Today we are lucky enough to live in a highly advanced world, brimming with new technology and discoveries. In terms of medicine, there has never been a better time to be alive because medical breakthroughs are constantly being made. This means that doctors have an excellent understanding of the human body and are able to help people, even patients with seemingly bizarre mental ailments.
Until quite recently mental illness was largely misunderstood and as a result, many people suffered, not only from their condition but also from a lack of understanding from those around them.
We have a better understanding of these types of conditions today but don’t fool yourself, there are still many mental disorders that we don’t have a clue about. Some are so rare that they barely get reported while others are simply impossible to explain, analyze, or treat. We can only hope that as technology progresses, we will be able to explain these strange disorders and one day cure them.
From people waking up with strange foreign accents, a woman who has explosive reactions to sounds and a man who thought his wife was a hat, all the people on this list have bizarre conditions that have left doctors shaking their heads.
15 The Real-Life Alice In Wonderland
The condition is often associated with migraine headaches and some doctors believe that it could be possible that Lewis Carroll himself suffered from this disorder, which was why he was able to describe it so well in his book. Lewis did suffer from migraine headaches during his life so he may have used these bizarre symptoms as a source of inspiration.
14 The Man Who Thought His Wife Was A Hat
Dr. P thought that his wife was a hat and often talked to knobs on furniture mistaking them for faces. When he went for walks, he mistook fire hydrants for children. Sacks believed that the condition may have been caused by earlier damage to the brain, possibly due to an accident.
13 The Man Who Wanted To Be Eaten
Now we all know about cannibals like Jeffrey Dahmer, who want to eat other people, but have you ever heard of people who desire to be eaten? Stephen confessed that he had fantasies about being eaten and digested by "a large, dominant woman” and that these thoughts were becoming intrusive and affecting his daily activities. Doctors examined Stephen thoroughly and determined that he wasn’t gay but advised him that they couldn’t assist him with the fantasies about wanting to be eaten.
This is known as vorarephilia; the erotic desire to be consumed by another person or creature, and there is still no known treatment for it.
12 The Woman Who Had A Song Stuck In Her Head For Four Years
She desperately sought out help from brain specialists and therapists but nothing seemed to help. After four years the song inexplicably switched to “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. Sometimes her husband needs to shout to get Susan’s attention because the song in her head drowns out all other noise. Doctors think it might be a form of musical tinnitus but they can’t be sure.
11 The Woman Who Believed She Had 80 Identical Husbands
This is an actual neurological disorder called Capgras Syndrome and we are only now beginning to understand what causes this nightmarish condition.
It was first described by a French psychiatrist named Joseph Capgras in 1923 who recounted the case of a woman who he called Madame M. She believed that her husband, and other people that she knew, had been replaced by a series of look-alike doubles. At one point she believed that at least 80 men were all pretending to be her husband. This creepy disorder occurs when the brain has difficulty identifying people and starts to believe that they have been substituted.
10 The Mad King Who Spoke Until He Foamed At The Mouth
Researchers found a large amount of arsenic in his blood, which they think was present in the medications the doctors of the time treated him with. This could have actually set off the porphyria which means that it only made his condition worse.
9 The Woman With More Than Twenty Personalities Living Inside Her
Doctors have identified at least 20 different personalities in Kim and concluded that none of them are aware of each other. Most of her personalities are artists, although Kim is not a trained artist, and all have their own styles when it comes to themes, techniques, and colors. Psychologists believe that Kim suffered severe abuse as a child and that this caused her to develop DID.
8 The Wild Boy Of Aveyron Who Never Recovered
Psychologists and philosophers were eager to study the feral child to find out how the lack of human interaction had affected him. But their attempts to socialize him were only partly successful. He eventually managed to acquire toilet skills and was able to dress himself, but he couldn’t learn to talk and only had rudimentary language comprehension.
Some researchers now believe that Victor may have been autistic and this might have been the reason that he was left in the wild.
7 A Traumatic Brain Injury Completely Changed His Personality
Friends and family said that Gage’s personality altered so drastically after the accident that he almost seemed like another person entirely. Where he had once been energetic and loving he became listless and aggressive. At the time his case baffled doctors, but today experts believe that this was a classic case of frontal brain damage which often alters personality. Gage did receive extensive rehabilitation and returned to work, this time as a carriage driver.
6 The Norwegian Woman Who Woke Up With A German Accent
Since 1907 there have been 62 reported cases of foreign accent syndrome and although doctors now know that it is related to brain injury they are still struggling to understand the condition.
5 The Boy With No Appetite
Jones continues to lose weight and his parents constantly need to remind him to eat and drink and sometimes almost force feed him just to keep him alive. Although he has a history of seizures, doctors are still unsure about what exactly is causing this condition.
One theory is that his hypothalamus (the control center of the brain) might be malfunctioning. This part of the brain regulates body temperature, sleep cycles, and blood pressure as well as hunger and thirst. But doctors are still investigating and hopefully, they will be able to make a definite diagnosis soon.
4 Would You Stand By And Watch Someone Being Murdered?
The most famous incident of Bystander Syndrome occurred in 1964 when a woman called Kitty Genovese was attacked on her way home from work. It’s thought that over 30 people witnessed the attack, but none of them did anything to help. She was eventually murdered.
This is also known as bystander apathy and it is a social phenomenon that proposes that individuals are less likely to help someone in peril if there are other persons present at the same time. There are several factors involved with this condition that scientists continue to study.
3 Eating Noises Drive Her Into An Uncontrollable Rage
If Adah Siganoff hears someone eating, she has an irrational and uncontrollable outburst of anger. For others sufferers of this strange condition, it could be any type of noise that sets them off. The worst part? There’s no known effective treatment for this condition which means they have to live with these fits of rage.
2 The Woman Whose Hand Had A Mind Of Its Own
A professor from the University of Aberdeen who is studying the condition said that he encountered a woman whose alien hand would stuff fish bones into her mouth until she choked. Very distressing indeed.
1 The Woman Who Insisted That She Was Corpse
The condition was first discussed by neurologist Jules Cotard in 1880 where he refers to a woman he encountered who suffered from a severe form of this disorder. The woman, called Mademoiselle X, completely denied the existence of certain parts of her body, believed that she was dead, and refused to eat. She told Cotard that she was damned and could not die naturally. She eventually died of starvation as no one at the time understood the condition well enough to help her.