Most individuals are acquainted with psychiatric problems akin to schizophrenia and bipolar dysfunction, however some situations are so uncommon that many psychiatrists received’t come throughout a single case of their skilled lives. Right here I current 5 of the rarest – and strangest – syndromes recognized to psychiatry.
1. Fregoli syndrome
Fregoli syndrome is the place somebody believes that completely different individuals are in reality the identical one that simply adjustments their look. Individuals with this syndrome usually really feel persecuted by these they consider to be in disguise. The dysfunction is known as after Leopoldo Fregoli, an Italian theatre actor who was recognized for his outstanding potential to rapidly change his look whereas on stage.
Fregoli syndrome usually happens with different psychological problems, akin to bipolar dysfunction, schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive dysfunction. It can be brought on by mind damage and use of the drug levodopa within the remedy of Parkinson’s illness.
A assessment in 2018 discovered that fewer than 50 circumstances worldwide had been reported because the situation was first described. Nevertheless, a newer research (2020) reported an incidence of 1.1% amongst sufferers following a stroke, so actually greater than 50 circumstances however nonetheless very uncommon. There isn’t any recognized remedy for Fragoli syndrome, however remedy with antipsychotic medication might reduce the signs.
2. Cotard’s syndrome
Cotard’s syndrome, also referred to as “strolling corpse syndrome”, is the place folks maintain the delusional perception that they’re lifeless and don’t exist. Others consider that physique elements are lacking.
The syndrome is known as after the Nineteenth-century French neurologist Jules Cotard, who first described the situation in 1882.
Schizophrenia, despair and bipolar dysfunction are threat elements for Cotard’s syndrome. Nevertheless, it has additionally been reported as a uncommon side-effect of the anti-viral drug acyclovir.
The syndrome is assumed to originate from a disconnection between the areas of the mind that recognise faces and the areas that affiliate emotional content material with such facial recognition.
This uncommon situation is often handled with antidepressants, antipsychotics, and temper stabilisers, in addition to electroconvulsive remedy.
3. Alien hand syndrome
Alien hand syndrome is among the strangest neurological problems. It’s the place an individual’s hand seems to have a thoughts of its personal and acts autonomously, and the place the individual feels as if their hand doesn’t belong to them.
This syndrome was first recognized in 1908 however was not clearly outlined till the early Nineteen Seventies. The time period “alien hand syndrome” was coined by Joseph Bogen, an American neurophysiologist, to explain a curious wayward behaviour often seen throughout restoration from sure kinds of mind surgical procedure.
Individuals with alien hand syndrome usually have sensory processing problems and dissociate themselves from the actions of their hand. Analysis signifies that individuals with the syndrome usually personify the alien hand, and will consider it’s possessed by another spirit or alien life kind.
Causes of the syndrome embody dementia, strokes, prion illness (a deadly mind illness), tumours and seizures. Circumstances of alien hand syndrome have additionally been reported amongst sufferers who’ve had surgical procedure to separate the left and proper mind hemispheres to deal with extreme epilepsy.
The syndrome may be very uncommon. A assessment in 2013 discovered simply 150 circumstances within the medical journals.
Though there is no such thing as a remedy for alien hand syndrome, signs could be minimised and managed to some extent by holding the affected hand occupied and concerned in a activity – for instance, by giving it an object to carry in its grasp. Different therapies have included injections of botulinum toxin and mirror field remedy (see video). Stroke sufferers seem to have the most effective remedy success.
4. Ekbom’s syndrome
Ekbom’s syndrome is a tactile hallucination wherein victims consider they’re infested with parasites – usually skilled as bugs crawling below their pores and skin.
The syndrome is known as after Karl Ekbom, a Swedish neurologist who first described the situation within the late Thirties.
The precise quantity of people that endure from this syndrome is unknown, however one research reported round 20 new circumstances a yr in a big US referral clinic.
In line with a meta-analysis of 1,223 Ekbom circumstances, the syndrome is extra widespread amongst ladies (two-thirds ladies, one-third males), and extra widespread in these over the age of 40. Signs usually lasted three to 4 years.
Ekbom’s syndrome is related to a number of situations, together with paranoid schizophrenia, natural mind illness, neurosis and paranoid persona dysfunction. It has additionally been reported in some folks present process alcohol withdrawal, cocaine misuse, strokes, dementia, and lesions in part of the mind referred to as the thalamus.
Psychological therapies are sometimes not wished by Ekbom’s syndrome victims, as they’re satisfied that the issue wants medical remedy.
5. Alice in Wonderland syndrome
Alice in Wonderland syndrome, also referred to as Todd syndrome, refers to when an individual’s sense of physique picture, imaginative and prescient, listening to, contact and house/time are distorted. Individuals with the situation usually expertise objects to be smaller than they really are, whereas folks appear larger than they’re. Or the alternative: objects are perceived to be bigger than they’re and other people seem smaller. These experiences could also be accompanied by emotions of paranoia.
Little is understood about how widespread this dysfunction is. Victims are mostly kids and migraine victims.
Individuals with the situation can turn out to be frightened and panic-stricken, so profitable remedy usually contains relaxation and rest. Most often, it’s a comparatively short-lived situation. The newest assessment on Alice in Wonderland syndrome reported that near half of all victims are handled efficiently.