Trying to be killed by your own hand, and suddenly shrinking, and growing taller are just two of the rare mental disorders people can suffer from. A mental disorder is a behavioural or mental pattern that causes distress, or inhibits someone’s ability to function in life. About 25% of people suffer from some sort of mental illness at some point in life. Most people suffer from either depression or anxiety, but there are some strange, and rare mental disorders that most people have never heard of. Only a tiny percentage of people suffer from these rare mental disorders.


Alien Hand Syndrome

Alien hand syndrome is an incredibly damaging disorder, and causes an enormous amount of distress for those who have to deal with it. It’s called alien hand syndrome because sufferers lose all control of one of their hands, which starts to act on it’s own as if someone else is controlling it. Sometimes the alien hand will reach for objects and try to do things with them, and it has to be restrained by the normal hand. Some people would even be woken up to find their alien hand choking them in the night. The actions the hand takes can be random, funny, or dangerous to the owner and people around them.


Diogenes Syndrome

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A man with Diogenes syndrome will be neglectful to themselves, lazy, and reclusive, hoard items and have a lack of shame. Diogenes was a philosopher in ancient Greece, who lived in a wine barrel and spread ideas of nihilism and animalism. Alexander the Great once asked him what he desired more than anything, he responded “For you to get out of my sunlight.” Other terms for the condition are senile breakdown, social breakdown, and senile squalor syndrome. It’s a reaction to stress that normally only occurs in old people. People suffering from the condition often neglect themselves so much that it leads to a mental breakdown, or physical collapse.


Walking Corpse Syndrome

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walking corpse syndrome also known as Cotard delusion, is one of the most unbelievable rare mental disorders. People suffering from this condition literally believe themselves to be dead, or non-existent. 69% of people with Cotard’s syndrome believe they are dead, and 55% of people with the condition believe they are immortal. One patient believed that parts of her body didn’t exist, and believed that she had been damned to eternity, and couldn’t die a normal death. This led to her refusing to eat, which subsequently led to her death.


The Delusion Of Doubles

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The delusion of doubles is a mental disorder where someone believes that people they know are actually just doubles in disguise pretending to be their friends, family, or co-workers. The disorder causes people to incorrectly recall memories in a way that strengthens their delusions. If they see a face which is similar to someone they know, they will sometimes remember that stranger as the person they actually know. The person experience the delusion will commonly become paranoid, and believe that they are being harassed, or unjustly treated by their delusions. The condition was named after Italian actor Leopoldo Fregoli, who was known for quickly changing costumes while on stage.


Reduplicative Paramnesia

Reduplicative paramnesia is the belief that a certain area has been doubled, for instance they might believe that a bank there was only one of now had an identical clone somewhere else. It’s one of the most rare mental disorders in the world. One patient was admitted into Jamaica Plain Veterans Hospital, in Boston, but believed that he was actually in an identical hospital in Taunton, with the same name. No matter what he was told he continued to delusionally believe he was in Taunton. At one point he even claimed that the hospital was located in the spare bedroom in his house. It’s commonly believed that this disorder is caused by disruptions in the brain systems involved in familiarity, and memory.




Pyromaniacs are obsessed with fire, and feel a need to start them. They can feel uneasy, and agitated before starting a fire. They are usually men, and often alcoholics. Pyros cannot stop themselves from setting fire to things, and try to spend as much time around fire as they can. Many Pyromaniacs will try to enter into the fire service, so they can be around fire all the time. They tend to feel a build up of stress before they set the fire, and when it begins to burn they feel a great relief and sometimes satisfaction. They can easily become dangerous people as they refuse to stop starting fires, and the fact that many of them are alcoholics only makes them more dangerous.


Folie A Deux


Folie a deux is a mental illness shared by multiple people. It starts with one person having a mental disorder, and then other people who spend time with that person will start to develop the same problems as them. Normally the delusional people live in seclusion away from people outside of their group. One case was when two sister both were hit by cars. The first sister, Ursula, ran into oncoming traffic and was hit by a car. Her sister, Sabina, then also stepped in front of a car and was run over. A married couple in their 30’s both became convinced that someone was breaking into their house, and spreading dust and fluff, and wearing down their shoes.




Boanthropy is the belief that you are a cow, or ox. People living with this madness will walk on all fours and eat grass. It’s said that Nebuchadnezzar II, King of the Babylonian Empire suffered from this condition. The Book of Daniel says that he “was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen”. Psychologist Carl Jung suggested that dreams may play an important role in the illness. He gives an example of a woman who dreamed she was attending an important social event. She was greeted by a hostess who said “How nice that you could come. All your friends are here, and they are waiting for you.” The hostess then opened a door which led them into a cowshed.


Paris Syndrome


Paris syndrome is an extreme culture shock that mainly affects Japanese people visiting Paris. It’s caused by people discovering that Paris is different to what they thought it would be. The shock can cause all sorts of symptoms including, hallucinations, aggression, sweating, vomiting, depersonalisation. Close to 20 Japanese tourists experience Paris syndrome every year. It’s possibly caused by Japanese magazines glamorising Paris to be a city full of beautiful people, wearing expensive clothes. Unfortunately when they get there they are shocked to see most people dress normally, and the population is much more over-weight than Japan’s.


Alice In Wonderland Syndrome


Alice in Wonderland syndrome is a strange condition that affects human perception, and can make objects around you appear larger or smaller. It can also create a feeling of zooming of the surrounding area. The effect lasts for about an hour, several times a day. It primarily effects children. It creates the illusion that the affected person has suddenly shrunk or grown tall. The syndrome can be set off by stress, migraines, brain tumours, and drugs.

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