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Top 10 Scary And Terrifying Mental Disorders

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It’s estimated that one in four adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year, which can be caused by a plethora of risk factors, including:

  • Genetic inheritance
  • Environmental events
  • Drug abuse
  • Childhood trauma

Many people are affected by mental illness and any disorder can be terrifying for the person suffering from it. However, there are some mental disorders that are truly unsettling.

Here are the top 10 scariest and most terrifying mental disorders. 

10. Wendigo psychosis. This modern medical term, which is inspired by Algonquian folklore, surrounds the legend of the wendigo, a cannibalistic monster or evil spirit.

Psychiatrists consider Wendigo psychosis to be a form of culture-bound syndrome, a combination of psychiatric and somatic symptoms. Those suffering from Wendigo psychosis are said to experience intense cravings for human flesh and the fear of becoming a cannibal.

9. Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. This neurological condition affects perception, which means those who suffer from it experience a disorienting reality including size distortion. This syndrome is often associated with migraines, brain tumors, and the use of psychoactive drugs.

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome can in part be caused by a migraine and can affect one’s sense of vision, but their sense of touch, hearing, sensation, as well as body image. Symptoms of this syndrome are known to arise particularly at sleep onset and due to lack of sleep.


8. Alien hand syndrome. This condition involves a person feeling like their limbs are acting seemingly on their own and are unable to control the actions. Those afflicted can find their limb unintentionally reaching or manipulating something to the point where they have to restrain it.

Alien hand syndrome commonly affects the left hand and is best documented in cases where a person has had the two hemispheres of their brain surgically separated.

 7. Klüver-Bucy Syndrome. Resulting from bilateral lesions of the medial temporal lobe, this syndrome can make sufferers feel the urge to do inappropriate things with inappropriate objects.

There can be a hyperorality symptom that comes with  Klüver-Bucy Syndrome, which makes those afflicted have a compulsion to examine objects using their mouth.


6. Cotard Delusion. This rare mental illness results in the affected person to have a delusional belief that they are already dead, do not exist, are decaying, or have lost their blood or organs.  

This symptom of mental illness was found to exist in 69% of the cases of Cotard’s syndrome. However, 55% of the patients studied in the hundred-patient cohort presented delusions of immortality.

 This syndrome results in the afflicted being unable to make sense of external reality, which prompts them to have a distorted view of the external world.

skeleton mirrorDeviant Art / Shadowangel1993

The delusion of negation is usually found in psychosis with sufferers who are also affected by schizophrenia.


5. Fregoli Delusion. This rare disorder makes sufferers idealize the notion that many people that they encounter are actually the same person in disguise.

The syndrome is believed to be related to a brain lesion and is often of a paranoid nature. Psychiatrists associate the delusion to a breakdown in normal face perception.

 Not only does this affect the sufferer’s perception of identification, it also affects their memory, which can result in recollection of places and events being mentally replaced.

The Fregoli delusion is classed as both a monothematic delusion, a state that concerns one particular topic, as well as a delusional misidentification syndrome, which involves misidentifying people, places, or objects.


4. CapGras Delusion. This disorder prompts the afflicted to believe that someone close to them, either a friend, spouse, parent, or close family member has been replaced by a seemingly identical impostor.

Similar to the Fregoli delusion, Capgras delusion is classified as a delusional misidentification syndrome and it can occur in acute, transient, or chronic forms.

 Despite how much a loved one may plead to the sufferer, the afflicted will remain convinced that that person is an impostor.

This most common cases of this delusion are with patients who have been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, but it has also occurred in patients suffering from brain injury and dementia.


3. Stockholm Syndrome. This psychological condition can occur when a hostage begins to develop sympathetic feelings towards their captors.

Those experiencing Stockholm syndrome can begin to share their captor’s opinions or start to feel romantic feelings towards them, a bond which can happen due the amount of time spent together.

 2. Diogenes Syndrome. This disorder is characterized by extreme self-neglect and can result in sufferers hoarding rubbish or animals with a lack of shame.

The elderly are most susceptible to Diogenes syndrome and those afflicted generally feel alone and withdrawal themselves from society, filling the void with whatever they can find.


1. Apotemnophilia. This neurological disorder is characterized by the intense urge to amputate a specific limb, but can also make sufferers feel the need to become paralyzed, blind or deaf.

More recently, the psychological disorder has become recognized as body integrity identity disorder (BIID). Sufferers can be completely sane and rational, but have a strong desire to sever a healthy limb.

 People afflicted by this mental illness will sometimes seek surgeons to perform their desired amputation or will deliberately injure the specific limb with the intent that forced emergency medical amputation will be necessary.

Some neuroscientists have idealized the notion that this neurological disorder is caused by an incomplete body image map in the right parietal lobe.

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