14 Strange and Little Known Psychological Disorders
There are better known syndromes like Stockholm or Diogenes, but there are others that are less common…yet they affect more people than you think
Today the human mind remains one of the greatest unknowns in the world. Delirium, dissociative states, overwhelming experiences, abnormalities of the brain…the list goes on.
As disturbing as it can be interesting, the human mind has the ability to fascinate us and contemplate something so wonderful, infinite, and astonishing.
Still, while most people have heard of mental disorders like schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder, there is a long list of other psychological conditions that are extremely strange and unusual.
In today’s article we’ll talk about a list of less common mental problems that nevertheless affect ordinary people.
1. Capgras Delusion
The sufferer is firmly convinced that someone close to them has been replaced by an identical imposter. This type of delirium is more common in people with schizophrenia, although it also occurs in patients with dementia, epilepsy, or injuries to the head.
2. Fregoli Syndrome
This is the opposite of Capgras Delusion. In the case of Fregoli Syndrome, the distressed suffer believes that different people are, in fact, the same person who is able to change their appearance and masquerade as another.
3. Cotard’s Delirium
The affected person has a delusional belief that he or she is dead and does not exist. They believe that their body is in a rotting stage, or that they’ve lost all their blood or internal organs. It’s observed most frequently in patients with psychotic depression or schizophrenia.
This disorder is characterized by the delusional belief that a place has been replicated – that there are two simultaneously existing copies of the same place. For example, a patient may believe that the hospital where they are staying has been copied and also exists somewhere else. It’s as if they feel like they are experiencing parallel worlds.
5. Alien Hand Syndrome
People who suffer from this disorder believe that their hand does not belong to themselves, but that it has its own agency. Sometimes people with Alien Hand Syndrome believe that they’ve been possessed by a spirit or something similar. Generally, this occurs in people who have suffered damage to their corpus callosum, which connects the two hemispheres of the brain.
6. Micropsia or Macropsia
This is a neurological condition in which the perception of images, space, and time become distorted. The most disturbing symptom is the alteration of body image, because the sufferer may be confused about the size and shape of their own body parts. This causes very real fear and alarm.
It is most associated with migraines, brain tumors, drug use, and infections. The best treatment is rest. It’s sometimes also referred to as “Alice in Wonderland” Syndrome.
7. Jerusalem Syndrome
Jerusalem Syndrome is characterized by the presence of obsessive ideas, delusions, or other themes related to religious experiences. They are triggered by a visit to the city of Jerusalem.
The syndrome isn’t limited to any particular religion and it often occurs in people who have a history of mental illness prior to their stay in Jerusalem. Delusions or obsessive thoughts tend to dissipate after several days away from the area.
8. Paris Syndrome
Paris Syndrome has been observed in Japanese citizens who visit the French capital. They often suffer a nervous breakdown during their visit, but it’s also been observed in Japanese tourists in other parts of the world.
It seems to be a severe case of culture shock, leading to physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety, including loss of reality, delusions, hallucinations, and more.
Of the six million Japanese tourists who visit Paris every year, only about 20 are affected. Suspected triggers may be idealization, the language barrier, physical and mental fatigue, and confrontation with radically different cultural habits.
9. Dissociative Fugue
The person who suffers from this episode unexpectedly and perplexedly wanders from place to place without being aware of their identity and the reason that led them there. Generally these episodes are precipitated by suffering, a strong period of emotional and physical stress, the ingestion of psychotic drugs, certain medical conditions…
10. Foreign Accent Syndrome
This suffer speaks their native language with a foreign accent. It’s a rare disorder that usually strikes after a major head injury, or any injury that affects the brain’s nuclei of speech.
11. Stockholm Syndrome
This is characterized by sympathy and loyalty that is felt by a kidnapped person toward their abductor. It has been described in cases of kidnapping, rape, child abuse, spousal abuse, and more.
Curiously, this syndrome received its name after a bank robbery in Stockholm (Sweden) in 1973. The hostages were so attached to their kidnappers that many refused to even testify against them.
12. Lima Syndrome
This is the opposite of Stockholm syndrome. Here, the hostages end up eliciting sympathy from their captors, who succumb to their desires and needs. It’s possible that this reaction emerges from feelings of guilt and moral indecision on the part of the kidnappers.
The name is derived from a hostage situation at the Japanese Embassy in Lima (Peru). Fourteen members of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement held hundreds of hostages for several days, including diplomats and the military. But over time, the hostages were freed by their attackers as they began to understand the situation they had created.
13. Stendhal Syndrome
Stendhal Syndrome is characterized by physical and emotional anxiety, dissociative experiences, confusion, and even hallucinations that a person has when they contemplate a work of art.
This usually happens when they see a particularly beautiful or exaggerated piece of artwork concentrated in a single area. You could give the same label to a person’s extreme response when confronted with immense beauty in the natural world. Usually the experience is limited and the affected individuals don’t need more intervention than minimal support measures.
This syndrome is characterized by extreme neglect, social isolation, apathy, and the compulsive collection of rubbish. It’s observed mainly in the elderly and is associated with progressive dementia. Let’s discuss some of the curious behavior of the man who gave a name to this disorder.
Diogenes of Sinope (412 or 404 BC to 323 BC). He was a Greek philosopher who was cynical and minimalist. His philosophy was based on the belief that the meaning of life could be found in virtue, living according to nature, and rejecting all conventional desires (wealth, power, fame).
He is said to have lived in a wine barrel in the streets of Athens, and was famous for his chutzpah and his brash demeanor in his interactions with Alexander the Great. On one occasion, Alexander told Diogenes, “Ask me for anything you want.” Diogenes replied, “Remove anything that shields me from the sun.”
The disorders we’ve described in this article are only a few of the enormous list of amazing psychological disturbances that will leave you stunned. We hope you enjoyed reading about them!