Saturday, May 17, 2014

Are you depressed? Try sex

Have you ever experienced the healing power of sex before? Then you must be living in the past if you think that sex has no other value apart from pleasure and procreation. Beyond these, when you are depressed or suffer from neurosis, sex is a quick and affordable therapy.

Many relationships have been spiced with sex and love, and such testimony of romance is everywhere. A couple walk to the altar hand in hand during daytime but by night time, they are floating on cloud nine. Yet, a few weeks later, the initial rush of romance would have dissolved and the world may not appear as rosy anymore.

Experts say love and romance have long lasting effect, and that the best moments for couples are the first few days into their marriage, partly because of the sexual experience. While honeymoon period may only last for the first few months of a relationship, love and romance can have long lasting positive effects, a study has revealed.

It is a common saying that behind a great man, who has achieved any great feat, is a woman somewhere. Beyond the rhetoric, Sigmund Freud, an Austrian Neurologist, who became known as the founding father of psychoanalysis, said any man who has achieved a great feat has a woman that is activating his libido. He was of the opinion that all the activities of human beings are dictated by libido, a sexual drive.

One hindrance to such pleasant experience is neurosis. You too may be suffering from it, as it cuts across our daily living and easily accessible by people in this part of the world. It is a relatively mild mental illness that is not caused by any organic disease, but involves symptoms of stress, depression, anxiety, obsessive behaviour, anxiety about one’s health, but not a radical loss of touch with reality.

Many people may be neurotic in a place like Lagos, Saturday PUNCH has learnt.

Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr. Adeoye Oyewole, explained that in a place like Lagos, many people are stuck in traffic endlessly, besieged by the thought of how to get home, the stress of driving and worry about what to eat among many other things. He said when the stress stimulants accumulate, it could cause anxiety disorder especially when the coping mechanisms are overwhelmed.

“Neurosis is not as major as psychotic disorder, that is why romantic relationship, relaxing, religious exercises and spirituality can relax anxiety disorder,” Oyewole said.

Beyond emotional distress, self-awareness of psychological problems, occupational disturbance, disturbance of social life and troubled personal relationships are all common symptoms.

It has nothing to do with madness; it is just about being depressed, sad or worried about things. When you are stressed and life seems to be straining you, try a romantic adventure with your spouse. If that does not work, then you should be knocking at the door of a psychiatrist.

According to a recent research undertaken by psychologists at the German Universities of Jena and Kassel, it was revealed that being in a relationship can have a positive effect on personality development in young adults, and even reduce neuroticism.

Researchers report on this finding in the online edition of the science magazine Journal of Personality.

One of the psychologists in the study, Dr. Christine Finn, said neurotic people are relatively anxious, insecure, and easily annoyed, and that they have a tendency towards depression, often show low self-esteem and tend to be generally dissatisfied with their lives.

“However, we were able to show that such people become more stable in a love relationship, and that their personality stabilises,” the psychologist says.

It was learnt that neurotic people process influences from the outside world differently. Finn says that they react more strongly to negative stimuli and have a tendency to interpret ambiguous situations negatively instead of positively or neutrally.

The scientists found that this tendency gradually decreases over time when being in a romantic relationship, and that the positive experiences and emotions gained by having a partner change the personality, not directly but indirectly.

To put it more simply, love helps us to tackle life with more confidence instead of seeing things pessimistically straight away.

Oyewole says, “Love is a great motivator in life. Apart from the fact that it helps us to tackle life with more confidence, libido is tied to great activity because it motivates us.

“When somebody connects to our libidinal energy, which we call romantic love, the healing of both the mind and body is more powerful than what pastors might tell us. This is because the action, reaction to romance, talks and actual sex gets you motivated.”

He explained that the tendencies of neurotic patients decrease over time when in a romantic relationship because a good romantic relationship has access to our emotions. “Things you can’t even tell your pastor or reverend father, you can tell somebody you are in love with, or somebody you are excited about. The person can counsel you, assure you that he believes in you, and all those things can help you. When you now have actual sex and you have one or two orgasms, you can imagine the effect on your muscle and body.”

The psychiatrist said psychosis on the other hand, is a severe mental disorder in which thoughts and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality. However, in terms of neurosis, which is also called anxiety disorder, like having bad dreams, being aware of one’s heartbeat, good sex may be a good therapy.

“That is why people must find somebody they love to marry. The effects of long and happy relationship when compared to the short one are enormous. If anyone is trapped in a relationship, it could be a bondage, but when it is long and happy, it is good for the mental health. It also gives inner satisfaction and fulfilment,” Oyewole said.

Just as a relationship that is marred with fear and plight can be toxic to physical and mental health, the feelings of love, being loved and enjoying sexual relationship have a lot of medical or clinical indices that enhance mental and physical health. So, the feelings of love, romance and the erotic feeling that we have also have positive effect on the health generally.

Findings showed that there are hormones of fear and plight, which are associated with when a supposedly good relationship is estranged with hatred. Hence, the anxiety neurosis is oftentimes a product of stress, and when the stress is released through a romantic relationship, all the things about the romance, the talk, touch and actual sex is therapeutic, which relieves anxiety neurosis.

In case you are neurotic, seeing as it is not a terrible disease as many might have thought, romantic love can just be the drug. When somebody you love looks you in the eye and talks to you, you know how it feels. You feel good and on top of the world. When people marry those who would make life difficult for them or somebody they are not sexually attracted to, it makes them die young.

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