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the signs? How can you protect yourself from it?
Overview and facts:
This poorly known disorder, also called "Grumpy
Old Mad" or "Grumpus", affects a large
percentage of the population. While no studies have been
done, current estimates state that between 20-40% of the
population suffers from the disorder. Though the name of
the syndrome reflects the extremely high percentage of
older males that are struck with the disease, it can
affect either sex at any age. Comprehensive statistics
It is unclear when the disorder was first discovered
and named. It is believed to have been present since the
dawn of man. Scientists speculate that it may have
developped as a survival strategy. Older men, being less
able to physically repel predators, may have developped
this behaviour as defense against them. What hungry bear
could match the fury of a fuming, steaming,
self-righteous man, yelling and pointing at the beast?
Early Homo sapiens families may have tolerated the
presence of a Grumpus and his behaviour, as it would also
have increased their own chances of survival against
raiding or hunting predators. Such families, generally
being able to survive better than those without a
Grumpus, served to entrench the genetic basis of this
behaviour in later generations.
Archeologic excavations have shown that a large stone
was often placed directly outside the cave entrance, for
the comfort of the protecting Grumpus. Also provided were
such items as a platter of food, and some form of drink,
believed to have been made from fermented vegetable
matter. These are believed to have evolved into the
modern day behaviours such as chair territoriality, porch
sitting, and beer drinking.
Paradoxically, with the invention of such devices as
the radio, television, and other information ressources,
modern living has allowed the disorder to become very
accute in patients, and the percentage of people
suffering O.M.S. is steadily rising. It is believed the
brain of people who suffer this particular disorder was
never designed to store data well, or use it logically.
The already confusing pattern of emotionality and illogic
becomes overloaded by the bombardment of information
available today. While this is not fatal to the patient,
the symptoms have generally become much more pronounced
than ever before, and the suffering it causes has grown
to epidemic proportions.
The mechanisms in younger O.M.S. sufferers, as well as
female sufferers, is poorly understood. Research into a
possible testosterone link, incidences of prior head
trauma, and previous Grumpus exposure are pending. In all
cases, genetics is believed to play an important factor.
Loss of functional abilities:
- Inability to think rationally and logically.
- The inability to think before speaking
- The inability to remain quiet on any subject, or
hold back one's thoughts' or opinions.
- Displays extermely poor short-term memory. Whole
conversations that happened only moments ago can
become completely forgotten for all time.
Cognitive distortions (mistaken beliefs):
- The belief that their own thoughts and beliefs
can actually affect the world.
- The belief that the patient has highly predictive
abilities in forecasting events.
- Very specific belief that the government is an
institution that knows everything people are
doing, except for themselves, because they are
too smart, and the governement could never
possibly figure out what they've done.
- Believes their pet conspiracy theories were
founded by them before anyone else was aware of
- Unusually persistent belief in the patient being
more knowledgeable than everyone else in the
world. Though untrained and inexperienced in a
variety of fields, patients are absolute in their
certainty of the superiority over trained
doctors, accoutants, analysts, etc.
- Belief that meals should appear the moment the
patients' hunger becomes apparant to themselves.
- Intolerance to new ideas, new approaches, new
people. Almost violently resistant to any change,
personal or worldly.
- An excessive need to control others' actions and
- Loud, manipulative, usually angry, often when no
cause seems apparent.
- Inconsiderate of possible pain or humiliation the
person may be inflicting on others.
- Excessively nosey. Neighbours are usually the
prime targets of their curiosity. Also displays a
tendency to believe the neighbours are up to no
good. However, can appear friendly and jovial
when actually talking to them. (scientiests
believe this trait developped as a method of
seeking out danger before it got too close to the
No laboratory tests have been devised to accurately
diagnose patients. Diagnostic methods involve assessing
the degree of affliction by satisfying a number listed
criteria below: The higher the score, the more severe the
syndrome is present. A score of "3" is usually
taken to mean that symptoms are only starting to manifest
themselves, and it could be many years before the
disorder becomes intolerable. A score of "10"
usually warrants seeking professional help immediately.
