Counselling helps clear misconceptions on health


Counselling helps clear misconceptions on health

Misinformation from the popular media about sexuality often replaces no or little information about such a universal experience by us.

By Staff Reporter

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Published: Sat 21 Dec 2013, 8:36 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 12:28 PM

Salim came only reluctantly for the interview with his parents. They were concerned over his growing disenchantment with life and social aloofness. Both of them were tense as if they had committed a blunder in rearing him properly, said Dr Subas Chandra Pradhan, Specialist Psychiatrist, Zulekha Hospital, Sharjah while explaining details of a case he had handled recently.

When asked regarding his problems, he was a bit shy but rather upfront at the same time. “I am having Body Dysmorphic Disorder.” This is a condition characterised by intense preoccupation with an imaginary defect in part of one’s body.

Quite intelligent and amiable in nature, he was a good student and excelled in extra-curricular activities as well. Things were going as expected until he reached his early teens.

He wanted to go to a neighbouring country to represent his state in athletics but his parents were not willing considering the security concerns. He was not very happy and in fact became passively aggressive towards them by defaulting at school.

Then came these thoughts of perceived disfigurement of his face. Initially he kept it to himself but later he mentioned it to his parents. He was given the diagnosis by the treating doctor who thought he fulfilled the diagnostic criteria of the condition according to the text book. It certainly came as a relief for Salim as finally his suspicions were true.

He even stopped going to school. Part of this was obviously designed to punish his parents for being too demanding.

I wanted to talk to him alone. He was clearly dissatisfied with the expectations imposed by his parents who treated him as a kid. He believed he was grown up enough to think on his own without them. But the final flood gate opened when I enquired regarding his sexual fantasies, a practice most often neglected even by the trained practitioners for the sake of modesty.

He was little taken aback but then narrated his most intimate thoughts after letting me promise never to mention this to his parents.

He developed his first crush on one of his cousins and began to self-stimulate. He was ashamed of this practice but simply could not do without.

It was considered wrong according to the holy Quran and the guilt was overpowering. He began reading more about it from the internet including the common side effects of this cardinal sin. He came up with a list of them. On the top was a typical facial appearance associated with excessive masturbation.

The first session was on education about the issue and I thought that as well could be the last session.

Misinformation from the popular media about sexuality often replaces no or little information about such a universal experience by us.

A single educational session can make a huge difference.

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