Mental Disordered or Syndrome

A mental disorder or mental illness is a psychological pattern, potentially reflected in behavior, that is generally associated with distress or disability, and which is not considered part of normal development of a person’s culture. Mental disorders are generally defined by a combination of how a person feels, acts, thinks or perceives.This may be associated with particular regions or functions of the brain or rest of the nervous system, often in a social context. The recognition and understanding of mental health conditions have changed over time and across cultures, and there are still variations in definition, assessment and classification, although standard guideline criteria are widely used.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over a third of people in most countries report problems at some time in their life which meet criteria for diagnosis of one or more of the common types of mental disorder.

Stockholm Syndrome

In psychology, Stockholm Syndrome is an apparently paradoxical psychological phenomenon in which hostages express sympathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness. The FBI’s Hostage Barricade Database System shows that roughly 27% of victims show evidence of Stockholm Syndrome.

The Syndrome is named after the Norrmalmstorg robbery of Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg in Stockholm, Sweden in which bank employees were held hostage from August 23 to August 28, 1973. In this case, victims became emotionally attached to their captors, and even defended them after they were freed from their six-day ordeal.

The term “Stockholm Syndrome” was coined by the criminologist and psychiatrist Nils Bejerot, who assisted the police during the robbery, and referred to the Syndrome in a news broadcast. It was originally defined by psychiatrist Frank Ochberg to aid the management of hostage situations.

Stockholm syndrome can be seen as a form of traumatic bonding, which does not necessarily require a hostage scenario, but which describes “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.”

Lima syndrome

An inverse of Stockholm syndrome called “Lima syndrome” has been proposed, in which abductors develop sympathy for their hostages. It was named after abduction at the Japanese Embassy in Lima, Peru in 1996, when members of a militant movement took hostage hundreds of people attending a party in the official residence of Japan’s ambassador. Within a few hours, the abductors had set free most of the hostages, including the most valuable ones, due to sympathy.

Diogenes syndrome

Diogenes syndrome, also known as senile squalor syndrome, is a disorder characterized by extreme self-neglect, domestic squalor, social withdrawal, apathy, compulsive hoarding of rubbish, and lack of shame. The condition was first recognized in 1966 and designated Diogenes syndrome by Clark ET al. The name derives from Diogenes of Si nope, an ancient Greek philosopher, a Cynic and an ultimate minimalist, who allegedly lived in a barrel.

Not only did he not hoard, but he actually sought human company by venturing daily to the Agora. Therefore, this eponym is considered to be a misnomer. Other possible terms are senile breakdown, Plyushkin’s Syndrome (after a character from Gogol’s novel Dead Souls, social breakdown and senile squalor syndrome).

Diogenes syndrome is known as a disorder common in elderly people that involve hoarding of rubbish and severe self-neglect. In addition, the syndrome is characterized by domestic squalor, syllogomania, social alienation, and refusal of help. It has been shown that the syndrome is caused as a reaction to stress that was experienced by the patient.

The time span in which the syndrome develops is undefined, though it is most accurately distinguished as a reaction to stress that occurs late in life. Individuals suffering from Diogenes syndrome generally display signs of collection-ism, hoarding, or compulsive disorder. Individuals who have suffered damage to the brain, particularly the frontal lobe, may be at more risk to developing the syndrome.

The frontal lobes are of particular interest, because they are known to be involved in higher order cognitive, such as reasoning, decision-making and conflict monitoring.

Paris syndrome

Paris syndrome is a transient psychological disorder encountered by certain individuals, in most cases from Japan, visiting or vacationing in Paris, France. It is similar in nature to Jerusalem syndrome and Stendhal syndrome. Japanese visitors are observed to be especially susceptible.

It was first noted in Nervure, the French journal of psychiatry in 2004. From the estimated six million yearly visitors, the number of reported cases is not significant: according to an administrator at the Japanese embassy in France, around twenty Japanese tourists a year are affected by the syndrome. The susceptibility of Japanese people may be linked to the popularity of Paris in Japanese culture, notably the idealized image of Paris prevalent in Japanese advertising.

Mario Renoux, the president of the Franco-Japonaise Medical Association, states in Libération’s article “Des Japonais entre mal du pays et mal de Paris” (December 13, 2004) that Japanese magazines are primarily responsible for creating this syndrome. Renoux indicates that Japanese media, magazines in particular, often depict Paris as a place where most people on the street look like stick-thin models and most women dress in high-fashion brands.

Stendhal syndrome

Stendhal syndrome, Stendhal’s syndrome, hyperkulturemia, or Florence syndrome is a psychosomatic illness that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to art, usually when the art is particularly beautiful or a large amount of art is in a single place. The term can also be used to describe a similar reaction to a surfeit of choice in other circumstances, e.g. when confronted with immense beauty in the natural world.

The illness is named after the famous 19th-century French author Stendhal , who described his experience with the phenomenon during his 1817 visit to Florence in his book Naples and Florence: A Journey from Milan to Reggio.

Although there are many descriptions of people becoming dizzy and fainting while taking in Florentine art, especially at the Uffizi, dating from the early 19th century on, the syndrome was only named in 1979, when it was described by Italian psychiatrist Graziella Magherini, who observed and described more than 100 similar cases among tourists and visitors in Florence.

