They might sound like some Indie Rock band or the latest Japanese invention, but actually are rare, strange, bizarre and downright weird mental disorders and conditions. Some may sound familiar, others very few people even know exist. Here’s a compilation of some of the most strange and disturbing conditions of the human mind. 26 strange, bizarre and weird mental disorders:
Stendhal Syndrome – Shocked by beauty
We all like looking at beautiful things but for some people too much is just too much, mentally. Stendhal or Standhal’s Syndrome is a psychosomatic illness that can occur when an individuals is exposed to a large amount of beautiful art in a short space of time. The symptoms one would experience include: rapid heartbeat, dizziness, confusion and even hallucinations. It’s apparently quite common amongst tourists and seems to be triggered by famous works of art, areas of natural beauty, anything “breathtaking” and even whole cities of cultural/artistic or other importance. The Jerusalem Syndrome would be something most of us have never even heard about; it’s a phenomenon some people, regardless of religion, sex or race seem to experience when visiting the city. A mentally healthy person could suddenly become psychotic after arriving in Jerusalem. If you prefer to travel within Europe, how’s Paris sound? Beware of the Paris Syndrome though; it’s similar to the Jerusalem Syndrome but you’re safe, unless you’re Japanese. It looks like it affects primarily Japanese people working and vacationing in Paris.
Stockholm Syndrome – When being kidnapped isn’t so bad after all
Throughout the last several decades, there have always been reports about kidnap victims who, over time, become sympathetic and even loyal to their abductor. This condition is called Stockholm Syndrome and also appears in wife-beating, child abuse and rape cases. The victim will voluntarily comply. A few famous possible Stockholm Syndrome cases include: Patty Hearst, a millionaire heiress, who was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army. After two months in captivity, she actively took part in a robbery they were orchestrating. Shawn Hornbeck, who was snatched in 2002 at age 11 by Michael J. Devlin in Missouri and rescued in Jan, 2007, took Devlin’s name and despite having the chance to escape, Shawn Hornbeck did not seek the assistance of law enforcement.Natasha Kampush, an Austrian girl who was kidnapped in 1998 and held hostage by Wolfgang Priklopil for more than eight years until her escape in 2003. She was kept in a custom built basement “cell”, Priklopil would bring her books to educate herself and she later noted: “I spared myself many things, I did not start smoking or drinking and I did not hang out in bad company” and “I feel more and more sorry for him – he’s a poor soul”. Even though there were several indications that she suffered from Stockholm’s, she denied allegations and referred to her abductor as a criminal. Perhaps one of the most “famous” abductions happened in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2002 when 14 year old Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her bedroom and found alive and well 9 months later only 18 miles from her home. It appears that the girl was brainwashed while in captivity and may as well also suffered from Stockholm Syndrome.
Lima Syndrome – When kidnappers become attached
Lima Syndrome is pretty much the opposite of Stockholm Syndrome. The hostage taker becomes sympathetic and attached to the victim.
Triskaidekaphobia – Who’s scared of “13″?
What’s your lucky number? Maybe anything but the “13″? Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number “13″, while the fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskavedekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia.The fear is deeply rooted in numerous cultural and religious believes, often referred to as “evil”. Tetraphobia is the fear of the number 4 in China, Japan, and Korea.
Alien Hand Syndrome aka Dr. Strangelove Syndrome
When your hand does what it wants… The alien hand syndrome is a neurological order in which one of the sufferer’s hands seems to take on a mind of its own. Having no control over “Alien hands”, they can perform complex acts such as undoing buttons, removing clothing, and manipulation of tools.
Foreign Accent Syndrome
It is a widespread belief that foreign accents will immediately make you more attractive to the opposite sex. But sometimes your average Macho with the foreign accent isn’t actually a foreigner or putting on an act to get laid: The Foreign Accent Syndrome is a rare condition following a head injury, trauma or stroke. This syndrome causes someone to speak their native language as if they had a foreign accent. Research has shown on that patients suffering from this condition, the brain’s speech center was affected and damaged.
This mainly affects the elderly who live alone… Diogenes Syndrome is behavioral disorder characterized by extreme self-neglect, compulsive hoarding which sometimes includes animals and reclusive tendencies. From Wikipedia:
Diogenes syndrome is named after the alleged behaviour (not necessarily the ideals) of Diogenes of Sinope. Diogenes was never known to have hoarded items; he lived as an ascetic with only a robe and (for a time) a bowl.
