Another 10 Bizarre Mental Disorders – Listverse


Another 10 Bizarre Mental Disorders

Share This– Published May 9, 2008 – 173 Comments

Finally we have our second installment of bizarre brain-related disorders. In our first list we covered such illnesses as Stockholm Syndrome, and Stendhal Syndrome. This time we are looking at some slightly more physical disorders – many of which are the result of physical damage to the brain or parts of the body.

If you have suffered from any of these illnesses, or know of people who have, it would be great to hear about your experiences. Most of these are very rare, but a number of them are surprisingly common.


Phantom Limb Disorder

070118-Phantom-Limb Big

A person suffering from this disorder experiences the sensation that a missing limb (or even organ, such as the appendix) is still present on the body. 50 – 80% of people who have had an amputation experience this disorder. The sufferer will very often feel pain and discomfort in the phantom limb. Some sufferers can feel their phantom limbs gesticulating while they talk, and others believe that the limb is acting independently of their will. This disorder is often treated with Virtual Reality therapy (as pictured above).


Body Integrity Identity Disorder


Also known as Amputee Identity Disorder, this illness causes a person to wish to have a healthy part of their body amputated. In some cases, the sufferer has gone so far as to amputate their own limbs. Some sufferers also have sexual fetishes involving amputees. Some surgeons have actually amputated a limb for a person suffering this disorder, but it is a highly controversial move and most doctors use similar treatments to those used for phantom limb disorders.




Mythomania is a condition involving compulsive lying by a person with no obvious motivation. The affected person might believe their lies to be truth, and may have to create elaborate myths to reconcile them with other facts. A “pathological liar” is someone who often embellishes his or her stories in a way that he or she believes will impress people. It may be that a pathological liar is different from a normal liar in that a pathological liar believes the lie he or she is telling to be true at least in public and is “playing” the role.




Somatoparaphrenia is a type of monothematic delusion where one suddenly denies ownership of a limb or an entire side of ones body. For example, a patient might believe that his own arm would belong to the doctor, or that another patient left it behind. It can sometimes be treated by vestibular caloric stimulation (squirting warm water into the patient’s ear in a specific way), although most sufferers will not be aware of this and may request amputation, which is almost always denied as amputating a healthy limb would be a basic violation of the Hippocratic Oath. In the image above we see a series of drawings made by a sufferer of this disorder.


Munchausen Syndrome


Munchausen syndrome is a psychiatric disorder in which those affected fake disease, illness, or psychological trauma in order to draw attention or sympathy to themselves. It is in a class of disorders known as factitious disorders which involve “illnesses” whose symptoms are either self-induced or falsified by the patient. It is also sometimes known as hospital addiction syndrome. A related illness is Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy in which the person feigns the illness in another person – usually going so far to cause them harm to perpetuate the myth in order to gain sympathy for themselves.

Just paying the bills…

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Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Alice In Wonderland Syndrome

This may sound familiar to drug users: AIWS or Micropsia is a condition in which a patient’s sense of time, space and body image are distorted. People may appear tiny or patients may feel that part of their body shape or size has been altered. A sufferer may perceive humans, parts of humans, animals, and inanimate objects as substantially smaller than in reality. Another name for the condition is Lilliput sight or Lilliputian hallucinations. The image above illustrates the illusion suffered by patients of this disorder.


Neglect Syndrome

Clock Drawing In Neglect

In Neglect Syndrome, a person loses the ability to give equal attention to both sides of a space. For example, a patient in a rehabilitation hospital may wake up in the morning and proceeds to shave his face – only to be told later that he has only shaved half of his face. A person with this disorder, when drawing a person, will often leave off the arm and leg from one side, and when questioned, will state that it looks perfectly fine to them. When drawing a clock, the sufferer will often draw a circle and stuff all of the numbers in to one side (as in the image above). Neglect Syndrome is most often caused by damage to one hemisphere of the brain, as in the case of a stroke.



Shoplifter9 0Sni

Kleptomania is the disease in which a person has great difficulty resisting the impulse to steal something. Despite this being a disorder, the US and UK courts do not consider it a defense against stealing. Kleptomania usually begins in puberty and continues until late adulthood. It is considered to be a part of the obsessive compulsive range of disorders. Kleptomaniacs usually steal items of little value, and some will tend to steal the same types of items repeatedly.


