We can all name some common psychological disorders. For instance, depression, anxiety, OCD are just a few. But what about rare mental disorders?

The mind is a wonderful thing. After all, it’s what makes us human. It separates us from animals. But when it goes wrong, it can produce some horrifying symptoms.

There are some weird mental disorders you probably didn’t know existed. The below disorders are real, but they affect only a small portion of the population.

Here is our top ten list of the strangest psychological disorders you’ve probably never heard about. And probably don’t want to – for good reason.

1. Landau-Kleffner syndrome

Landau-Kleffner syndrome is a psychological disorder that most commonly affects children between the ages of five to seven years. Typically, it is expressed as a loss of ability to properly express their thoughts and understand spoken language. Some patients with this syndrome also experience cramps.

There is no clear scientific explanation as to the cause of this disorder. The strangest fact is that children tend to successfully begin to develop language skills but then gradually lose them. Some speech therapy techniques can help to cope with this disorder, but it is difficult to implement them.

2. Aboulomania

If you find it hard to make decisions, spare a thought for people with aboulomania. They suffer from a crippling condition that makes it almost impossible for them to make a simple choice.

Aboulomania is not a well-known disorder. In essence, it is about persistent and devastating attacks of indecision. Those suffering from this disease are normal people, both physically and mentally in almost any other respect, except when they find themselves in a situation when they have to make a choice.

This is when serious problems start. Some people suffering from this psychological disorder face extreme difficulties in their everyday life, they are often unable to do the simplest things.

For example, simple thought about weather can lead them to doubt if they should go for a walk or not, and all this can completely knock them out of the rut. So whether it is going shopping, picking what to wear, or what to have for dinner, they have a chronic inability to make a decision.

Many patients say they feel physically healthy but imprisoned and deprived of their freedom of action.

3. Mary Hart Syndrome

This is indeed a very strange disorder. There were cases documented of people experiencing seizures when hearing the voice of TV personality Mary Hart. The doctor who studied one of these cases confirms that a woman really had an episode when she heard Hart speak. The victim felt as if her head was squeezed, and she was confused and embarrassed.

It is worth noting that this strange syndrome occurs only in those who already suffer from seizures that result from other ailments.

4. Caffeine-induced anxiety disorder

Scientists have long known that caffeine increases anxiety. It is also known that people who are already subject to persistent anxiety disorders are much more susceptible to the psychological effects of caffeine. Thus, in case you are prone to panic attacks, be careful with coffee as caffeine increases the likelihood of their occurrence.

5. Boanthropy

This is one of those very rare and weird psychological disorders, but nonetheless, it is extremely troubling for those who suffer from it. Boanthropy is a strange delusional disorder during which a person convinces themselves that they are actually a cow or a bull and then starts behaving as such.

The disorder usually begins as a sort of dream and then takes over a person entirely, eventually evolving into a mania. They will mimic a cow’s actions, such as eating grass and walking on all fours. They will mix with cows in fields but have no idea why or what they are doing.

It is also possible that this state can be caused by hypnosis, provided that a person is susceptible to it. No one really knows why people suffer from Boanthropy.

However, there is an early reference to it in the Bible. Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king, is also thought of have suffered from this disease, being “driven from men and did eat grass as oxen”, as stated in the Book of Daniel.

6. Exploding head syndrome

Those suffering from this psychological disorder periodically hear loud sounds of an explosion, which seem to come straight out of their heads. The explosions usually begin 1-2 hours after falling asleep.

There is no physical pain, but for obvious reasons, patients feel intense fear and anxiety after such attacks. To this day, the exact cause of the disorder remains unknown, but it is often associated with overwork and stress, and the symptoms often disappear without any treatment.

7. Foreign accent syndrome

It is a specific speech disorder that manifests itself in a sudden change of intonation and pronunciation. It seems that the sufferer begins to speak with a foreign accent. The disorder is usually the result of a severe brain injury and is manifested within 1-2 years after the injury. Only a few patients of the approximately 60 cases reported since 1941 managed to recover.

8. Taijin Kyofusho syndrome

This syndrome is most common in Japan, or more precisely, among the people who grew up in accordance with the social expectations of Japanese culture. Taijin Kyofusho is characterized by panic fear of social interactions when a sufferer is excessively worried that a social occasion might somehow go wrong. For example, it may include the fear that a sufferer will embarrass themselves or their hosts.

For example, the sufferer may worry that they smell bad or that they may accidentally offend someone. The existence of this syndrome in Japan is not surprising since Japanese culture is widely known for its obsession with social rituals and etiquette.

9. Pica eating disorder

This is a very unusual and rare mental disorder that is expressed in the appetite for soil, coal, paper, and other non-edible things. It is unclear what the cause of this disease is, but there is a hypothesis that it may be provoked by an unbalanced diet, which leads to a lack of minerals in the body.

The fact that the disorder is the most common in pregnant women and children from less developed countries confirms this assumption.

10. Riley-Day Syndrome

The Riley-Day syndrome, which is also known as familial dysautonomia, is a genetically inherited disorder. For its symptoms to show, it is necessary that the gene is inherited from both parents.

Basically, this syndrome affects the autonomic nervous system. Although there are many unpleasant symptoms, there are also some rather interesting manifestations. The strangest among them is the fact that many sufferers of this syndrome are almost completely insensitive to pain.

Living without pain may sound great in theory, but it’s not the case in practice. The pain is really your friend because it sends signals to the brain to make you know when something goes wrong, and the complete lack of pain can sometimes have life-threatening consequences.

These weird and rare psychological disorders just go to show that our minds are capable of producing the most bizarre symptoms. Because of this, they are extremely hard, not only to diagnose but to treat.

Have I missed any rare disorders out that you think should have made the list? Let us know!

Anna LeMind, B.A.

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