Top 10 Bizarre Mental Disorders

Mental disorders effect millions of people in the world and can lead to years of psychotherapy. In some cases, the psychological problem suffered is extremely rare or bizarre. This is a list of the ten most bizarre mental disorders.

Hearst

Stockholm syndrome is a psychological response sometimes seen in an abducted hostage, in which the hostage shows signs of sympathy, loyalty or even voluntary compliance with the hostage taker, regardless of the risk in which the hostage has been placed. The syndrome is also discussed in other cases, including those of wife-beating, rape and child abuse.

The syndrome is named after a bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden, in which the bank robbers held bank employees hostage from August 23 to August 28 in 1973. In this case, the victims became emotionally attached to their victimizers, and even defended their captors after they were freed from their six-day ordeal, refusing to testify against them. Later, after the gang were tried and sentenced to jail, one of them married a woman who had been his hostage.

A famous example of Stockholm syndrome is the story of Patty Hearst, a millionaire’s daughter who was kidnapped in 1974, seemed to develop sympathy with her captors, and later took part in a robbery they were orchestrating.

Limamrta

The exact opposite of Stockholm syndrome – this is where the hostage takers become more sympathetic to the plights and needs of the hostages.

It is named after the Japanese embassy hostage crisis in Lima, Peru where 14 members of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) took hundreds of people hostage at a party at the official residence of Japan’s ambassador to Peru. The hostages consisted of diplomats, government and military officials, and business executives of many nationalities who happened to be at the party at the time. It began on December 17, 1996 and ended on April 22, 1997.

Within a few days of the hostage crisis, the militants had released most of the captives, with seeming disregard for their importance, including the future President of Peru, and the mother of the current President.

After months of unsuccessful negotiations, all remaining hostages were freed by a raid by Peruvian commandos, although one hostage was killed.

Diogenes

Diogenes was an ancient Greek philosopher, who lived in a wine barrel and promoted ideas of nihilism and animalism. Famously, when he was asked by Alexander the Great what he wanted most in the world, he replied, “For you to get out of my sunlight!”

Diogenes syndrome is a condition characterised by extreme self neglect, reclusive tendencies, and compulsive hoarding, sometimes of animals. It is found mainly in old people and is associated with senile breakdown.

The syndrome is actually a misnomer since Diogenes lived an ascetic and transient life, and there are no sources to indicate that he neglected is own hygiene.

Paris

Paris syndrome is a condition exclusive to Japanese tourists and nationals, which causes them to have a mental breakdown while in the famous city. Of the millions of Japanese tourists that visit the city every year, around a dozen suffer this illness and have to be returned to their home country.

The condition is basically a severe form of ‘culture shock’. Polite Japanese tourists who come to the city are unable to separate their idyllic view of the city, seen in such films as Amelie, with the reality of a modern, bustling metropolis.

Japanese tourists who come into contact with, say, a rude French waiter, will be unable to argue back and be forced to bottle up their own anger which eventually leads to a full mental breakdown.

The Japanese embassy has a 24hr hotline for tourists suffering for severe culture shock, and can provide emergency hospital treatment if necessary.

Stendhal

Stendhal Syndrome is a psychosomatic illness that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to art, usually when the art is particularly ‘beautiful’ or a large amount of art is in a single place. The term can also be used to describe a similar reaction to a surfeit of choice in other circumstances, e.g. when confronted with immense beauty in the natural world.

It is named after the famous 19th century French author Stendhal who described his experience with the phenomenon during his 1817 visit to Florence, Italy in his book Naples and Florence: A Journey from Milan to Reggio.

Jerusalem

The Jerusalem syndrome is the name given to a group of mental phenomena involving the presence of either religiously themed obsessive ideas, delusions or other psychosis-like experiences that are triggered by, or lead to, a visit to the city of Jerusalem. It is not endemic to one single religion or denomination, but has affected Jews and Christians of many different backgrounds.

The condition seems to emerge while in Jerusalem and causes psychotic delusions which tend to dissipate after a few weeks. Of all the people who have suffered this spontaneous psychosis, all have had a history of previous mental illness, or where deemed not to have been ‘well’ before coming to the city.

Capgras

The Capgras delusion is a rare disorder in which a person holds a delusional belief that an acquaintance, usually a spouse or other close family member, has been replaced by an identical looking impostor.

It is most common in patients with schizophrenia, although it occur in those with dementia, or after a brain injury.

One case report said the following:

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 hospitalize her. At times she believed her husband was her long deceased father. She easily recognized other family members and would misidentify her husband only.

The paranoia induced by this condition has made it a common tool in science fiction books and films, such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Total Recall and The Stepford Wives.

Fregoli

The exact opposite of the Capgras delusion – the Fregoli delusion is a rare disorder in which a person holds a delusional belief 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 who was renowned for his ability to make quick changes of appearance during his stage act.