- Listens to news programming for more than
2 hours a day.
- Displays excessive territoriality over
- Hears different words when being spoken
- Must be the loudest person in the room
- Rarely looks into the eyes of the person
he/she is speaking to or about.
- Hordes financial documents, as proof of
their superior financial intellect. May
also horde newspaper clippings, emergency
supplies, and coupons.
- Frequently references the past in such a
manner as "In those days, we
really knew how to...", or
references the present as "All
screwed up!", and "...about
- Patients often show a lack of ability in
manipulating tv remote controls,
microwave ovens, and radio alarm clocks.
It goes without saying that the computer,
though amazing because "You can
talk to someone on the other side of the
world!", are beyond their
abilities to master. O.M.S. sufferers
often consider computers the structural
weakness of society, which will cause a
collapse of the Western World very soon.
- Often owns a collection of books
supporting their favorite conspiracy
- Neighbours often evacuate the scene upon
hearing the patient in the
vicinity.(though not a symptom per se,
can be used as a good indicator that
O.M.S. is present in the patient)
- Show overwhelming concern with lawn
maintenance and snow removal. May mow the
lawn or plow/shovel snow more often than
once a day. (Seasonal symptoms)
- Illogically cheap. Will drive 10 clicks
to save 10 cents on toilet paper.
- Will tell complete strangers their
beliefs, their life stories, how they
should proceed with what they are
currently doing, often forcefully.
Treament and Care
This is a most frustrating disease, as no treatments
have been devised. The usual course of action is to help
the friends, family, and poor passers-by, to learn to
cope more comfortably with the patient's affliction. The
psychological trauma for the entourage of the patient can
be extremely grave. Relationships are often stressed to
the point of abandonment. Frequently, close family will
develop disorders such as depression, anxiety, fatigue,
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and other stress related
disorders. Since there is no known therapy for O.M.S.,
the health of those around the patient becomes the
Support and ressources
As the disease is still very poorly known, there are
no official programs to help either the patients or their
- Patients can however often find solace in
meeting peers. Social settings such as
meeting friends for breakfast at the
local coffee shop, or becoming involved
in a local same-interest group, often
gives the patient an outlet to completely
let loose their symptoms upon others of
like mind, who often also suffer from
O.M.S. When the patient participates in
such activities, they often return home
fatigued, but satisfied, giving a well
needed break to the rest of the family.
- Also, sometimes getting a part-time job,
or working at home, or finding projects
that the patients enjoy, gives them both
a clearer foothold on reality, as well as
a place to release some of that inner
criticalism in a more beneficial manner.
sufferers enjoying fellowship and comeraderie at
local social establishment.
Family and support persons are advised to follow the
the following coping strategies:
- Whenever possible, leave the vicinity of the
patient. This is by far the most useful coping
mechanism, and should be considered the prime
option whenever permisseable. All other methods,
though helpful to a degree, cannot compare with
the effectiveness of this choice.
- Avoid bringing up subjects that are known to
trigger the patient into displaying their
- Do try to bring up subjects that you know will
start a conversation that you can tolerate, and
that the patient will enjoy. Happy childhood
memories are a good example. As patients usually
suffer from poor memories, they can be induced to
discussing the same stories time and time again.
- Do not reorganize furniture, paperwork, meal
times, etc. O.M.S. sufferers are very sensitive
to change, posess poor short-term memories, and
volatile temperaments. No change in environment
can be so small as to go un-noticed by the
- Whenever possible, agree on points made by the
patient, even if you know they are wrong.
Debating, even while using clear logic, will not
sway the patient's beliefs, and will only cause
hostility among all involved. Nod and agree with
- Families of O.M.S. sufferers should learn not to
take things personally. This can be quite
challenging. It must be understood that the
patient is seeking approval, attention,
self-worth, as so many of us are. It is sad that
their need for these is so poorly expressed, but
these are symptoms of a disorder they have no
- Whenever possible, leave the vicinity of the
|Article submitted by Dr. Osera,
|web master, author, and
lifetime O.M.S. caregiver.
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