Mental health conditions affect millions of people around the world. Some mental conditions such as anxiety disorders, depression, schizophrenia are relatively common and we’ll understood, with clinicians and other mental health professionals utilizing a set of common diagnosis to come up with treatment plans. However, some conditions are so rare that mental health professionals may never encounter them in their careers and we will consider a few of such conditions.
Have you ever seen a piece of art or beautiful scenery that figuratively “took your breath away”? Well with someone having stendhal syndrome, that phrase is not figurative. Those with Stendhal syndrome experience physical and emotional anxiety as well as panic attacks, dissociative experiences, confusion and hallucinations when exposed to art. These symptoms are usually triggered by art that is perceived as particularly beautiful or when the individual is exposed to large quantities of art that are concentrated in a single place, such as a museum or gallery.
We cannot always explain our food cravings but have you ever had the desire to chew on some hair or paper? Pica is a psychological disorder that gives one the desire to eat some inedible or bizarre items such as nails, stones, screws and so on. While pica is a psychological disorder, it’s often caused by a nutritional deficiency. A person who’s getting much less iron (or some other necessary mineral) in their diet than they need might crave things like dirt or stones. Pica can be dangerous, since the objects sufferers eat can poison them, like paint chips containing lead, or cause a blockage in their intestines.
Does the color blue have taste to you? Wait what! Okay Muna are you joking, the color blue having taste! Well, this is how deluded the human mind can be. Synaesthesia is an umbrella term that describes a condition in which the human senses can be mixed in odd ways. In other words, different senses intersect such that one sense is associated with another—a sound, a shape, a color, a taste, or a smell. Hearing music and seeing colors in your mind is an example of synesthesia. Russian composer Alexander Scriabin claimed to experience music as color: The note C elicited images of the color red in his mind, while G (a perfect fifth above C) was orange, for example.
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PROSOPAGNOSIA (Face Blindness)
How would you feel when you wake up one day and you are unable to recognize your friends or family members faces? This was the scary reality of a 24 year old man who was shot in the head and developed prosopagnosia. Prosopagnosia is characterized by the inability to recognize faces visually as a result of damage to the part of the brain that helps us recognize faces. People with prosopagnosia are able to recognize friends and family through sound, smell, or touch, they cannot recognize them by their faces.
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CAPGRAS SYNDROME (Imposter Syndrome
Capgras syndrome is a cousin to face blindness and is at times referred to as imposter syndrome. I bet right now your mind is lighting up saying I know what imposter syndrome is but sorry to disappoint, I’m not talking about imposter syndrome that tells you that you are not good enough. Capgras syndrome is the delusion that a familiar person has been replaced by an imposter. This condition is associated with people who suffer from dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Although this condition can affect anyone, it is more common in women than men.
Clinical lycanthropy is a rare psychiatric condition which involves a delusion that the sufferer is transforming or has transformed into an animal. Often, the symptoms will include the affected person relaying their “transformation experience” in a moment of clarity, or, if in the midst of a “transformation”, acting like the animal they see themselves as – grumbling, crying, and even growling. The most common animal associated to this disorder is a wolf ( obviously exclusive to nation’s that have wolves).
COTARD’S SYNDROME ( Walking Corpse Syndrome)
Lastly we consider cotard syndrome or delusion. Cotard delusion is a rare condition marked by the false belief that you or your body parts are dead, dying, or don’t exist. It usually occurs with severe depression and some psychotic disorders. One of the main symptoms of Cotard delusion is nihilism. Nihilism is the belief that nothing has any value or meaning. It can also include the belief that nothing really exists. People with Cotard delusion feel as if they’re dead or rotting away. In some cases, they might feel like they’ve never existed.While some people feel this way about their entire body, others only feel it in regard to specific organs, limbs, or even their soul.
The human mind is home to bizarre and dazzling mysteries which we might not put a finger to thus we must take it upon ourselves to take care of our minds. I hope this information will help us identify these rare conditions so as to provide appropriate assistance to those that have such conditions.