Today we have all heard of someone who is addicted to adrenaline. People who play adventure sports or are exposed to high-risk situations in order to feel the burst of energy caused by adrenaline that generates the danger.
Skydiving, jumping, hang gliding, climbing … Most people who practice it are looking for intense experiences, but they are aware of the risks and take precautions so that the risk is controlled.
However, there is a condition in which the perception of danger is non-existent and the exposure to the danger ceases to be within the limits of what is controllable. This is Pontius Syndrome, which we will talk about throughout this article.
What is Pontius Syndrome?
It is called Pontius syndrome a rare and unusual disorder consisting of loss of perception of danger and fear., Which is linked to an overproduction of adrenaline. This syndrome also involves some dependence on adrenaline and the acquisition of tolerance to it, which tends to involve regular exposure to dangerous situations and the need to actively seek them out.
In this syndrome, there is a lack of control over behavior as well as a compulsive need to resort to high-risk activities. The person looks for risky activities, which can endanger his or her survival, just by feeling adrenaline. There is a lack of awareness of the danger and the activities are carried out without the subject being emotionally altered, also not producing well-being, but there tends to be some level of frustration, anger or frustration. constant discomfort that is relieved by exposure to risk.
Unlike people who love adrenaline and this type of activity, who despite this type of activity know the danger they run, in the case of Pontius syndrome this factor does not exist: the subject considers that the situation at risk is safe and that there is no danger, having lost the sense of danger.
What are the causes of this condition?
Pontius syndrome is currently not recognized by the medical or psychiatric community and knowledge in this regard is rather limited. However, neurological abnormalities have been observed which seem to be the cause of the disorder,
The main problem presented by people with Pontius syndrome is the presence of very high adrenaline levels caused by impaired development of the cranial nerves 5.2 and 6 (trigeminal and abducens), which are overdeveloped. Its hyperfunction and link to other brain nuclei affects the production of adrenaline, increasing from its normotypic values and eventually causing addiction, tolerance and the need for strong experiences to feel good. and emotional reactions, such as fear.
While this is not a cause in and of itself, the truth is that Pontius syndrome could be linked to the presence of high levels of personality traits called openness to experience or sensation seeking. It is not a matter of someone with high levels of this trait having Pontius Syndrome, but whether it will be much more likely that someone with the syndrome will have high scores. Likewise, a person with strong sensation seeking is more likely to exhibit similar behaviors if they acquire adrenaline addiction.
Pontius syndrome can have repercussions in different areas. In the workplace, the tendency to look for risks can lead to accidents, difficulties in coping with tasks that may involve unnecessary or excessive risk, even conflicts and fights with colleagues and superiors. It may also involve the emergence of legal issues, such as the commission of petty crimes (for example, being arrested for climbing a building without ropes) or the imposition of fines. At the social and family level, there may also be difficulties depending on the level of risk assumed by the subject.
Beyond that, it should also be borne in mind that the continued presence of high levels of adrenaline in itself has an impact on the body. It should be noted in particular the risk of heart problems if maintained for a long time, as well as hypertension and hyperglycemia. Furthermore can cause long-term restlessness, stress and anxiety, as well as trouble sleeping, blurred vision, irritability and nervousness..
Pontius syndrome has received very little attention and there is no specific treatment, although different types of treatment can be used to try to alleviate symptoms.
At the psychological level, it is possible to first analyze the patterns of thought, beliefs and emotions, and then use different procedures. On the one hand, it is possible to try to do cognitive restructuring to modify beliefs, cognitive biases and maladaptive behaviors.
This can help the subject to establish cognitive control over their behavior. In turn, procedures similar to those used in drug treatment can be applied. You can also work from exposure to prevention in response to situations that would normally cause risky behavior.
Medically or pharmacologically, it is possible to work either to reduce adrenaline levels or to surgically treat the damage present in the cranial nerves mentioned above.
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- Zull, J. (2002). The Art of Changing the Brain: Enriching the Practice of Teaching by Exploring the Biology of Learning. Sterling, Virginia: Stylus Publishing, LLC.