In a given year, around 54 million Americans suffer from some form of mental health issue. For some, it is caused by addiction, while for others, the illness is caused by something deep-set, such as genetics. Scientists have been trying to understand the roots of psychological disorders in order to help the suffers. While the sufferers understand and endure pain everyday, there are those who dismiss the thought of mental illness.
The topic is highly misunderstood and ignored. There are hundreds of types of psychological disorders around the world. Sadly, only a handful is known by the public. Today, we are listing 10 unusual types of psychological disorders and the signs they are present.
1. Cherophobia – Sufferers deliberately avoid experiences that invoke positive emotions or happiness.
Believe it or not, some people are afraid of happiness or joy. Even though the sufferers aren’t sad all the time, they will do everything in their power to avoid things that they know will put a smile on their face. They feel as if their short term happiness can turn into long term pain. When they believe that something bad will follow up if they participate in “fun” activities, it has a negative impact on life and often pushes one into deep depression.
According to psychiatrist Carrie Barron, the fear of pleasure or happiness could stem from the fear of conflict with a loved one. Or if you’re used to something bad happening immediately after a happy event, you might resist going again. The feeling of complete hopelessness can be treated using insight-oriented psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. At the end of the day, tackling cherophobia is changing the way you think.
2. Pseudocyesis – A phenomenon where one shows all the signs of being pregnant without carrying an actual baby.
Pseudocyesis can happen to both men and women but is extremely rare. The medical term when men experience this is called Couvade. So, what causes it? Doctors believe that in women, it could be either a physical or psychological condition such as physical or mental trauma or a chemical imbalance in the brain. When a woman suffers from pseudocyesis, she will show all the signs of a regular pregnancy; such as morning sickness, frequent urination and an expanding belly.
The only difference is that there’s no baby inside. Studies show that most of the sufferers have underwent some form of abuse, poverty or another type of emotional trauma and creating a false pregnancy is their way of coping with it.
3. The Truman Show Delusion – The sufferer believes that they are part of a secret TV show with live audience and hidden cameras rolling 24/7.
The Truman Show Delusion is a psychological disorder where people believe that they are living a real-life reality show. Sufferers are delusional and believe that there are hidden cameras rolling day and night to capture their daily activities for millions of people to enjoy. There have been several cases reported of TSD where the sufferers were convinced by all means that production crews were following them and that their thoughts were premeditated.
One of the most popular case involves a man named Brian from LA. The 26-year-old visual artist was convinced that he was the star on a television show and that 9/11 was a staged event, to make the television show more dramatic. Convinced that his life was a reality show, Brian decided to fly to New York and see for himself if the Twin Towers were standing. After realizing that he was living a delusional life, Brian stormed into the United Nations headquarters and demanded asylum from his own life. He was taken to Bellevue hospital, where he asked the doctor if he could speak to the director. Brian was ultimately diagnosed with schizophrenia.
4. Boanthropy – A person believes that they are a cow or an ox.
Boanthropy is a strange and unusual disorder that causes a person to undergo the delusion that they are either an ox or a cow. The psychological disorder causes them to imitate the animals and perform tasks such as eating grass or walking on all fours. The most famous sufferer of this condition was King Nebuchadnezzar, according to the Book of Daniel.
The sufferers begin by turning themselves into pure vegetarians, feeding on grass and other plants. In some cases, sufferers started mooing uncontrollably and also develop an uncontrollable appetite for grass. The personality altering condition can affect the person’s way of life and it is important to seek medical attention at the earliest stages.
5. Erotomania – People are deluded into thinking that someone else is in love with them.
Erotomania is a rare disorder in which a person becomes delusional that a person of a higher social status is in love with them. Studies show that sufferers usually live a lonely life, isolate themselves from friends and family, are unemployed, and have few social contacts. Although the roots of Erotomania is unknown, doctors believe that genetics has a huge role in its occurrence since most of the patients had a family history of mental illness.
Even if there is strong evidence that their thoughts are unrealistic, the sufferer will be persistent with their beliefs. Their behavior can be erratic and unpredictable; making them dangerous. They will attempt to make contact with their “imaginary lovers” through stalking, written communication, and other harassing behaviors.
6. Aboulomania – A disorder in which a person displays pathological indecisiveness, affecting their ability to function in daily life.
The severe form of psychological disorder can affect a person’s ability to function in daily life. Sufferers also experience anxiety, depression, and extreme stress along with the illness. Individuals with aboulomania not only have a hard time trusting others’ decisions, but also become paralyzed with fear when faced with making decisions themselves. Their inability to make a judgement for themselves causes them to become codependent in relationships.
Sufferers are extremely sensitive to criticism and have a hard time expressing themselves if involved in an argument with their counterpart. Studies show that with proper therapy and goal-oriented therapy, sufferers can overcome the indecisiveness to become more assertive and independent.
7. Dissociative Amnesia – Occurs when an individual “blocks out” specific memories.
Dissociative Amnesia is typically related to traumatic or extremely stressful events. It’s not that the memories don’t exist, but rather, it is buried deeply or is inaccessible by the individual. This could be due to witnessing traumatic events; such as abuse or war. The memories are hidden from the individual as a default mechanism to protect themselves.
With the right amount of therapy, however, individuals can be helped to retrieve and process these memories. Although the therapies help, not all individuals are capable of retrieving the repressed memories.
8. Avoidant Personality Disorder – Causes one to withdraw from society because they fear being disliked, judged, or humiliated.
Avoidant personality disorder or APD is an illness that causes one to withdraw from social and physical interactions. The sufferers often have low self-esteem and are known to be extremely shy. Their self-consciousness causes them to view themselves as inferior to others. This is why the suffers keep distance from friends and their partners since they believe that once someone gets to know them, they will be rejected.
Sufferers of APD need to try and open themselves up with their friends and partners since bottling up emotions can only worsen their condition. Talk therapy is known to be effective with sufferers of APD.
9. Paruresis – Extreme nervousness that causes one’s sphincter muscles to lock up while in close proximity to others in a public restroom.
“When you gotta go, you gotta go” is apparently not an option for as many as 20 million Americans. Paruresis is a mental disorder that causes extreme nervousness or shyness around others. This can happen anywhere from a public restroom to a bathroom in someone else’s home, and even in your own place if other people are in close proximity.
It is mostly caused by anxiety and could have started due to a past incident in the restroom. Without proper treatment, paruresis can affect one’s lifestyle, since they find it hard to be away from their home (comfort zone) for long periods of time.
10. Pronoia – The sufferer believes that everything and everyone in the universe is conspiring for their success.
Pronoia is oddly the reverse of paranoia and depending on the person’s mentality, it can either be a valuable asset or a huge liability for them. The disorder causes one to live in a delusional state where they assume that their success is in the hands of the universe. Their highly optimistic belief makes them think that everyone lives to please them or to make them happy. While it can benefit a person who is highly motivated, it can become a liability for someone who becomes dependant on the illusion they themselves have created.