Foreign Accent Syndrome


Foreign Accent Syndrome is a very rare disorder which usually occurs after some kind of brain injury (such as a stroke or head injury). When a person suffers from this syndrome they speak their native language with a foreign accent. There have been 50 recorded cases of this syndrome between 1941 and 2006. According to Wikipedia, a well-known case of foreign accent syndrome occurred in Norway in 1941 after a young woman, Astrid L., suffered a head injury from shrapnel during an air-raid. After apparently recovering from the injury she was left with what sounded like a strong German accent and was shunned by her fellow Norwegians. You can read about one case on the BBC.


Genital Retraction Syndrome


Genital Retraction Syndrome is a strange disorder in which the sufferer believes that his genitals (or breasts in the case of women sufferers) are shrinking, retracting in to the body, or may be removed entirely. Even more strangely, there have been cases of this occurring amongst many people at the same time; this is called penis panic. The phenomenon is often associated with occult beliefs or witchcraft. Outbreaks of penis panic occurred in China in 1948, 1955, 1966, 1974 and 1984/85. It is worth reading the Wikipedia article on this very bizarre syndrome.

Contributor: Abhishek

This article is licensed under the GFDL because it contains quotations from the Wikipedia articles cited above.

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This list has 173 comments [Add Comment]
  1. 1 Quiana

    Great LIst.

  2. 2 Patches

    Although not wholly politically correct, I love that you included Madonna and Condoleezza Rice for the last two!!

  3. 3 LordCalvert

    man that’s some weird crap

  4. 4 Quiana

    I know tons of people with mythomania.

  5. 5 longball

    Very interesting.

  6. 6 closet_nerd

    Patches beat me to it. Love the pics for #1 and #2.

    I remember having a feeling similar to the Alice in Wonderland Syndrome when I was a kid. Waking up feeling that the room was huge and I was tiny in the corner. Or feeling that the bed was 50 feet long. Maybe I have some repressed memories I should explore…

  7. 7 cbt

    number 4 and 5 are crazy but very interesting. My friends grandpa actually has number 4 and its weird to look at things that he writes and draws

  8. 8 Mom424

    Cool list!

    #1 is a current event. They arrested some folks for murder and to prevent more deaths. Men thought their penises were shrinking, so murdering the folks responsible for the curse seemed like a good idea. This was in the last couple of weeks.

    I’ve read of people with #9 (Body Integrity Disorder) freezing their limbs in dry ice, cutting off circulation with a tourniquet, or shooting the offending part with a shot gun to necessitate amputation. I can understand (not agree) doctors amputating limbs when the patient doesn’t respond to treatment. Home amputation/freezing etc. could very well end in death. Of course there are scum buckets who will do anything for money too!

  9. 9 Matt

    I am a mythomaniac, in my school life i’ve gone as far to create a fake personal history, like where i was born, my actual name, my mental state.

  10. 10 jfrater

    Matt: I don’t believe you. (har har) :)

  11. 11 Jackit

    The munchausen syndrome in me is tingling.

  12. 12 DiscHuker

    mwhahahah, madonna. what a joke.

  13. 13 DanOhh

    You forgot to add: Firsterdouche Disorder. This is the disorder of douchebags that always have to type in that they are the first person on a comment list.

    There is the similar disorder which is Psudofirsterdouche which is when they try to do the same as a Fisterdouche but they are the second or third person to make a comment. There once was a case in China where a Psudofirsterdouche was actually the twenty-eighth person to make a comment.

    If you would like to send money to help find a cure for this disorder please send your cash to DanOhh.

  14. 14 jfrater

    DanOhh: hehe – if you find a cure let me know :)

  15. 15 EricB

    Very interesting stuff. I wonder if anyone has ever used Genital Retraction Syndrome as an….excuse…..for a certain something, lol

  16. 16 goof_ball

    interesting list!

  17. 17 Kreachure

    LOL, Madonna needs to be committed to a mental hospital right away!

  18. 18 Harsha

    You mean my third leg doesn’t exist!??

  19. 19 Kreachure

    Hey, I’m not a mythomaniac, I swear!

