Mental disorders affect many people in society today and have been for thousands of years. Thankfully technology and adequate research has now made it much easier for us to recognize, understand and treat many disorders that were once unknown. Also called psychiatric disorder, a mental disorder is a behavioral pattern that tends to cause suffering and/or an impaired capability to function in society. Here are 12 bizarre mental disorders that will probably leave you speechless.
This disorder is culturally specific – so far cases have been found in China, Japan and India. Koro syndrome sufferers believe that the genitalia is shrinking and will eventually continue until it totally disappears inside of them. For men it is often the penis and for women, the nipples.
There have even been extreme cases where the patient believed that after the genitalia disappears inside it will kill them. Psychologists presume that cultural beliefs and psycho-sexual conflicts play an integral part in the development of this disorder.
This disorder has gained a great deal of attention due to the popularity of wolves and werewolves in today’s pop culture. Sufferers of this illness believe that they can turn into wolves or werewolves, and will oftentimes spend nights in the woods, believing it to be their natural habitat. Clinical lycanthropy is not specific to just these animals. Persons may believe that they can actually transform into any animal. This delusional belief is linked with altered states of mind that accompany psychosis.
Most of us have heard about cannibalism where humans eat other humans, but with autophagia the person actually devours parts of their own body.
Persons who suffer from this condition often feel a sense of arousal or tension before committing the act, followed by feelings of gratification or pleasure while doing it. After the act is complete however, they may feel guilt and regret ̶ though this is not the case for everyone.
This is a psychological disorder where the sufferer believed himself/herself to be an ox or a cow. This mental illness usually starts out as a dream and later turns into a full blown delusion.
It is believed that Nebuchadnezzar, King of the Neo-Babylonian Empire suffered from this condition due to the Book of Daniel where it states that he “was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen.” This condition can reportedly be induced by hypnotism.
Foreign Accent Syndrome
The first record of foreign accent syndrome (FAS) was reported in 1907 and the rare medical condition is often triggered by head trauma, stroke or developmental problems. The disorder causes the sufferer to change from their native speech to a foreign accent.
According to the Foreign Accent Syndrome Support website, “FAS has been documented in cases around the world, including accent changes from Japanese to Korean, British English to French, American-English to British English, and Spanish to Hungarian.”
Apotemnophilia is also known as amputee identity or body integrity identity and is presumably a neurological disorder in which a person has the overpowering desire to amputate healthy parts of their body. Sufferers will either amputate their limbs or ask others (maybe a surgeon) to do it for them. When others are unwilling to perform this task the sufferer often attempts to irrevocably damage the limb themselves, requiring formal amputation.
Cognitive behavioral and aversion therapies have been tried as treatment option for patients.
By now most of us have heard about anorexia, a food disorder characterized by food restriction; however bigorexia is quite the opposite. Also known as muscle dysmorphia, this disorder occurs when an individual (mostly men) is obsessed or worries that they are underweight or underdeveloped.
Due to this distorted self-image the individual will engage in extreme workout methods, use excessive amounts of food supplements and becomes so focused on muscle development that it completely takes over their lives. Researchers believe that it is a form of body dysmorphic disorder, and is related to obsessive compulsive disorder.
Considered as exceptionally creepy, ekbom syndrome is actually a form of hypochondria where the sufferer thinks their body has been infested by parasites. It is named after Karl Axel Ekbom who documented the disorder in the 1930’s.
Acrotomophilia is related to apotemnophilia and is a form of sexual fetishism where a person has an overwhelming erotic interest in people with missing limbs. There is very little research done on the causes of this disorder, but experts believe that it is developed unconsciously during childhood.
Also called the delusion of doubles; with this disorder a person thinks that several people are in fact one person in disguise.
The first case of fregoli delusion was reported in 1927. A young woman who lived in London, believed, that she was being stalked by two local actors whom she frequently saw at the theater. The woman believed that these actors were constantly changing their appearance, to look like people she knew, so they that they could stalk her undetected.
Fregoli delusion is named after and Italian actor named Leopoldo Fregoli who was well-known for his ability to make quick changes of appearance during his stage act.
This is a rare eating disorder where a person starts to have an appetite for things that are non-edible, such as metal, rocks, glass or even hair. It is more frequently seen in women and children, especially in areas of low socioeconomic status.
There are different variations of the disorder which can be triggered by iron deficiency or a chemical imbalance. Stressors such as poverty, parental neglect, maternal deprivation, pregnancy, and a disorganized family structure have also been strongly linked to pica.
This highly dangerous disorder can lead to mental and physical impairment, as well as surgical emergencies due to intestinal obstruction
A hybristophiliac is a person (more commonly a women) who is attracted to, and sexually aroused by people who have committed atrocious crimes, such as murder, rape or armed robbery. Quite often the sufferer will send fan mails to these persons in prison and in some instances have gone on to marry these criminals.