Health & Fitness

Overly active? It may be mental condition

Boisterousness could point to mental illness
Boisterousness could point to mental illness. PHOTO | COURTESY 

What may be the underlying cause of boisterousness? I have a friend with this annoying habit.


Just in case some reader may not be familiar with the word boisterous, it means, noisy, energetic, and cheerful. It could also connote lively, active and animated. One could also see the word to indicate gusty, or blustery as in the gusty wind storm.

From the foregoing, it sounds as though your friend is much like a storm and one wonders how you can keep such as a friend. Life, as you will see below, is full of wonders and there are times when opposites seem to attract and even bind together. We will assume that you are a calm, collected and restrained person for whom order and orderliness are what define you. If that be the case, you and your friend are opposites that attract and in your case are bound together, at least for the time being.

A few years ago, we saw a 40-year-old woman who had come to the hospital on account of what she called exhaustion. As she told the admitting doctor, she could no longer lead life on the fast lane as directed by her husband of 15 years. He was simply too fast for her and she needed what she called some down time to recalibrate herself and her priorities. She complained that whenever she told her husband that she needed some down time he sulked and told her she did not care for him enough. She was now tired, confused and desperate for some emotional support and understanding.


She was for a few days, allowed time and space to be with herself and she was, on very light sedation allowed to sleep for many hours. She was later to learn that this was her time to pay the now overdue sleep debt that she had accumulated over many months of poor sleep due to anxiety. After three days she was feeling refreshed, relaxed, and was able to open up to the therapist. In many ways, her case was not a difficult one and the doctor was able to give the team a clear explanation as to the origins of her problems.

The clue as to the nature of the problem was there for all to see on the day of her admission. She came ready and was all packed and was clearly not going back home that day. She even knew what part of the ward she wanted to be admitted to. The room faced the warm morning sun away from the afternoon heat at the hospital.

When the medical team arrived in her room they all noticed (but did not comment) on how clean and fresh her room was. Everything was in the right place. The flowers, cups, towels, and shoes were all neatly arranged and visibly in their place. The desk was also neat to a fault. The Bible, writing material, and some magazines were all arranged perfectly. Later the nurses spoke about how clean and tidy the bathroom had been and only matched by the arrangement of her clothes in the wardrobe. They were to learn later that the lady was a perfectionist in her personality.

When her husband appeared a few days later, he was very much like your friend and could only be said to be boisterous. He arrived in the ward looking like a hunter from the movies. A big green hat to match his jungle fatigues and rather untidy safari boots which had not been cleaned since the last safari. Some said he might not have had a shower for a few days. He spoke loudly in a husky boisterous voice that revealed him to be a man who was impatient by nature. Told that the doctor was engaged and might not be able to see him for a while, he spoke his mind and left the nurses wondering how he could be the husband of such a calm and gentle woman. He made uncomfortable statements about how the nurses looked and walked and was clearly a man used to having his way all the time.

That, as it turned out was the precise problem. Two opposites had met and married and were now going through some problems. Our patient had had enough of the social disinhibition of her husband and wanted out.

During therapy it was confirmed that she had features of obsessive compulsive personality and he had ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Both accepted treatment and when last seen, she was less of a perfectionist and he was less obviously boisterous.