  20. 20 Randall

    A clear cause of Genital Retraction Syndrome is being married to, or dating, what we in the academic world like to call, in the Latin, Bitchoticus Tremendibus… or, to the layman, a &*^#@!% harpie. The cure for this syndrome is to divest oneself as rapidly as possible from the source of the offense (not the easiest thing to do when, in a moment of personal madness, you have stood afore a priest and/or pastor and vowed unholy and eternal adherence to the wishes of the succubus in question) and to then take up, as soon as possible, with the nearest willing sane and available Dirty Girl… also known as The Good Sport, who will, in due course, assist the sufferer to a return to Full Manhood. It’s then advisable to hang on to this blessing if at all possible.

    The poster speaks from personal experience.

  21. 21 mzfly

    LMFAO at the picture for #1. Well I can say that I have experienced Alice in Wonderland syndrome, but it was more like a ’shroom flashback. Don’t know if that counts.
    I’m really into wierd documentaries and there is one about #9. I think it’s called “Whole”.

  22. 22 Joss

    Extremely interesting. #7 is weeeeeeeird.

  23. 23 80s

    RE: Munchausen syndrome

  24. 24 Kreachure

    For those who don’t know, the name ‘Munchausen’ in ‘Munchausen syndrome’ is from the “Adventures of Baron Munchausen”, which were ‘autobiographical’ fantasy stories told by ‘Baron Munchausen’, who assured us that they had seriously happened to him, even though they were all ridiculously unbelievable.

    So, Baron Munchausen surely suffered from a severe case of Mythomania, and probably Alice in Wonderland syndrome too.

    Okay, gotta stop saying Munchausen now.

  25. 25 toolnut

    Great list!! I’ve experienced Alice in Wonderland syndrome, but I had some help from a fun guy.

  26. 26 SlickWilly

    fun guy = fungi = magic mushrooms = drugs = criminal = burning in hell

    Enjoy your stay. :)

  27. 27 Kreachure

    What dad’s thinking in #6:

    “‘Fever’ again, huh…? That’s IT you little lying brat. It’s off to the Bellevue Institution for you.”

  28. 28 KingoftheHorizon

    i beleive the janitor from scrubs has mythomania

  29. 29 downhighway61

    Great list. The bizarre ones are always fun.

    Does anyone remember the episode of ER with the woman who had
    Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy. She was giving her kid things to make him sick. It was pretty sad.

  30. 30 Peri

    I once knew someone who had his leg amputated (irreparable damage from a car accident, not #9) who occasionally felt pain in his missing foot. I actually caught him once massaging his artifical foot…he said it hurt, so he was rubbing it to make it feel better. It must have worked because he stopped complaining. He moved away, so now he’s my phantom friend whom I talk to occasionally…he’s there, you just don’t see him.

  31. 31 Emeraldi

    I know a guy who has experienced Phantom Limb Disorder. His leg was amputated at the knee due to cancer but he says every once in a while his missing foot would itch but when he scratches the shoe attached to his prosthetic leg the itch goes away as if he was scratching his real foot.

  32. 32 dizit

    I’ve had personal experience with #4, Neglect Syndrome.
    In 1985 my mother had a massive stroke which devastated her right brain, leaving her completely unaware of the left half of her body and, in fact, everything to the left of her.
    She accused me, several times, of having left my arm or leg in her bed. She was unable to recognize her own home, in which she had lived for more than 40 years, saying it was a fairly clever forgery, but parts of the house (those to the left of her) were missing. If I turned her wheelchair, and she could see the formerly unseen portions of the house, the parts NOW on her left no longer existed.
    She’d eat the left half of her plate of food. If I turned it, she’d eat the left half of what was remaining…and so on.
    I could give a thousand examples, but you get the picture.

  33. 33 G

    lol… the picture choice for no. 1 is genius.
    I always love to see a list from the ‘bizzare’ category.

  34. 34 GoonerYank

    Great list, I too had to laugh at the pictures chosen for number 1 and 2. It was never diagnosed or anything but I believe I may have suffered from a form of Alice in Wonderland syndrome when I was much younger, somewhere in my late elementary and middle school years. I used to get hysterical in the middle of the night thinking I had gigantic hands (the feeling was made worse because my giant hands made it impossible to pick up a thread).