It was first reported 1927 by two psychiatrists who discussed the case study of a 27 year old woman who believed 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.”

Cotard

The Cotard delusion is a rare psychiatric disorder in which a person holds a delusional belief that he or she is dead, does not exist, is putrefying or has lost their blood or internal organs. Rarely, it can include delusions of immortality.

One case study said the following:

[The patient’s] symptoms occurred in the context of more general feelings of unreality and being dead. In January, 1990, after his discharge from hospital in Edinburgh, his mother took him to South Africa. He was convinced that he had been taken to hell (which was confirmed by the heat), and that he had died of septicaemia (which had been a risk early in his recovery), or perhaps from AIDS (he had read a story in The Scotsman about someone with AIDS who died from septicaemia), or from an overdose of a yellow fever injection. He thought he had “borrowed my mother’s spirit to show me round hell”, and that he was asleep in Scotland.

It is named after Jules Cotard, a French neurologist who first described the condition, which he called “le délire de négation” (“negation delirium”), in a lecture in Paris in 1880.

Trumanparamnesia

Reduplicative paramnesia is the delusional belief that a place or location has been duplicated, existing in two or more places simultaneously, or that it has been ‘relocated’ to another site. For example, a person may believe that they are in fact not in the hospital to which they were admitted, but an identical-looking hospital in a different part of the country, despite this being obviously false, as one case study reported:

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 hospitalized 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.

The term ‘reduplicative paramnesia’ was first used in 1903 by the Czechoslovakian neurologist Arnold Pick to describe a condition in a patient with suspected Alzheimer’s disease who insisted that she had been moved from Pick’s city clinic, to one she claimed looked identical but was in a familiar suburb. To explain the discrepancy she further claimed that Pick and the medical staff worked at both locations

Read more: http://listverse.com/2007/10/13/top-10-bizarre-mental-disorders/

Here at the List Universe we have already covered many bizarre illnesses and medical conditions, but there is always room for one more! This list deals with odd diseases that have no known cause – or at least no consensus on cause. Most are rare, and they all share the common attribute of having unusual symptoms. Be sure to mention others you know in the comments.

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Gulf War syndrome (GWS) is an illness reported by combat veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf War typified by symptoms including immune system disorders and birth defects. It has not always been clear whether these symptoms were related to Gulf War service or whether the occurrence of illnesses in Gulf War veterans is higher than comparable populations. Symptoms attributed to this syndrome have been wide-ranging, including chronic fatigue, loss of muscle control, headaches, dizziness and loss of balance, memory problems, muscle and joint pain, indigestion, skin problems, shortness of breath, and even insulin resistance. While the cause of the syndrome is unknown, some theories put forth are anthrax vaccines given to soldiers, the use of depleted uranium for weaponry, or exposure to chemical weapons destroyed in various bombings. There is also speculation that it may be caused by an unknown bacteria.

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Also known as multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), Twentieth-Century Disease is described as a chronic condition characterized by adverse effects from exposure to low levels of chemicals or other substances in modern human environments. Suspected substances include smoke, pesticides, plastics, synthetic fabrics, scented products, petroleum products and paints. But here is the odd thing: blinded trials have shown that MCS patients do not actually react to chemicals, but they do react in unblinded tests when they believe they are being exposed to a trigger. The cause of the disease is unknown. It was the focus of the odd 1995 film “[SAFE]” featuring Julianne Moore.

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Stiff person syndrome is a bizarre (and rare) disease which causes the sufferer to have random muscle spasms that can be so strong they cause the person to fall over – leading to broken bones. SPS is characterized by fluctuating muscle rigidity in the trunk and limbs and a heightened sensitivity to stimuli such as noise, touch, and emotional distress, which can set off muscle spasms. Abnormal postures, often hunched over and stiffened, are characteristic of the disorder. People with SPS can be too disabled to walk or move, or they can be afraid to leave the house because street noises, such as the sound of a horn, can trigger spasms and falls. SPS affects twice as many women as men.

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Morgellons disease is characterized by symptoms including crawling, biting, and stinging sensations; finding fibers on or under the skin; and persistent skin lesions (e.g., rashes or sores). Current scientific consensus holds that Morgellons is not a new disorder and is instead a new and misleading name for known illnesses. Most doctors, including dermatologists and psychiatrists, regard Morgellons as a manifestation of known medical conditions, including delusional parasitosis, although some health professionals believe that Morgellons disease is a specific condition likely to be confirmed by future research. Researchers have found that affected skin when studied under a microscope can contain thousands of tiny hairs which may be being produced by the body (though they are not on record as being typical human hairs), but are not manmade or from plants. A New Mexico doctor reports that a former CIA agent told him the disease was caused by the French. “A botched government experiment contaminated the water. All Evian drinkers are at risk.”

