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Protocol crisis Protocol crisis
by Joseph Gatt
2020-11-10 10:16:20
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My second medical science paper. My first paper was on a psychiatric condition I called the “culture shock syndrome” which could be revised and updated.

This paper is on a psychiatric condition I will call the “protocol crisis.” Some call it the “mid-life crisis” but the condition tends to be poorly understood, and often misunderstood.

The stereotypical mid-life crisis signs are that of an older man who dresses and behaves like a teenager, wears colorful clothes, has unusual haircuts, and behaves recklessly with women, while hanging out with a younger crowd.

prot001_400_01But in medical science you need to be a bit more precise than that.

I call it the “protocol crisis.”

That is, most men and women in their lives have to obey a certain protocol. The protocol could be workplace rules, house rules, or general life rules.

Examples of workplace rules could be a dresscode, a formal attitude, a formal approach to tasks and formalities with colleagues and with people in the hierarchy.

Examples of house rules could be getting dinner ready by a certain time, cleaning the house, not smoking or drinking inside the house, respecting religious and cultural norms within the house, and keeping the etiquette.

Examples of general life rules could be keeping your job, saving money, budgeting, planning the future, planning the children's future and so on.

A “protocol crisis” could occur at any age, could start as early as 12 or 13, and is often found among men in their late 30s or early 40s, in some cases women around that age as well. But a protocol crisis could hit a man or a woman at 50, 60 or even older.

What is a protocol crisis.

It is a behavioral change where the man and the woman completely (or partly) break away from the protocol.

At the workplace, they could refuse to obey the dresscode, could refuse to perform the tasks, could refuse to obey the formal attitude, could refuse to perform tasks according to protocol, could refuse formalities within the workplace.

That's the man or woman who is going to show up to work in jeans or shorts, who is going to start playing music at the workplace, who is going to suggest that we sing or dance at the workplace, who is going to suggest “we go get a drink” instead of working.

Some companies deal with these cases by “ostracizing” the worker that is “locking” the worker in an office and not allowing him or her out of the office, especially if they hold an important role within the organization. Then they wait for the storm to pass.

Other organizations fire the employee, or in many cases the employee “fights the system” and then is forced to quit.

At home, a man or woman with protocol crisis could start sleeping too much (or too little). They could start bringing “friends” without prior notice. They could start throwing parties every day. They could act or behave in indecent manner. And very often they start dating other men or women (in the presence of the wife and children).

And in life a man or woman with protocol crisis could spend their entire life savings in a very short span of time. They could start making very, very risky investments. They could start changing plans for the future on a very regular basis. And they could start neglecting their basic duties, including cooking, cleaning or watching over the children.

So it's not very poetic. It's not men in their 50s who start smoking spliffs and hanging out with 20 year olds. It's a lot more tragic than that.

Why is this a medical condition? One possible explanation is an overflow of cortisol levels in the body that can lead the individual to release the cortisol (the “stress hormone”) by behaving in more “gratifying ways.” That is, the brain chemistry is saturated with cortisol, and the brain starts demanding a regular feed of endorphins.

That is, the excess of stress hormones leads to damage of the frontal lobe in the brain, and the frontal lobe is responsible for “socially appropriate behavior” and “logic.”

Tip: if you meet a guy or a girl who seems to have no sense of logic whatsoever (for example they could say something like “don't wear a coat in the winter because it will make you sweat and give you frostbites” or a series of illogical statements like those, that's usually a sign of a damaged frontal lobe. Stress (cortisol) damages the frontal lobe, and many people who grew up in violent households, live in violent neighborhoods or attend violent institutions tend to have damaged frontal lobes. They say that coffee, foreign languages and reading tends to fix frontal lobes.

So a protocol crisis is usually the result of a damaged frontal lobe after an accumulation of stress. The stress could be caused by a violent workplace, financial difficulties, a difficult divorce or breakup, a violent social environment, or too much stress thinking about a bleak future or an uncertain future.

So the damaged frontal lobe will lead to “loss of logic” and to the kinds of “permissive behavior” or “liberal behavior” I just described above.

Damaged frontal lobes tend to be treated with a mixture of medication and/or cognitive therapy.

But this paper is kind of important, because, to the best of my knowledge, until today, a “mid-life crisis” tended to be associated with the poetry of a middle aged man reconnecting with the youth. I just described there can be a hidden tragic aspect to it.

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