    I occasionally still get the feeling (I’m now 26) but can always suppress any feelings on hysteria.

  35. 35 Chune

    I loved picture number one and two… Madonna thinking she’s British, and Condi talking about shrinking hahahaha

  36. 36 jfrater

    I must confess – picking the pictures is my favorite part of the list writing :)

  37. 37 toolnut

    I’ll keep a seat saved for ya, Slickwilly. :)

  38. 38 NeoLudd

    26. Ignorance=Poopiness=Douchbaggerity=Close Minded Religous Zealot

    Stuff it with walnuts, mister

  39. 39 Elsa

    My uncle lost his leg from the thigh down and has always complained about the phantom pain…his last memory is of his leg bent and he says he’d give anything to be able to straigten it out

    But he’s also batshit , who knows :)

  40. 40 MM

    I used to be a Klepto…#3.
    I started stealing makeup and hair stuff when I was like 10 or 11. I kept doing that until I was about 18. The only reason I stopped is because I started to get paranoid about jail. As a minor, a fine and getting yelled at is the only thing to worry about. When you become 18, you get imprisioned. Dont want that… I never got caught either. And it was always small things like lipstick, a magazine or pony tail holders. Sometimes I still feel the urge at 25..

  41. 41 TerranRich

    Oh, no, it’s… PENIS PANIC!

    Although probably a legitimate term, it’s still hilarious. :D

  42. 42 ringtailroxy

    these lists are always enlightening-because there are real people in the world with real families coping with these conditions.

    sadly, because I work in the animal care field, I have seen cases of what I can only call “Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy to Pets”

    there has been 2 different clients at 2 different animal clinics I have been employed at that always had ill pets. that in itself is not completely unusual-when one has multiple pets of various ages things DO happen-it’s just that the 2 pet owners had these things in common:

    1.) they had MONEY. one drove a new Land Rover, the other a Lexus. cost of treatment for their ill animals was never an issue. both lived in very luxurious homes and one was divorced, the other married to some businessman that stayed overseas for months at a stretch.

    2.) these people always wanted the very best, newest, most-cutting edge procedures or measure taken to keep their pets alive. the words “Humane Euthanaisa” or “He is really suffering now” never made an impact and often got the technician or veterinarian a stern tongue-lashing about how we are supposed to “save the animals”

    3.) the times where usually predictable. if a few weeks (or months) went by without seeing this client, it was inevitable some staff memeber would say “gee, it’s been awhile since we saw Mrs. So-And-So…” and viola! they would be at the clinic in about a week.

    4.) these clients developed “friendships” with certain staff members they percieved to be in positions of power. they often came in without appointments, and then demanded to see the doctor they desired. (usually the one who catered to them)if there was any inconvienence to them, they would not hesitate to complain to the higher-up “friend”

    5.) often times, the animals where not ill at all! but since they where percieved to be ill, they doctors would actually MAKE PLACEBO PILLS for the owner to administer to the pet! (even going so far as to once empty a bottle of prescription antibiotic eyedrops and fill it with simple saline eyewash for the owner to administer)

    unfortunately, the laws in this state declare that pets are property, and although any proof of abuse is admissable in court, it is rather difficult to prove that clients who have “good” social reputations and wealth and obviously provide medical care for thier animals are in actuality under suspision of causing harm to their pets for attention and solace from other pet owners.

    the most bizarre time was when Mrs. So-and-So brought in her beautiful Abyssinian cat with a bad tear to the pawpad. it looked as if the cat’s paw pad had been sliced by a cheese grater. (or a razorblade) when questioned, the only stated the cat was fine when she went out to lunch, then was limping when she returned. however, the wound appeared to be older than the 45 minutes she said it was… and the cat was very frightened to be held by the owner as well. the owner denied there being any cheesegrater or razor blades in the house where the cat could harm itself.

  43. 43 Christine

    When I was younger I would get something similar to the Alice in Wonderland syndrome. Could be an overactive imagination though as it only occurred when I closed my eyes. But it literally felt like if I opened my eyes, everything would be miniscule. Of course, when I did open my eyes, this was not so.

  44. 44 tassadar

    If you watch House MD this list will not look weird at all!

  45. imgimgimgimg


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