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Cyclic vomiting syndrome is a condition whose symptoms are recurring attacks of intense nausea, vomiting and sometimes abdominal pain and/or headaches or migraines. Cyclic vomiting usually develops during childhood; while it often ends during adolescence, it can persist into adult life. Onset of the condition is possible at any age but is seen to occur more often in a young age. Sufferers may vomit or retch six to twelve times an hour and an episode may last from a few hours to well over 3 weeks. Some people may find it hard to conceive how anyone can vomit after that length of time, as the stomach will have emptied after the first few instances of vomiting. Acid, bile and (if the vomiting is severe) blood may be vomited. It results in lack of sleep, normal eating, and concentration. The cause of CVS has not been determined, there are no diagnostic tests for it.

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Electromagnetic hypersensitivity is a condition in which people experience medical symptoms that they believe are caused by exposure to electromagnetic fields. Although effects of electromagnetic fields on the body are established, sufferers of electromagnetic hypersensitivity report responding to electromagnetic radiation at intensities well below those permitted by international safety standards. The majority of trials to date have found that sufferers of electromagnetic hypersensitivity are unable to distinguish between the exposure to real and sham electromagnetic fields. Although individuals who report electromagnetic hypersensitivity believe that electromagnetic fields from common electrical devices trigger or exacerbate their symptoms, it has not been established that these fields play any role in the cause of sensitivity symptoms. In 2005 the World Health Organization concluded that there is no known scientific basis for the belief that electromagnetic hypersensitivity is caused by exposure to electromagnetic fields.

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The symptoms of nodding disease are very peculiar. When a child is affected by it, his/her growth appears to be completely and permanently stunted. The growth of the brain is also stunted, leading to mental retardation of the victim. The disease is named nodding disease since it causes pathological nodding. This is a seizure which begins when the victim begins to eat food, or when he/she feels cold. As soon as either of these conditions is met, the afflicted will immediately begin to nod. These seizures are brief and halt after the child stops eating or when they feel warm again. However, this symptom is very unusual as the victims don’t appear to suffer from seizures when they are given an unfamiliar food, for example a candy bar. The seizures can be severe and cause the child to collapse, leading to further injury.

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The Peruvian Meteorite Illness occurred when the Carancas meteorite fell on September 15, 2007. A large chondritic meteorite crashed near the village of Carancas in Peru, close to the Bolivian border and to Lake Titicaca. The impact created a crater and scorched earth around its location. A local official, Marco Limache, said that “boiling water started coming out of the crater, and particles of rock and cinders were found nearby”, as “fetid, noxious” gases spewed from the crater. After the impact, villagers who had approached the impact site grew sick from a then-unexplained illness, with a wide array of symptoms including vomiting. While some speculate that the illness may have been caused by arsenic poisoning as arsenic in the local water was evaporated by the hot meteorite (quite unusual as most meteors are cold upon collision), there is no scientific evidence or consensus on what the cause of this mysterious and brief illness was.

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Sweating sickness was a mysterious and highly virulent disease which struck England and later Europe in a series of epidemics, the first beginning in 1485 and the last in 1551, afterwards apparently vanishing. The onset of symptoms was dramatic and sudden, with death often occurring within hours. The cause is the most mysterious aspect of the disease. Commentators then and now put much blame on the general dirt and sewage of the time which may have harboured the source of infection. The first outbreak at the end of the Wars of the Roses means that it may have been brought over from France by the French mercenaries whom Henry VII used to gain the English throne, particularly as they seem to have been immune. The fact that the disease seems to have been more virulent among the rich than the poor suggests why it was judged noteworthy in comparison to the other illnesses of the time. Pictured above is Charles Brandon, Third Duke of Suffolk who died together with his brother of the sweating sickness.

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Exploding head syndrome is a condition that causes the sufferer to occasionally experience a tremendously loud noise as originating from within his or her own head, usually described as the sound of an explosion, roar, waves crashing against rocks, loud voices, or a ringing noise. This noise usually occurs within an hour or two of falling asleep, but is not the result of a dream and can happen while awake as well. Perceived as extremely loud, the sound is usually not accompanied by pain. Attacks appear to change in frequency over time, with several attacks occurring in a space of days or weeks followed by months of remission. Sufferers often feel a sense of fear and anxiety after an attack, accompanied by elevated heart rate. The cause of the exploding head syndrome is not known, though some physicians have reported a correlation with stress or extreme fatigue. The condition may develop at any time during life and women are slightly more likely to suffer from it than men. Attacks can be one-time events, or can recur.

This article is licensed under the GFDL because it contains quotations from Wikipedia.

Contributor: JFrater

Read more: http://listverse.com/2009/03/17/top-10-odd-diseases-with-no-known-cause/