.
Here's a quick reference.

From https://www.tourette.org/about-tourette/overview/what-is-tourette/


Motor Tics


Motor tics are movements. Simple motor tics include but are not limited to: eye blinking, facial grimacing, jaw movements, head bobbing/jerking, shoulder shrugging, neck stretching, and arm jerking. Complex motor tics involve multiple muscle groups or combinations of movements and tend to be slower and more purposeful in appearance,(e.g., hopping, twirling, jumping).


Tourette Syndrome manifests with both motor (fine or gross) and vocal tics. I once had a client with a Chronic Tic Disorder diagnosis (no vocal tics) who would stand up, grimace, and sit down again. This seems to parallel the situation in the OP's question.

All the best,
Riv

Old Hack
08-28-2016, 10:48 AM
A child I knew had OCD and an anxiety disorder. He felt compelled to spin in a circle before doing anything he felt a little anxious about.

When he was about twelve his class went on a school trip, where there were all sorts of fun activities arranged. One of those activities was archery. The children were told that only the person with the bow could stand at the shooting spot; the rest of them had to stay behind that spot, in a line so they could all see what was happening.

When it was our OCD friend's turn he was given a bow and an arrow, shown how to hold it and how to pull it back, and fire. He took up the bow, pulled the arrow back beautifully... and then spun in a circle, with all his schoolfriends lined up nicely in a row behind him. My son was there, and said that it happened so quickly no one had a chance to move before the kid had finished his circle, took aim, and shot the target perfectly.

cornflake
08-28-2016, 10:49 AM
To add (http://psychcentral.com/disorders/tourettes-disorder-symptoms/)to what Riv posted (thanks, Riv!) -


Coprolalia, a complex vocal tic involving the uttering of obscenities, is present in a few individuals (less than 10%) with this disorder.

Coprolalia, a complex vocal tic involving the uttering of obscenities, is present in a few individuals (less than 10%) with this disorder.

geminirising
08-28-2016, 05:59 PM
Thank you all so much!! I'm going to take a look at the DSM and all the information you shared. I'm not exactly sure where/why he was admitted, only that he "went away" to a hospital for about a week. This is fascinating!

cornflake
08-28-2016, 06:29 PM
That, btw, is the oddest part to me. The disorders and behaviours we've been discussing are treatable, in that, depending on the person, the severity, the type of treatment, etc., the symptoms can be ameliorated to some degree. However, if there were something that'd just kill off a tic in a week, everyone would be using it.

Meds help some people, CBT helps some people, very little of it completely "cures" people (some people with OCD do end up being able to live fairly free of what the disorder brings), but none of it will do it in a week.

Twick
08-31-2016, 09:13 PM
Not an expert, but you might have someone with delusions from an impending psychosis that made him think that spinning protected him from some sort of threat.

Frankie007
08-31-2016, 09:29 PM
Some other issues:

Autism: sensory disintegration can cause a person to do customary behaviours to get their senses back together so that they can soldier on. This was a common problem for me especially in grade 2 but instead of stepping out, I would crawl under the desk. Later behaviours would have me stepping out of the classroom on my own. But I can imagine someone who finds a repetitive behaviour can easily accomplish the task.
Restless Leg Syndrome: legs have to move. Typically a problem during sleep but it can also be a problem when having to be still. The spinning around would simply be a movement to satiate a pain building up.


officially i have ASD. unofficially i have RLS. both have me doing odd movements, sometimes at inappropriate times.