Some hapless patients are burdened by rare and, at times, bizarre illnesses.
Not everyone is paying a visit to their doctor for a case of the common cold.
Some unlucky patients are diagnosed with diseases so scarce — and sometimes just plain strange — that even medical professionals are left scratching their heads.
Here are five peculiar, but very real conditions that plague people across the world:
Some celebrity stalkers suffer from Erotomania, a condition that involves the delusion that a person of status is in love with them.
Nearly every adolescent has once daydreamed about dating a heartthrob — perhaps even plastering posters of their favorite celebrities on his or her bedroom wall.
But some people take the obsession too far — to the point of compulsion.
Erotomania is a condition where a person is under the delusion that a celebrity is truly in love with him or her.
The disorder often accompanies other psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar mania and presents itself in individuals with a family history of mental illness — suggesting a strong genetic component, according to a study published in Comprehensive Psychiatry.
During an “erotomanic episode,” the person hallucinates that his or her object of affection has professed his or her love for the patient via subtle signals, messages in the media or even telepathy, according to a report in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry.
The patient may proceed to send incessant letters, phone calls, gifts and even pay visits to that person.
If this illness sounds familiar, that’s because many deranged celebrity stalkers are laden with the disorder.
2. Cotard’s Syndrome
Cotard’s Syndrome involves a person believing he or she is dead or devoid of a soul, organs or blood.
This wacky but all-too-real condition may give the television show, “The Walking Dead” a run for its money.
Individuals afflicted with this rare mental illness are under the illusion that they are a walking corpse, believing they are devoid of a soul, organs, or blood — that they are simply dead.
A 53-year-old Filipino woman was admitted to the hospital after complaining that she was dead, smelled of putrid flesh and wished to be transported to the morgue so that she could be with the dead, according to a case report, which appeared in the journal Psychiatry.
The patients ridden with delusions of rigor-mortis, are often inhibited from normal functioning sans treatment.
An amalgam of heavy medications is the stiff solution to this macabre malady.
3. Foreign Accent Syndrome
Foreign Accent Syndrome can occur in patients, who suffer from brain damage following a stroke, tumor or other physical trauma.
No, this is not a case of putting on faux accents for sport à la Madonna.
This serious disorder afflicts unlucky patients following brain damage — making for an awkward first encounter when they begin to communicate while encumbered with an English accent.
The part of the brain that is damaged regulates the rhythm and melody of speech — accounting for this dramatic shift in speech, according to the Mount Sinai Hospital website.
Strokes, brain tumors and physical trauma are predominantely to blame for this odd affliction, according to a report conducted by the Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences department at Brown University.
Treatment includes speech therapy and counseling, but symptoms can last for months, years, or may even be permanent.
4. Todd’s Syndrome
Todd’s Syndrome earns the nickname, “Alice in Wonderland Syndrome,” because it involves a distorted perception of size and distance.
Sufferers from this outlandish disorder have good reason to yell, “Off with our heads!” during an episode.
The condition involves debilitating headaches that distort people’s perceptions of size and distance — earning the moniker of “Alice in Wonderland Syndrome.”
“More often than not, the head and hands seem disproportionate, and in general, the person perceives growth of various parts rather than a reduction in their size,” according to a report published in the Journal of Pediatric Neurosciences.
“Another most significant symptom of the (syndrome) is that the patient perceives the sizes of various other objects inaccurately.”
There are no medications that directly target the condition, but doctors often treat the underlying catalysts — like migraines, epileptic seizures and even mononucleiosis, the report said.
Some Misophonia sufferers feel compelled to mimic the very sounds that irritate them as a coping mechanism.
A little light chewing and nose-whistling every now and then might irk the average person.
But some human noises provoke such an intense emotional response in individuals, that it actually constitutes a veritable chronic condition.
“Misophonia,” which translates to “hatred of sound,” is a disorder in which certain seemingly innocuous social sounds — including chewing, pen clicking, tapping, heavy breathing and lip smacking — can rile severe anger, anxiety and disgust, according to a study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
“(These experiences) drive the sufferer to avoid situations in which they may be produced, limiting one’s ability to interact with others and often leading to severe problems in their social and professional lives,” the study said.
Some Misophonia sufferers actually find solace in emulating these “trigger” sounds themselves — reporting mimicry as a viable coping mechanism, according to the study.
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