Ever watched the news and rolled your eyes at the celebrity claiming an addiction made them do it?
OK, how about a criminal claiming it was a disease that made him do it?
With a husband in Kentucky claiming "caffeine intoxication" made him go off his rocker and wrongly confess to murdering his wife, we forgive you for acting like a big ol' judge-a-roo. The No-Doze never made us confess to strangling anyone either. Although it did help us get that term paper done.
But in honor of Woody Will Smith, how about a look at a pile of real diseases that don't get people the credit they deserve?
1. Depression: It's not "all in our heads," so much as it's a problem with the chemicals in the brain. Physical, real chemicals. And it affects 9.5 percent of the population -- male and female.
2. Lactose Intolerance/Gluten Allergies: No, they're not "just a diet thing," they're life-altering pains in the tuchas for the people who deal with them. And feeding them one of the verboten foods isn't funny -- it can make them super-sick.
3. ADD/ADHD: Not a teacher's code for "I can't deal with this kid," it's a psychological term, and you have to meet DSM IV diagnostic criteria for impulsivity, hyperactivity, and/or inattention to be diagnosed. Another surprise: it's not just for kids. Adults can have attention disorders as well.
4. Chronic Fatigue: You call it lazy, the CDC calls it a "debilitating and complex disorder characterized by intense fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and that may be worsened by physical or mental activity." Who's really getting out of work to have fun here?
5. Fibromyalgia: Affecting some 5.8 million Americans, it's not a disease, technically. So you're half right. But this disorder characterized by chronic widespread pain, multiple tender points, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbances, fatigue, and often psychological distress is a syndrome recognized by the American College of Rheumatology.
6. Restless Legs: They aren't kicking you under the sheets just so you'll hand over the quilt and be quiet. The neurological condition causes the legs to move uncontrollably, and it can happen anywhere from every 20 to 30 seconds to intermittently throughout the night, disrupting sleep and making sufferers totally miserable.
7. Migraines: The fact that this is totally overused by people who want to make you feel bad about their regular run-of-the-mill headaches does not lessen the intensity of these debilitating headaches that can force sufferers to hide in a dark, cool room for hours until the intense throbbing finally subsides. They also happen to be three times more common in women than men; so give the ladies a break.
8. Heavy Menstrual Cramps: Not all cramps are considered equal. While some women go throughout their daily life regardless of the time of the month, 15 percent of women experience debilitating pain, often with no medical explanation for the severity.
9. Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity: Long pooh-poohed, the range of symptoms some people report experiencing as a result of the electromagnetic fields around computers and other electronics is being taken seriously by the World Health Organization these days.
10. Tourette Syndrome: Screaming curse words is fun when you're unbelievably mad at the world. But Tourette (it's not Tourettes) Syndrome is both more complicated and completely neurological. The people with Tourette experience facial tics and verbal tics that can include grunting, coughing, and more -- not always curse words.
Do you have a disease people think is fake?
Image via the Italian voice/Flickr