8 Weird and Rare Mental Disorders You Won’t Learn About in School
Mental illness is highly common in the United States.
In fact, 43.8 million adults experience some kind of mental illness each year. And, 9.8 million adults experience a severe mental illness that limits at least one of their major life activities.
When most people think of mental illness, they think of well-known conditions like depression, anxiety, and various addictions.
There are many other mental health disorders an individual can struggle with, though, some of which are quite rare.
Read on to learn about eight fascinating and rare mental disorders.
Top 8 Rare Mental Disorders
Even if you’re fascinated by abnormal psychology, you’ve probably never heard of these eight mental health disorders:
1. Stendhal Syndrome
Stendhal Syndrome is a condition that is characterized by a variety of symptoms that occur when an individual is exposed to art. The following are some of the most common symptoms a person with Stendhal Syndrome experience:
- Physical and emotional anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Dissociative experiences
These symptoms are typically brought on when the individual is exposed to art that is considered to be particularly beautiful. It can also be brought on in places like museums or art galleries, where they are exposed to large quantities of art at once.
Stendhal Syndrome was named after a 19th-century French author who experienced these symptoms during a trip to Florence, Italy. It’s also sometimes referred to as Florence Syndrome.
2. Dissociative Identity Disorder
Formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder (or DID), is a thoroughly misunderstood condition.
Those with DID experience 2-3 different personalities and identities (although some people experience more than this).
Between .1 and 1 percent of people suffer from DID.
Those who suffer from DID cycle through their personalities and can switch personalities at any time, with no warning.
It’s very difficult to convince an individual with DID that they have this disorder. Because of this, it’s rare for them to live a normal life. Instead, they typically have to live in a psychiatric facility.
3. Factitious Disorder
People with Factitious Disorder are obsessed with being sick.
In some cases, those who suffer from Factitious Disorder will pretend to be sick. They may create elaborate lists of symptoms and jump from doctor’s office to doctor’s office seeking care.
Sometimes, though, individuals with Factitious Disorder will go beyond just pretending to be sick. They might actually make themselves sick in order to receive treatment from a physician.
A very small percentage of the population suffers from Factitious Disorder.
There is no cure for this condition. But, working with a trained psychotherapist can often be very helpful.
4. Diogenes Syndrome
Diogenes Syndrome is often referred to as “hoarding.” This is another highly understood mental disorder named after Diogenes of Sinope, an ancient Greek philosopher.
Individuals who suffer from Diogenes Syndrome develop strong emotional attachments to various objects.
As a result, they find it nearly impossible to get rid of their possessions and let them pile up instead. They also tend to neglect their physical and mental health in the process.
Other symptoms of Diogenes Syndrome include:
- Feelings of apathy toward self and others
- Social withdrawal
Many people who suffer from Diogenes Syndrome can experience significant improvements when they work with a therapist like Kristine Klussman.
Boanthropy is one of the strangest and rarest mental disorders an individual can experience.
People who suffer from Boanthropy actually believe that they are cows.
In some cases, they even go as far as to behave like cows — walking on all fours, chewing grass, and even spending time in fields with other cows.
Individuals who suffer from Boanthropy do not realize that they’re acting like cows. Some researchers believe that the condition is brought on by a dream or a kind of hypnotic state.
6. Alien Hand Syndrome
Alien Hand Syndrome is a condition characterized by a belief that an individual’s hand does not belong to them, but has its own life instead.
Someone with Alien Hand Syndrome will feel that their hand has a will of its own. Their two hands may act in opposition to each other, and individuals with the condition may even personify their hand as a completely separate entity.
Researchers believe that Alien Hand Syndrome is brought on by damage to the corpus callosum. This is a part of the brain that connects the two hemispheres.
This condition can also be triggered by a stroke or damage to the parietal lobe — the part of the brain responsible for spatial awareness and proprioception.
7. Reduplicative Paramnesia
People who suffer from Reduplicative Paramnesia believe that locations have been duplicated. Essentially, they believe that a specific location exists in two places at the same time.
For example, someone with Reduplicative Paramnesia may believe that an exam room at a physician’s office is actually their house that has been disguised as an exam room.
This condition often affects people who suffer from other physical and mental health conditions, including:
- Brain injuries
It can also present itself alongside other psychiatric disorders.
8. Alice in Wonderland Syndrome
Individuals who suffer from Alice in Wonderland Syndrome feel as though their surroundings have been distorted.
They may hear sounds as either louder or softer than they really are. They may also see objects as being larger or smaller than they really are.
People with Alice in Wonderland Syndrome might even experience distortions to their own body image.
Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is a frightening condition that is often compared to an LSD trip (minus the feelings of euphoria).
This condition is a very rare condition. It occurs most often in young individuals who suffer from brain tumors or who have a history of drug abuse.
Want to Learn More?
Aren’t these eight rare mental disorders fascinating? Even if you’re a total psychology enthusiast, you’ve probably never heard of at least some of these.
Do you want to learn about other fascinating health conditions, both physical and mental?
If so, be sure to check out this article today.
It’s all about seven strange medical conditions you never knew existed. You’re sure to be amazed by what you learn!
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