Jerusalem syndrome

The Jerusalem syndrome is a group of mental phenomena involving the presence of religiously themed obsessive ideas, delusions or other psychosis-like experiences that are triggered by a visit to the city of Jerusalem. It is not endemic to one single religion or denomination but has affected Jews, Christians and Muslims of many different backgrounds.

The best known, although not the most prevalent, manifestation of the Jerusalem syndrome is the phenomenon whereby a person who seems previously balanced and devoid of any signs of psychopathology becomes psychotic after arriving in Jerusalem. The psychosis is characterized by an intense religious theme and typically resolves to full recovery after a few weeks or after being removed from the area.

The religious focus of the Jerusalem syndrome distinguishes it from other phenomena, such as the Stendhal syndrome, which is reported in Florence, Italy, or the Paris syndrome, which has been reported predominantly in Japanese individuals.

Capgras delusion

The Capgras delusion theory (or Capgras syndrome) is a disorder in which a person holds a delusion that a friend, spouse, parent, or other close family member has been replaced by an identical-looking impostor. The Capgras delusion is classified as adelusional misidentification syndrome, a class of delusional beliefs that involves the misidentification of people, places, or objects. It can occur in acute, transient, or chronic forms. Cases in which patients hold the belief that time has been “warped” or “substituted” have also been reported.

The delusion is common in patients diagnosed with neurological disorders such as schizophrenia, brain injury and dementia. It presents more often in individuals with neuro degenerative diseases than in those without a coexisting neurodegenerative disease and tends to occur at an older age in the former compared to the latter.

It has also been reported as occurring in association with diabetes, hypothyroidism and migraine attacks. It occurs more frequently in females, with a female to male ratio of 3:2. Although the Capgras delusion is commonly called a syndrome, because it can occur as part of, or alongside, various other disorders and conditions, some researchers have argued that it should be considered a symptom, rather than a syndrome or classification in its own right. In one isolated case, the Capgras delusion was induced in a healthy subject by the drug ketamine.

Fregoli delusion

The Fregoli delusion or the delusion of doubles is a rare disorder in which a person holds a delusional belief that different people are in fact a single person who changes appearance or is in disguise. The syndrome may be related to a brain lesion, and is often of a paranoid nature with the delusional person believing themselves persecuted by the person they believe is in disguise.

A person with the Fregoli delusion can also inaccurately replicate places, objects, and events. This disorder can be explained by “associative nodes.” The associative nodes serve as a biological link of information about other people with a particular familiar face (to the patient). This means that any face that is similar to a recognizable face to the patient, the patient will recall that face as the person they know.

The Fregoli delusion is classed both as a monothematic delusion, since it only encompasses one delusional topic, and as a delusional misidentification syndrome, a class of delusional beliefs that involves misidentifying people, places, or objects. Like Capgras delusion, psychiatrists believe it is related to a breakdown in normal face perception.

Cotard delusion

The Cotard delusion, Cotard’s syndrome, or Walking Corpse Syndrome is a rare mental disorder in which people hold a delusional belief that they are dead (either figuratively or literally), do not exist, are putrefying, or have lost their blood or internal organs.

In rare instances, it can include delusions of immortality. The syndrome is named after Jules Cotard (1840–1889), a French neurologist who first described the condition, in a lecture in Paris in 1880. He described the syndrome as having degrees of severity that range from mild to severe.

Despair and self-loathing characterize a mild state. Severe state is characterized by intense delusions and chronic depression. In this lecture, Cotard described a patient with the pseudonym of Mademoiselle X, who denied the existence of God, the Devil, several parts of her body, and her need to eat. Later she believed she was eternally damned and could no longer die a natural death.

She later died of starvation. An example of the distorted reality that results from Cotard Syndrome was described in a study of a 14-year-old patient with epilepsy. The child psychiatry OPD he was brought to described his history of expressing themes of death, being sad all the time, decreased play activity, social withdrawal, and disturbed biological function.

He would have episodes about twice a year that lasted three weeks to three months at a time. In each episode, the child would say that everyone is dead, including trees. He would also describe himself as being a dead body. He warned that the world would be destroyed within a few hours. He showed no reaction to pleasurable stimuli and showed no interest in any activities.

Reduplicative paramnesia

Reduplicative paramnesia is the delusional belief that a place or location has been duplicated, existing in two or more places simultaneously, or that it has been ‘relocated’ to another site. It is one of the delusional misidentification syndromes and, although rare, is most commonly associated with acquired brain injury, particularly simultaneous damage to the right cerebral hemisphere and to both frontal lobes.

The term reduplicative paramnesia was first used in 1903 by neurologist Arnold Pick to describe a condition in a patient with suspected Alzheimer’s disease who insisted that she had been moved from Pick’s city clinic, to one she claimed looked identical but was in a familiar suburb. To explain the discrepancy she further claimed that Pick and the medical staff worked at both locations.

In retrospect, however, the phenomenon has been found to have been first reported by the Swiss naturalist Charles Bonnet in 1788, who described a woman who also had what would now be called Cotard delusion. Henry Head and Paterson and Zangwill later reported on soldiers who had the delusional belief that their hospital was located in their home town, although in these cases traumatic brain injury seemed to be the most likely cause.

It wasn’t until 1976 that serious consideration was given to the disorder, when three cases were reported by Benson and colleagues. Benson not only described striking reduplication syndromes in his patients, but also attempted to explain the phenomena in terms of the neurocognitive deficits also present in the patients. This was one of the first attempts to give a neuropsychological explanation for the disorder.

Editorial Staff

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