Humans face loads of challenges in their lives. The list is endless, from working to fend for oneself to caring for young ones and their health. Fortunately, people have devised ways to curb their major problems. Be it technological or through working policies, life is more bearable.
While we struggle with the challenges that we know, others are beyond our control and power. For instance, how do you explain someone willingly pulling out their hair or getting drunk without consuming alcohol? Here are a few bizarre medical conditions that will make you doubt their existence.
1. Walking Corpse Syndrome
Patients suffering from walking corpse syndrome usually falsely believe they are dead and don’t exist. Also known as Cotard Delusion, an individual with this condition loses interest in the living and associates themselves more with death. They may even visit the cemetery to feel closer to death.
Doctors associate the walking corpse syndrome with severe depression, leading to adverse mental disorders. Its main symptoms include:
- Massive sadness and depression
- Patients tend to speak less or not at all
- Delusions that one is dying, dead, or completely nonexistent
Unfortunately, there is no specific cure for Cotard Delusion. However, doctors can help manage the condition by treating its symptoms. Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is also a viable option.
Trichotillomania is a mental health condition forcing patients to pull out their hair. In extreme cases, people with this condition also pull out their eyelashes, eyebrows, and other body hair.
Patients pull their hair to deal with stress or anxiety. They often do not notice this activity and are relieved every time they do so. Their efforts to deliberately stop the habit usually backfire because they can’t help.
Habit reversal training is the most viable treatment option for trichotillomania. The therapy trains patients to identify situations that are likely to trigger their hair-pulling and how they can counter the urge.
For instance, the doctor can advise patients to clench their fingers whenever they feel like pulling their hair. There is not much information on whether this works, but with deliberate efforts from the patient, healing is possible.
3. Jerusalem Syndrome
Jerusalem Syndrome often affects pilgrims and tourists who visit the Israeli capital. However, it is a mental disorder that can affect anyone, regardless of whether they are religious or not. Patients with this disease usually pick a character to imitate.
For instance, an individual can choose to be the Biblical Moses. So they will clean, groom, dress, and even carry a stick as the character did. In extreme cases, the patient will also give a summon. Christine Montross, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Brown University, says the condition is reversible.
In cases where sufferers didn’t have existing psychiatric conditions before the “episode,” they’ll recover after some days. With that, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and International Classification of Diseases does not recognize Jerusalem Syndrome as a mental disease.
4. Stone Man Syndrome
Stone man syndrome is a genetic condition that patients inherit from either parent. The disease usually disables patients and is catastrophic.
Its symptoms include:
- Deformed spine
- Restricted joint movement
- Stiff neck and shoulders (during the early stages)
- Abnormal bone growth throughout the body
- Difficulty in eating, speaking, and breathing
- Swelling of the affected area
The disease mainly affects children, and symptoms usually worsen as they grow. The tissues ossify, starting with the upper torso and moving downwards. The patient is wholly immobilized when the ossification reaches the hips and back.
Stone man syndrome’s early detection is hard because it is genetic and rare. Additionally, it’s mostly confused with other diseases like cancer, fibrous dysplasia, and juvenile fibromatosis. Treatment includes high corticosteroid doses, mast cell inhibitors, therapy, aminobisphosphonates, and muscle relaxants.
5. Congenital Insensitivity to Pain
Movies and TV shows can make the ability not to feel pain look cool. However, in real life, pain is an important aspect. It is one of the ways through which our bodies use to communicate. Imagine holding a hot pan, but because you can’t feel pain, you continue holding until your hand suffers severe burns.
Such is the case for patients suffering from congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis, otherwise known as CIPA. It usually starts during childbirth. As they grow, affected kids can bite off the tips of their tongues, break bones, and suffer life-threatening diseases without feeling any pain.
Interestingly, patients with this condition can feel pressure, vibration, and touch – just not pain. CIPA symptoms include:
- Thick leathery skin on the palms
- Hairless patches on the scalp
Unfortunately, there is no cure for congenital insensitivity to pain. The only viable options are to remain safe and observe keenly.
6. Auto-brewery Syndrome
Usually, intoxication and alcohol consumption cause a “high” in humans. The resulting hangovers are probably messages from our bodies stating that perhaps we overindulged. Now imagine a situation where you get drunk without taking any booze. One minute you are sober; the next, you are intoxicated.
This is what patients with a rare condition known as auto-brewery syndrome go through every day. Medical experts say its leading cause is endogenous fermentation by fungi or bacteria in the patient’s digestive tract. In extreme cases, the fungi can also affect the urinary system and oral cavity.
The signs and symptoms of the auto-brewery syndrome include:
- Pure coordination
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Irritable bowel movement
Even though it is treatable, auto-brewery treatment involves massive changes in diet. Anything that can help regulate the fungi in the patient’s body is welcome.
Patients suffering from Pica usually have an uncontrollable urge to eat non-food substances. It has many categories ranging from the least dangerous to extremely weird. The items the sufferers indulge in include chalk, mucus, paint, wood, urine, glass, feces, and even their body parts.
Doctors attribute this condition to iron deficiency and malnutrition. In other cases, pregnancy can also play a part. Its main symptom is a compulsive urge to eat non-food substances. At the time of writing, experts do not consider Pica curable, so it remains a life-long condition.