Millions of people across the world are diagnosed as suffering from mental illness. And though most of those are disorders are common and well-known (such as depression, anxiety and phobias) there are also some unusual and bizarre disorders. For example:
1. Stockholm Syndrome – Typically seen in abducted hostages, this is where the captive shows signs of sympathy, compassion and loyalty towards the hostage taker. This occurs regardless of the way they have been treated – and even where they’ve been tortured or their life is under threat.
2. Lima Syndrome – This is the opposite of the previous syndrome. It’s where the hostage taker is extremely concerned for the plight and wellbeing of the hostages.
3. Diogenes Syndrome – This disorder is marked by severe self neglect, compulsive hoarding, reclusive tendencies, and keeping large numbers of animals at home.
4. Paris Syndrome – This is very exclusive disorder … one restricted to Japanese tourists in Paris (It’s true!) The sufferer experiences a total mental breakdown when the city fails to meet their cultural expectations (Paris is rarely as polite, romantic, peaceful and idyllic as the tourists had imagined). To cope with this experience, their embassy established a 24hr hotline to help those with the syndrome.
5. Jerusalem Syndrome – People diagnosed with this particular disorder experience delusions and spontaneous psychosis after visiting a holy city. To date, all identified sufferers have had a history of mental illness, or some kind of psychosis.
6. Capgras Delusion – In this rare disorder, the individual believes that a friend or family member has been abducted and replaced by an impostor (who looks identical to them). It is generally seen in those with schizophrenia, dementia, or some kind of brain injury.
7. Fregoli Delusion – This is the exact opposite of Capgras delusion. It is the false belief that numerous different people are actually one person who keeps changing their disguise.
8. Cotard Delusion – A person suffering from this delusion believes that they don’t exist, are dead, are putrefying or have no blood or internal organs.
I did a project on the Capgras Delusion for my physiological psych class! Many scientists believe it develops because the pathway that links facial recognition to emotion becomes severed. It also causes people to have difficulty remembering new faces, because they cannot attach emotional significance to them when they meet them.
Think of it this way: when you see a familiar face
Think of it this way: when you see a face, you have an emotional reaction. You experience affection, anger, resentment, friendliness, camraderie…any sort of emotion on the spectrum, strong or muted. Then, one day, something seems off, but you can’t quite figure out why. You recognize this person, and their face, but they don’t give the same feeling they normally would. In fact, you feel nothing. There is something off and wrong about that, and so you believe they aren’t who they say they are.
After all, if they were actually your mom, you would feel something there, right?