How to Identify 8 Strange Mental Illnesses

Experts say that 1 in 4 people will suffer from a mental or neurological disorder in their lives. Some of those disorders are well-known, others are so rare and specific, that even professionals may find it difficult to diagnose them.

Bright Side will try to figure out how to spot some unknown and misunderstood mental illnesses.

1. Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Also known as Todd Syndrome, this is a disorienting condition that affects a person’s perception, making them see their environment as distorted, just like Alice experienced in the book by shrinking to a cup’s size or growing too big for a house.


  • Patients with Todd Syndrome are usually young people in their 20s who are suffering from brain tumors, strong migraines, or are in the beginning stages of Epstein-Barr virus.
  • They will start to perceive distortion in the size and color of their surroundings, seeing objects as larger or smaller than their actual size, even including their own bodies.
  • Sometimes confusing colors.
  • Disorientation.
  • The condition is rare and temporary, so another sign could be that it would stop in a matter of time.

2. Factitious Disorder

Most of us dislike the idea of getting sick, having to go to the hospital, and staying in bed suffering. But not people with Factitious Disorder. They are obsessed with having an illness and assuming the role of someone who is sick. This is caused by past trauma, child abuse or neglect, or severe disease. Some research suggests around 1% of the world population suffer from this mental disorder, which, though it has no cure, can be treated with psychotherapy.


  • People with this disorder deliberately make themselves ill.
  • Constant and eager visits to see a doctor and receive treatment at the hospital or through prescription medicine.
  • Patients will often make up stories that involve never-ending symptoms that will help them go from doctor to doctor.
  • They have a thorough knowledge of medical terminology.

3. Alien Hand Syndrome

Also known as Dr. Strangelove Syndrome, it’s a rare mental disorder by which the sufferer loses total control of a hand or any limb. It has no cure, and sufferers usually have to use another hand to control the uncontrolled one. It may happen after a split-brain operation, an aneurysm, a brain tumor, or a stroke.


  • Reports of a hand or limb which suddenly has a mind of its own, moves as it pleases, and even becomes violent toward the patient by trying to grab their neck, scratch them, or take off their clothes.
  • Patients feel alienated toward their hand or limb to the degree that it could drive them to hurt themselves.

4. Dissociative Identity Disorder

It used to be called Multiple Personality Disorder, and, as its name suggests, it is a mental illness presented in people who exhibit more than one personality, usually between 2 and 3 different identities. This disorder is one of the most famous on the list since it has been portrayed several times on screen, and the truth behind this illness that affects between 0.01% and 1% of the general population is disturbing. They commonly end up in mental institutions.


  • People with DID appear to have more than one identity. They have different names, personalities, and genders.
  • There is a random switch from one identity to the other with no warning, after hours or years.
  • There are episodes of amnesia.
  • Patients don’t realize what is going on with their condition, which makes it hard for them to live a normal life and causes struggles in their family, social, and professional life.

5. Stendhal Syndrome

The hopeful side of Stendhal Syndrome is that it is a temporary episode that arises after a person is exposed to innumerable pieces of art, exquisite architecture, and locations, as well as other surroundings distinguished by overwhelming beauty. The syndrome is named after the French author, who narrated his stressful experience down to the last letter following a trip he made to Florence in 1817.


  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Sudden high levels of anxiety
  • An abrupt increase in their heartbeat
  • Hallucinations

6. Cotard Delusion

How to Identify 8 Strange Mental Illnesses

Probably the scariest syndrome on the list, the Cotard Delusion or Walking Corpse Syndrome, causes the patient to think they are walking around dead or in spirit. Scientists believe it can be caused by injuries to specific parts of the brain. Fortunately, it’s exceptionally rare.


  • Patients show the belief that they’re dead, ghosts, don’t exist, are already in a putrefying state, or have lost all their blood flow and organ function.
  • Since they believe they’re gone, they stop eating or drinking any amount of food or water because they think they don’t need nutrients.
  • Depression
  • Signs of social alienation

7. Visual Agnosia

Visual Agnosia is a condition in which the connection between vision and the meaning of what they see is not accurate, so that a person stops associating the correct meaning to a specific object. This could lead someone to believe a chair is a ball. Visual Agnosia often occurs after an episode of brain damage derived from dementia, cancer, poisoning, etc.


  • Patients exhibit confusion between what they see and what they believe they see, so they can mistake a doll for a dog, for example.
  • Trouble recognizing places and faces that should be familiar to them.

8. Wendigo Psychosis

It’s a serious condition that makes a person believe they are possessed by a monster called Wendigo, who survives on human flesh. The First Nation Algonkian Indian culture believes the Wendigo to be a monster with some human characteristics or a spirit who has possessed a person and forced them to become a heinous monster capable of murder.


  • Signs of depression and neurosis
  • Chronic loneliness
  • Aggressive and violent behavior

Which of these illnesses would you say could have the worst repercussions in someone’s life? Do you believe mental disorders are still stigmatized? Share your thoughts below!

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