This isn’t very unusual anymore but I thought I’d include it anyway: Kleptomania is a disorder that compels people to steal things, from paper clips to toilet rolls. Basically anything and everything, things with little or no value whatsoever. Some aren’t even aware that what they are doing is theft until later.
Cotard or Cotard’s Syndroma aka The Living Dead
Out of all strange and bizarre mental conditions, I certainly wouldn’t want to suffer from this creepy one: Cotard’s Syndrome makes a sufferer believe that he or she is dead, non-existent, is putrefying or has lost his/her blood or internal organs. Rarely, it can include delusions of immortality. First described by neurologist Jules Cotard in 1880, it wasn’t until April 2007 when it finally received scientific legitimacy.
What sounds like the effects of mind altering drugs, is is a neurologically based phenomenon whereby the stimulation of one sense causes the automatic stimulation of another, resulting in the ability to taste shapes, see music ect… So for instance one could perceive the number “13″ as the colour pink, or (2Girls1)Cup could taste like chocolate ice cream and “Islam” could smell like feces.
This one is common in patients who suffer from Schizophrenia: Capgras Delusion is a rare disorder in which a person becomes convinced that (usually) a family member or spouse has been replaced by an identical looking imposter. One case demonstrates this (source: Wikipedia)
Mrs. D, a 74-year old married housewife, recently discharged from a local hospital after her first psychiatric admission, presented to our facility for a second opinion. At the time of her admission earlier in the year, she had received the diagnosis of atypical psychosis because of her belief that her husband had been replaced by another unrelated man. She refused to sleep with the impostor, locked her bedroom and door at night, asked her son for a gun, and finally fought with the police when attempts were made to hospitalise her. At times she believed her husband was her long deceased father. She easily recognized other family members and would misidentify her husband only
And on the opposite we have the Fregoli Delusion: A sufferer believes that different people are in fact a single person who changes appearance or is in disguise. The condition is named after the Italian actor Leopoldo Fregoli and was first reported in 1927 when a 27 year old woman became convinced that she was being persecuted by two actors whom she often went to see at the theatre. She believed that these people “pursued her closely, taking the form of people she knows or meets.”
Bigorexia – Have you worked out lately?
Bigorexia is sometimes called reverse anorexia and is a disorder in which an individual becomes obsessed that they are not muscular enough. Symptoms include: constant checks in front of the mirror, becoming distressed if a gym session is missed, taking steroids and neglecting personal relationships / work.
Piblokto or Arctic Hysteria
Is a form of culture-specific disorder. A condition exclusively appearing in Inuit societies living within the arctic circle. Wikipedia says:
Symptoms can include intense “hysteria” (screaming, uncontrolled wild behaviour), depression, coprophagia, insensitivity to extreme cold and more. This condition is most often seen in dogs and Eskimo women.
(Not to be confused with PMS)
It’s all a conspiracy: Reduplicative Paramnesia makes a person believe that a place or location has been duplicated, existing in two or more places simultaneously, or that it has been ‘relocated’ to another site. From Wikipedia: This patient had suffered a head injury after a fall in his home:
A few days after admission to the Neurobehavioural Center, orientation for time was intact, he could give details of the accident (as related to him by others), could remember his doctors’ names and could learn new information and retain it indefinitely. He exhibited, however, a distinct abnormality of orientation for place. While he quickly learned and remembered that he was at the Jamaica Plain Veterans Hospital (also known as the Boston Veterans Administration Hospital), he insisted that the hospital was located in Taunton, Massachusetts, his home town. Under close questioning, he acknowledged that Jamaica Plain was part of Boston and admitted it would be strange for there to be two Jamaica Plain Veterans Hospitals. Nonetheless, he insisted that he was presently hospitalised in a branch of the Jamaica Plain Veterans Hospital located in Taunton. At one time he stated that the hospital was located in the spare bedroom of his house.
Celebriphilia – Celebs watch out
What may be seen as educational collections, could very well be a an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Bibliomania is obsessively collecting books to the point where social and family relationships suffer or are damaged. A sufferer would also purchase multiple copies and editions of the very same book.
