What would you say if I told you that you could have a psychological disorder without even knowing it? While all of us experience some form of mental illness at some point in our lives, most are able to identify the signs and seek treatment. However, many of us exhibit certain traits that suggest that we may have an undiagnosed psychological disorder, one which psychologists refer to as subclinical. Here are ten of the strangest psychological disorders that can affect people without them realizing it.
Alien Hand Syndrome
It’s called Alien Hand Syndrome. This rare disorder is when a person feels as if their hand is not part of their body. For example, a patient may report that their hand feels foreign to them and it even does things of its own accord. Not only do people with alien hand syndrome feel like they have control over their hands, but they also experience other strange sensations such as pain and tingling in their alien limb.
The Fregoli delusion, or delusional misidentification syndrome (DMS), is a rare disorder in which an individual holds a delusional belief that different people are in fact a single person who changes appearance or is in disguise. People with Fregoli delusion may become convinced that different people are in fact a single person due to their face, voice, and/or mannerisms seeming familiar. If someone believes that he or she is being persecuted by an impostor, then it would be classified as persecutory delusional disorder.
Body Integrity Identity Disorder
Imagine being so sure that one of your limbs doesn’t belong to you that you feel a strange compulsion to remove it. Welcome to Body Integrity Identity Disorder, an odd syndrome in which some people believe they are meant to be disabled – or even amputated. The disorder is sometimes known as apotemnophilia and is formally classified as Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
The oddest psychological disorder is a rare condition called Othello syndrome. The disorder, also known as delusional misidentification syndrome, causes sufferers to believe that someone they know has been replaced by an impostor. It’s like a mix between multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia—sufferers can have different reactions when they meet people, and will sometimes believe strangers are actually family members or friends of loved ones.
This disorder is unique in that it has a cultural basis: In Malay culture, if someone loses their spouse they will likely act in a way that’s described as amok. The next time you hear about someone who lost their spouse going crazy and killing people, you may have witnessed amok at work.
De Clerambault’s Syndrome
Thought to be a little-known anxiety disorder, de Clerambault’s syndrome is characterized by erotomania: an intense belief that a stranger is in love with you. This delusion usually revolves around another person—someone who’s likely of higher status or power than you are. De Clerambault sufferers tend to fixate on famous people or individuals they see as powerful. They often develop elaborate fantasies and stalk their lovers in an attempt to capture their attention.