Mental illness is a scary, tragic beast. What sets it apart from other physiological disorders is that it’s so much harder to see, and because of that, diagnosis and recognition of the illness is hard to come by, especially on a social level. There’s a whole host of strange, unbelievable disorders of the mind afflicting people around the globe, and things would be a lot better if we learned to accept them.
Here’s a few of the most extreme ones around.
1. Alien Hand Syndrome
Certain limbs seem to adopt a will of their own.
This condition is characterised by a loss of control over certain limbs in the body. While a person suffering from this can feel normal sensation in the hand or leg, they start believing that the limb in question has a will of its own, and that it is behaving completely autonomously from the rest of the body. The sufferer might even have to use their other hand to restrain the ‘alien’ limb at times. This syndrome is usually seen in cases where a person has had the two hemispheres of their brain surgically separated, or if someone has had a stroke, a tumour or is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease.
2. Alice In Wonderland Syndrome
Your perception changes. Things appear to be larger or smaller than they actually are.
This neurological condition causes the sufferer to experience size distortions in perception, be it visual or aural. They tend to see objects as larger or smaller than they actually are, hear sounds louder or softer than they may be, and also suffer from painful migraines. All in all, AIWS affects the sense of vision, sensation, touch, and hearing, morphing one’s idea of their own body image as well, which can be quite debilitating. They may feel like their body is expanding or getting smaller. A sufferer may also lose their sense of time, similar to an LSD experience. However, these symptoms do tend to disappear with time.
3. Cotard Delusion
The patient feels like they are dead and their body is rotting.
An extremely rare mental illness, this condition was first described by the neurologist Jules Cotard in 1880. The affected person may believe that they are already dead, do not exist, are putrefying, or have lost their blood or internal organs. Sufferers of this condition tend to be heavily depressed, and even end up starving themselves on occasion.