We can all name some common mental 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.

Here are 10 rare mental disorders you’ve probably never heard about. And probably don’t want to – for good reason.

10 Rare Mental Disorders

  1. 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. 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.

  1. Apotemnophilia

Ever wanted to cut off part of your body? No, me neither. But those with apotemnophilia have a pathological desire to amputate a healthy limb such as a leg or arm.

Known as ‘body integrity identity disorder’, sufferers are driven to remove parts of their bodies. The desire can be so strong that some sufferers actually attempt to remove or irreparably damage their own limbs so that surgery is necessary.

  1. Boanthropy

This is one of those very rare and weird mental disorders, but nonetheless, it is extremely troubling for those who suffer from it. People with Boanthropy are convinced that they are cows. 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.

No one really knows why people suffer from Boanthropy. However, there is an early reference to it in the Bible. King Nebuchadnezzar was a sufferer. He is described as being ‘driven from men and did eat grass as oxen.’

  1. Celebriphilia

We’ve all had a celebrity crush at some point in our lives. But those with celebriphilia have more than a passing desire. They suffer from an overwhelmingly obsessive sexual desire for a celebrity. They can have romantic or purely erotic feelings. But the condition is all-consuming.

  1. Cotard Delusion

Humans have a morbid curiosity when it comes to zombies and the undead. To the point where we can even suffer from a kind of zombie hell ourselves.

First described in 1880 by French neurologist Jules Cotard, sufferers believe they are the walking dead. People with Cotard Delusion think their bodies are rotting and decomposing.

Some are so convinced they are dead that they do not bother to eat or get up and eventually die. Luckily, this is probably one of our extremely rare mental disorders.

  1. Ekbom Syndrome

People who have Ekbom syndrome think that their skin is infested with insects. Also known as delusional parasitosis, sufferers feel real itching and can scratch themselves to the point of bleeding.

They will often bring in what they believe to be a sample of the insect that is under their skin to show a doctor. They call in pest control as they believe their house is infested.

This syndrome is extremely difficult to cure and a multi-disciplined approach is best. For instance, as they believe they have a physical condition, it is best to have a physician and a psychiatrist on-board.

  1. Factitious Disorder

No one likes being ill, but those with Factitious Disorder actually obsess about it. They intentionally make themselves ill. They will create illnesses and symptoms and tell lies to cover up the fact they are well.

This might involve going to different doctors or hospitals to keep their façade going. They will go to extreme lengths to prove they are ill. Even undergoing painful tests in order to keep the ruse believable.

Now, this is one of those rare mental disorders you might have heard of before. And you’d be right. Munchausen syndrome is no longer used by healthcare professionals.

  1. Fregoli Delusion

Similar to Capgras Delusion, Fregoli Delusion is a belief that a stranger is posing as someone they know and love. People with Capgras Delusion think their loved ones have been replaced by an imposter.

However, those suffering from this delusion think the opposite. They believe a stranger is a friend or family member. They think these strangers are wearing sophisticated disguises to mislead them.

  1. Genital Retraction Syndrome

The poor people that have this syndrome experience real pain alongside a deep-rooted fear. They are certain that in some point in the near future, their genitals will retract up into their stomach. Once this happens, they will never come down again and the person will die. This is mainly an Eastern belief that thankfully, is very rare.

  1. Kluver-Bucy Syndrome

Have you ever felt an urge to have sex with a car? You would if you suffered from Kluver-Bucy Syndrome. This is one of our rarest of rare mental disorders, but it is very disturbing for those that have it.

Those with this syndrome experience inappropriate sexual behaviour which they cannot control. For example, they feel pleasure when they out inanimate objects in their mouths. They might also suffer from a kind of agnosia, in that, they find it hard to recognise familiar faces and/or objects. Experts believe this syndrome results from a brain injury to the temporal lobe. As such, there is no known cure.

These rare mental 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!


  1. https://online.csp.edu/
  2. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/

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