Seeking professional medical help for mental disorders is just as necessary as visiting the doctor with physical ailments. Throughout history, doctors have come across strange disorders discovered from various parts of the world.

However, there are some mental disorders that are incredibly unusual and be hard to believe. Below are five such examples.

1. Cotard’s syndrome

Cotard’s syndrome is a psychiatric disorder in which a person holds the belief that he or she is dead or does not exist. It has been linked to depression, chronic sleep deprivation or drug psychosis.

One woman who suffered from Cotard’s syndrome believed her body parts did not exist and therefore she did not need to eat. She believed that she could not die a natural death due to being condemned to damnation. As a result, she died from starvation.

2. Capgras syndrome

Cotard’s and Capgras syndrome are both believed to be caused by a division in the brain between the area for visual facial recognition and the area that associates emotional responses with that recognition. In this disorder, the individual thinks an imposter or identical person has replaced someone in his or her life. It is seen in patients with schizophrenia or traumatic head injury.

In one case, a 74-year old woman believed that her husband had been replaced with a stranger. She refused to sleep with him, locked her bedroom door at night and asked for a gun. She could easily recognise other family members but only misidentified her husband.

3. Reduplicative paramnesia

In reduplicative paramnesia, patients are of the delusional belief that a place or location exists in two or more places simultaneously, or that it has been relocated to another site. It is suggested to be caused by damage to the right cerebral hemisphere and the frontal lobes.

Neurologist Arnold Pick first used the term “reduplicative paramnesia” in 1903 when he described a condition in a patient with suspected Alzheimer’s disease who insisted that she had been moved from one clinic to another. She claimed that the two clinics were identical but in a different area and that the medical staff worked at both locations.

4. Lima syndrome

Lima syndrome occurs when kidnappers become sympathetic to the wishes of their hostages. The name comes from a 1996 Japanese embassy hostage crisis in Lima, Peru.

14 members of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement took hundreds of diplomats, government and military officials and business executives as hostages. However, within a few days, most of the captives were released, with apparent disregard for their clout. Following unsuccessful negotiations, the remaining hostages were freed in a raid.

It is unclear if Lima syndrome is caused by feelings of guilt or moral indecisiveness.

5. Lycanthropy

Lycanthropy is a rare condition in which sufferers experience the delusion of transforming into an animal while some also behave like certain creatures. Lycanthropy derives from a Greek myth in which King Lycaon is transformed into a wolf as a punishment for offending the gods.

It usually accompanies schizophrenia, psychotic mood disorders and substance-induced psychoses. Scientists say it can originate in a dream before enveloping the entire awakened mind of the individual. MIMS

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