Monday, March 31, 2014

Top 10 Weird Mental Disorders

According to the World Health Organization, more than 450 million people worldwide had a mental health problem in 2001. When we talk of mental disorders, we think about phobias, OCD, schizophrenia, and so on and so forth.

However, there are a few other disorders that you may have never heard about and these are actually quite weird in nature. In fact, you will probably be shocked to know that such behaviors exist and are also classified as mental disorders. 

Let's take a look at some of the weirdest mental disorders right here.

Alice-in-Wonderland Syndrome

If you loved the book, you will love this disorder? You guessed it right. This one is named after the famous novel written by Lewis Carroll. Also known as Todd's syndrome, people with this mental health condition believe that the shape and size of their body has been altered.

The condition is often diagnosed in childhood and most children grow out of it in their teens. Sufferers of this condition think that people or animals are smaller than they are in reality. They may also think that certain parts of their body are not in proportion to the other parts. Isn't this exactly how Alice used to feel in the book?

The Walking Corpse Syndrome

Do you believe that you are dead or your body is decomposing?

If you like zombie movies and wish you could be one too, wish for this strange mental disorder. Cotard's Delusion, nicknamed as the Walking Corpse Syndrome, is a rare disorder in which a person believes that he or she does not exist. The individual believes that he is actually dead.

The disorder was first described by Jules Cotard in 1880 as ‘délire des negations’ or negative deliriums. People with this disorder have a distorted reality and truly believe that they are dead. They may report that their blood or the organs of their body have been removed or that they are decomposing. Now, that makes for an interesting movie on the walking dead, don't you think?


If you like werewolves, this is the one you want. This strange psychological disorder will turn you into a werewolf! Or at least that is what you think when you have this disorder. People with lycanthropy believe that they can turn themselves into wolves whenever they want to. In fact, they often believe that they are wolves.

If you don't like wolves, you can turn into any other animal of your choice. People may think that they are an elephant, leopard, snake, or any other animal. They may go and take a walk in the woods as the animal of their choice. They feel completely safe and at home in the forest and insist that this is where they belong and not in society. 

Capgras Delusion

Would you recognize your mother if she walked into the room right now? Probably yes. However, imagine that your mother just walks into the room and you look at her only to find that this is not your mother. You just wonder who this woman is. This is what Capgras Delusion is is all about. 

People suffering from the disorder believe that their parents, or their spouse, or their friend has been replaced by an impostor. So, you think this is not my mother but an impostor trying to harm you!

The strange part about this disorder is that sometimes the person is able to recognize everyone else except that one person who is really close to him or her. So, you may recognize your parents and your children but not your spouse. 

Scientists believe that this disorder occurs because of a breakdown of normal face perception.So, the individual is just not able to recognize a familiar person. You may try to convince them that what they are thinking is wrong, but they won't believe you.

Fregoli Delusion

Quite similar to Capgras delusion, people with this strange mental disorder believe that different people are actually only just one person. Referred to as the delusion of doubles, sufferers of this condition usually believe that they are being persecuted by one single person who keeps on changing his or her disguise and appearing as a different person each time.

So, a person may believe that he is being followed by a single person, who keeps on taking the form of someone he knows personally. He may see a friend, a colleague, a shopkeeper, all different people. However, he thinks that all these three people are actually one single individual who wants to harm him.

It is believed that Fregoli delusion occurs due to a brain lesion. Just like Capgras Delusion, this one is also believed to be a breakdown of normal face perception.

Stendhal Syndrome

So, do you like being surrounded by beautiful pieces of art? Do you feel so overwhelmed by beautiful pieces of art that you feel dizzy and your heart begins to beat rapidly? If yes, then you may just have the Stendhal syndrome.

This bizarre psychological disorder is named after the 19th century French author, Stendhal. Apparently, Stendhal (real name: Henri-Marie Beyle) was so overwhelmed on his trip to Florence in 1817 that he experienced symptoms such as palpitations and faintness.

In 1979, Italian psychiatrist Graziella Magherini observed more than 100 cases of tourists visiting the beautiful city of Florence and experiencing dizziness and fainting while enjoying Florentine art. This is when the syndrome was named as Stendhal syndrome.


Feel like eating yourself up? You may just have autophagia. Although not an official mental disorder, autophagia involves biting or chewing one's body parts. An individual with this condition feels a sense of tension followed by an impulse to perform the act. The person feels a sense of pleasure or gratification while committing the act and does not at all regret harming himself. So, are you getting an urge to chew up your hands, or your legs?
Exploding Head Syndrome

It is fun being at a heavy metal rock concert. However, would you like to hear extremely loud noises right inside your head? You will probably not enjoy that. Patients with exploding head syndrome have auditory hallucinations and hear loud noises in their head. These sounds can be in the form of bombs exploding, guns being fired, or cymbals crashing together.

The sound is quite loud but not painful. These sounds are usually experienced at the onset of sleep or within the first one to two hours of falling asleep. Sounds may be accompanied by bright flashes and the person may experience fear and anxiety just before the attack happens.

Stockholm Syndrome

Kidnapping is a crime and a traumatic experience. People who are kept as hostages end up having nightmares forever and hate their kidnappers with all their hearts. 

However, imagine that someone gets kidnapped, is made to go through all forms of torture, and yet he defends his abductor with all his heart. Do you find this weird? Referred to as capture bonding, the victim in such cases feels sympathetic towards her captors without recognizing the danger she is in.

The disorder is named after a bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden, where several bank employees were taken as hostages. The bank employees actually became emotionally attached to their captors and even defended them after being freed after a six-day ordeal.

There is also an opposite form of Stockholm syndrome. This is the Lima syndrome, where the abductor develops sympathy for his hostages.

Munchausen Syndrome

Most of us have used fake illnesses as an excuse to get out of school or office work. Some of us have faked illnesses to get some attention or sympathy from others, especially our loved ones. However, we usually don't go to the extent of using dangerous measures to do this. This is what Munchausen syndrome is all about.

Munchausen syndrome is a psychiatric factitious disorder in which individuals feign illness or trauma to gain attention and sympathy. These people have a history of hospitalization and this is why it is often referred to as hospital addiction syndrome. People with this disorder often have good knowledge about medicine and medical practices and know exactly what to do to gain some attention from doctors and nurses. 

So, what do you think about these weird psychological disorders? Watch out for people around you who may have one of these strange disorders. They need help. Make sure to help them get proper professional healthcare treatment.

Read more Articles:

How to be Happy Always

How to Control your Anger

How to Develop your Intuition

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© Copyright 2014, Roohi Khan

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