By Maha Usman
The human mind is a funny thing. It can be molded into almost anything you can think of. Here are some weird af mental disorders that would blow your mind- pun intended!
Capgras syndrome, named after a French psychiatrist who described the illusion of doubles, is a delusion of misidentification. It is characterized by a person’s delusional belief that an acquaintance, usually a spouse or other close family member, has been replaced by an identical looking impostor or several doubles.
Capgras syndrome occurs most often in patients with schizophrenia, although it has also been reported in patients with dementia or epilepsy and after traumatic brain injury. The management does not differ from the treatment of the underlying disorders, and usually involves antipsychotic medications, although in dementia patients, cognitive enhancing treatments and nonpharmacologic strategies that diminish disorganization should be used.
The Fregoli delusion, or the delusion of doubles, is a rare disorder in which a person holds a delusional belief that different people are in fact a single person who changes appearance or is in disguise.
Cotard syndrome is a specific nihilistic delusion named after Jules Cotard, a French neurologist, who first described the condition, which he called le délire de négation(negation delirium), in 1880. The affected person holds the delusional belief that he or she is already dead, does not exist, is putrefying or has lost his or her blood or internal organs.
It is most frequently observed in patients with psychotic depression or schizophrenias and is managed by focusing on the treatment of the underlying disorder.
Reduplication is observed mainly among acutely confused or severely amnesic people; for example, a patient may say that he has been in one or more hospitals that are very similar to his present location and that all bear the same name. The effect also can be induced by showing the person an object such as a picture and by testing him for recognition of the same picture a few minutes later. He is apt to say that he has seen a similar picture but definitely not the one now being shown. This effect appears to depend on loss of a sense of familiarity and on failure to treat a single object seen on a number of occasions as one and the same. It has been reported that reduplication of this kind is typically associated with confabulation, speech disorder (paraphasia), disorientation, and denial of illness.
Alien Hand Syndrome
Alien hand syndrome is a phenomenon in which one hand is not under control of the mind. The person loses control of the hand, and it acts as if it has a mind of its own. The etiology includes neurosurgery, tumor, aneurysms, and rarely stroke. This case is presented to create awareness of this interesting clinical scenario, which can be terrifying to the patients and confusing to the physicians who are not aware of it.
A 77-year-old woman presented with the complaint of observing her left hand moving without her knowledge while watching television. Her left hand stroked her face and hair as if somebody was controlling it. These movements lasted only half an hour but on recovery, she had left hemiparesis. Alien hand syndrome as the presentation of cardioembolic stroke is extremely rare but can be terrifying to patients.