Rare Mental Disorders: Here is a list to the oddest mental disorders

Mental health disorders have gotten a bad reputation in the past, but as new information is being discovered, we’re able to learn more and not fear them like people have in the past. Below you’ll see a few of the more interesting rare mental disorders.

Rare Mental Disorders
Rare Mental Disorders

Rare Mental Disorders

Common mental disorders are depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, among others. Colloquially anyone is capable of naming at least one symptom of the disorders mentioned above. However, there have been reported cases of rare mental disorders that even though uncommon it’s important we learn about them. Here we mention a few rare mental disorders and their symptoms.

Alien hand syndrome (AHS)

Those who suffer from this rare mental disorder have the sensation that one of their hands doesn’t listen to them as if it had a mind of its own. This usually happens to people who have had a hemispherectomy, or a surgery to remove one of the hemispheres of the brain, an operation is usually performed in cases of severe epilepsy. However, it has also appeared following other surgeries, tumors, infections, or brain injuries. To try to get a better picture of this disorder, think of your annoying younger sibling. Every time you turn on the TV, they turn it off. Every time you write something, they erase it. Now, instead of a younger sibling who you can escape from, it’s your own hand fighting against you.

Stendhal Syndrome/Hyperculturemia

Have you ever been in a museum? Do you have a favorite artist? Most likely those answers are yes! Well among the rare mental disorders is the Stendhal Syndrome which is triggered by art that is perceived as particularly beautiful or when the individual is exposed to large quantities of art that are concentrated in a single place. When exposed the person experiences panic attacks, anxiety symptoms, dissociative disorders, confusion, and hallucinations.


This rare mental disorder is also known as the body integrity identity disorder, and it is known as the overwhelming desire to amputate healthy parts of the body. It is believed to be neurological and those affected by it may even attempt at amputating their own limbs or damage it so a surgical amputation has to be performed. It has been associated with damage to the right parietal lobe in the brain. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Aversion therapy can help with this rare disorder.

Foreign accent syndrome (FAS)

There is more than one interesting mental disorder that causes a change in language. As its name implies, this disorder causes you to speak your native language as if you were from another country. This disorder is pretty rare and is caused by a serious brain injury. The effects are caused by the distortion of the coordination and articulation planning processes. There have been over 60 cases of FAS in English speaking countries from 1941-2015.

Capgras Syndrome

This syndrome is among the rarest mental disorders. People with Capgras hold the delusional belief that someone in their life, usually a close friend, spouse or family member has been replaced by an impostor. It can happen in patients with schizophrenia, dementia, epilepsy or after a traumatic brain injury. It is usually treated with antipsychotic medications. his delusion has to do with the loss of emotional recognition of family’s faces and may be caused by the disconnection of the visual recognition system and affective memory. This usually occurs in patients with paranoid schizophrenia but has also been recorded in patients with brain injury and dementia.


For anyone who has any background in Greek, the meaning of this word is obvious. For the rest of us, this mouthful-of-a disorder means the fear of the number 13. There are a few different theories as to where this irrational fear comes from. Currently, the most accepted are because of the 13 members of the last supper (Judas being the 13th), Another theory comes from the Norse gods, where Loki was the 13th god in the Norse pantheon. Whatever the reason behind it, the fear of the number 13 has been around for (literally) thousands of years.

Bonus: Phobia of Friday the 13th is paraskevidekatriaphobia


People with aboulomania appear generally normal but when faced with simple life choices like going for a walk or picking a cereal things can get tricky. They have a problem with chronic indecision originated from the need to be 1000% accurate. The person can become paralyzed in the inability to fulfill his own free will when confronted with more than one choice.


This is the passion for having rare books, or a specific kind of book, more because of an obsession than for hobby. It is an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that damages social and familial relations. Some symptoms of bibliomania are buying and keeping various copies of the same book.

Exploding head syndrome (EHS)

Those who suffer from EHS hear a loud noise inside their own head. It has been described as an explosion or loud bang. It usually happens after trying for hours to fall asleep, but it doesn’t happen after falling asleep. The cause of EHS is unknown but is said to be a type of auditory hallucination that happens when someone is between sleeping and awake.

Foreign Accent Syndrome

Imagine being American born and one day waking up with a Chinese accent. That is exactly what happens in this disorder. The person will begin to speak their native language in a foreign tongue. There have been 50 recorded cases of this syndrome since the 1940s, which apparently has no clear cause or cure.


This rare mental disorder affects impulse control and is characterized by the strong desire to repetitively pull out one’s hair and sometimes eat it. This disorder may be related to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), as it shares some common characteristics, but it has not been formally categorized yet. The cause of this disorder is unknown, but as more research is being done, more researchers are able to find out. 


This is the persistent and excessive fear of men. Those who have this phobia have a strong anxiety of men, even though they are aware that there is no real threat. Like most phobias, there is usually a specific event that led them to this fear, such as a traumatic childhood experience.

Genital Retraction Syndrome

This syndrome also is known as Koro syndrome is a psychiatric disorder in which a person suffers acute anxiety over a deep-seated fear that his genitals, or breasts in the case of women, are shrinking or retracting into the abdomen until they disappear upon which he/she will die. It is most common in Southeast Asian countries.

Munchausen syndrome (Factitious disorder)

Those who have this disorder fake or exaggerate their illness to get attention. They could even create the symptoms of a certain illness in order to get the doctor’s sympathy. This is because playing the patient is comfortable and familiar to them, and it satisfies psychological needs that those who suffer from this disorder have.


This is a pathological desire to have sex with someone famous. It is more than admiration or interest in being famous. This disorder is characterized by feeling an incredibly intense romantic or sexual desire for a celebrity.


Among the rare mental disorders is Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome which is a disorder where there is an overproduction of uric acid in the body, leading to compulsive lip and finger biting. On occasions, 60% of cases have had to remove their teeth to prevent them from biting off their lips, cheeks, and tongues. It has been related to impulsive behavior and it can range from mild to life-threatening.

Here you can find another take on rare mental disorders. Check it out!

Remember that mental health is incredibly important and that we should always keep our cognitive abilities sharp. CogniFit offers the opportunity to train these cognitive skills adjusted to your level.