Over the years, various pieces of medical literature have described mental illnesses which are just plain perplexing. Even with our current medical technology and scientific breakthrough, there are many questions that remain unanswered. This is partly because the human brain is one of the most complex organs ever to evolve. And there are countless factors that have the potential to seriously render a person incapacitated or even function abnormally. Following are some of the strangest and down-right terrifying neurological disorders you may never have heard about.
Also known as the walking corpse syndrome, Cotard’s delusion is a very rare mental illness where the affected individual has a strong delusion that they are dead, decomposing, or do not exist. The condition was first described by Jules Cotard, a neurologist in 1880. Symptoms involve the patient denying their own existence, or the existence of a certain body part. If this syndrome is left untreated, the affected individual may develop chronic psychiatric depression. The exact cause for Cotard’s Delusion isn’t established; however, misfiring neurons in the human brain have been speculated to be the most probable cause. This disorder has also been found in individuals who were afflicted with brain tumours.
Hemispatial neglect is a neuropsychological condition where an individual ignores “half of their world”. Technically, the affected individual showcases a deficit in attention to and awareness of one side of their field of vision. This leaves the individual unable to perceive any stimuli on one side of their side – and that inability is not due to a lack of external sensation. This condition usually arises as a result of damage to one hemisphere of the brain, either due to stroke or physical trauma. People affected with this disorder show symptoms are very characteristic – for instance, a patient may draw a clock face but with only the numbers 12 to 6, or 6 to 12. The patient may also not eat half the food on their plate even if they are hungry. Patients may also shave or apply makeup on one side of their body. Moreover, the patients may frequently collide with structures or objects on the neglected side of their body (such as colliding with a door frame).
With just a handful of cases reported since 2005, mirror-touch synaesthesia is one of the strangest neurological disorders ever to be identified. The affected individual essentially experiences the same sensations that another person feels. For instance, if afflicted individuals were to observe another person being hugged, they would experience the same sensation. Similarly, if the afflicted individual observes another person getting hurt, they would feel pain in the same place as the other person. People are generally born with this condition; however, amputees or people who have lost sensation in a limb after a stroke can also develop this condition.
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