Most people would know what this mental disorder is all about: the sufferer feigns, exaggerates, or creates symptoms of illnesses in himself or herself in order to gain attention, sympathy, and comfort from medical personnel. While we all have a tiny spark of “attention whore” in us, patients who suffer from Munchausen sometimes go to dangerous and extreme measures, like this horrifying story about Sarena Sherrard, who “injected fecal matter into her infant daughter to bring attention to herself.”
Androphobia – Fear of men
Androphobia is an abnormal and persistent fear of men, not to be confused with misandry, which is hate for men. Androphobia sufferers experience anxiety even though they know they know they may face no threat at all. Androphobia is one of infinite possible phobias, and as such can be traced back to a specific triggering event, usually a traumatic experience at an early age.
Is the urge to pull one’s hair out. Be it scalp hair,eyelashes, beard hair, nose hair, pubic hair, eyebrows or other body hair.
Exploding head syndrome
I imagine this syndrome to not being very pleasant: The person occasionally experience a tremendously loud noise as if from within his or her own head, usually described as an explosion or a roar. I wonder if this would be like migraine.
One of the sickest and most disturbing mental disorders: Paedophilia involves sexual activity with a child, generally under age 13. The individual with paedophilia would most commonly be over 16 years of age and be at least five years older than the child. Personally I believe that convicted Paedophiles should not ever be released, I would not take the sometimes very low chance of rehabilitation. However, USA Today reported about a Paedophile who apparently “lost the urge” after having a brain tumor removed. This sparks the question whether or not an individual with a condition that could have caused them to become a Paedophile could be labelled a Paedophile? It is known that brain tumours can alter personality and behaviour.
Alice in Wonderland syndrome (AIWS) or Micropsia or Who shrunk my car?
This may sound familiar to drug users: AIWS or Micropsia is a condition in which a patient’s sense of time, space and body image are distorted. People may appear tiny or patients may feel that part of their body shape or size has been altered. A sufferer may perceive humans, parts of humans, animals, and inanimate objects as substantially smaller than in reality. Normal sized car may look like miniature models and your average size pet dog shrinks to the size of a mouse. Another name for the condition is Lilliput sight or Lilliputian hallucinations.
Is quite disturbing: also known as Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID) or Amputee Identity Disorder is a mental disorder where a person experiences the overwhelming desire to amputate healthy limbs or other parts of their body. In extreme cases sufferers take it upon themselves to amputate their own limbs. BIID also applies to those who wish to alter their bodily integrity in general. Acrotomophilia is the sexual attraction to to other people who are already missing limbs. From Wikipedia:
In the BIID community, these people are referred to as ‘devotees’. However, there does seem to be some relationship between the two disorders, with some individuals exhibiting both conditions.
Ian Huntley, the man charged with the Soham murders, gets bundles of fan mail every day. Meanwhile, more than 100 British women are engaged or married to men on death row in the US.
The Guardian published an interesting article on this subject. Link Why are women drawn to men behind bars?
The Jumping Frenchmen of Maine
This condition involves being extremely startled by an unexpected noise or sight. Patients with the disorder flail their arms, cry out and repeat words. First identified in some of Maine’s lumberjacks of French-Canadian origin, the odd reflex has been identified in other parts of the world, too. If you’re interested in mysterious, strange and bizarre disorders and illnesses, I recommend reading Nancy Butcher’s “The Strange Case Of The Walking Corpse”
Site admin edit:
A great deal of attention has been drawn to the example of Synesthesia.
The article clearly states that the sufferer could relate Islam to the smell of feces, it does not state “Islam smells like feces”, as assumed by many people commenting. Religion in general could not be used in the example because the sufferer would not normally relate all religions to a single smell and/or relate different smells to different religions.
If in the example Christianity or Catholicism had been used it would also have been seen as offensive by the very same people who cannot understand the use of examples.
Some people have commented that they see the article as having a possible racist under tone, despite Islam being a religion, rather than a race. Some people placed their own link between Islam and brown skin, while there was absolutely no mention of skin colour in the example.
Some people wrongly assumed that the author of the article is male, while the writer of the article is in fact female. The assumption those people make could be seen as sexist.
On a personal note, I noticed that 90% of users who felt the article was racist were American.