You know… Sometimes, shit happens. One day you’re cooling out, doing your thing, you know… Riding your bike. Playing World of War Craft. Drinking some beer. Surfing gigantic waves. Cooking up some meth. Doing whatever the hell it is you do, and then, shit goes horribly wrong. You wake up thinking you are a zombie and can literally SMELL your flesh rotting from your body. In addition, fuck your left arm because it doesn’t need to be there, and also because you just discovered that you have a third arm that you never knew about anyway. Your best friend really isn’t your best friend. Sure, he looks, sounds and smells like him, but it’s a double posing as him. Yes, my friend, welcome to the world of crazy fuck mental illnesses.
What it is:
Plainly put, Apotemnophilia is a neurological disorder in which a normal and otherwise sane person has an extreme desire to cut off a perfectly healthy limb or limbs. First described and named by psychologist Gregg Furth and sexologist John Money in 1977, these people think “Why do I have this left arm? Left arms are ugly!” and seek to have said limb removed, often times injuring the fuck out of it to FORCE amputation. Patients of Apotemnophilia are usually patients of Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID) because they aren’t satisfied with specific parts of their body and they want it cut the fuck off or otherwise removed A.S.A.P. Also, these people get off on the idea of having their limbs removed. Hey, whatever rocks your socks.
Oh, and apparently there are three types of people obsessed with having their limbs removed:
- “Pretenders” are perfectly (physically) healthy people who use wheelchairs, crutches and other miscellaneous devices to make people think they are disabled. They want you to tell them “Oh your leg is bad? Fuck that, just cut it off!!” It’s an ironic kind of guilt “trip”. Get it? Trip? Because you need legs and these people don’t want them? HA HA HA… oooh, boy. Let’s move on.
- “Devotees” are sexually attracted to people with amputations. This is also a mental illness called “Acrotomophilia”. Acrotomophilia is often a counterpart to Apotemnophilia as they go hand and hand. Get it? Hand in hand? Because they don’t like hands? HA! Well, anyway an interesting fact about Acrotomophiliacs is that these people were actually surveyed and apparently they prefer leg amputations over arm amputations, they dig amputations of a single limb, over both, and amputations that left a stump, were more “in” than those that left no stump. (Solvang, P. (2007). The amputee body desired: Beauty destabilized? Disability re-valued? Sex and Disability, 25, 51–64.) There’s a million different directions that I can go with that, so I’m going to move on.
- “Wannabes”, the most attention whore-ish group of the bunch, LIVE to have their limbs amputated. Basically, the “Wiggers” of the Apotemnophilia community.
Symptoms are severe depression with social withdrawal and intentionally injuring your limbs. Capgras sufferers will also do thing like purposely introducing infection to the limb, all in an effort to get that shit removed.
What Causes it:
There are no known direct causes of apotemnophilia. However, recent medical research has shown that apotemnophilia has been linked to abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex. Apotemnophiles have shown traits for the desire for amputation at a young age.
8. Capgras Delusion
What it is:
Capgras Delusion is named after Joseph Capgras, a French psychiatrist who first described this disorder in 1923. Basically, people with this disorder have the impression that the people very close to them, such as spouses, family, friends, etc. have been replaced by exact replicas of the person. Everyone they know is an imposter. These people have an otherwise clean bill of health, except… for the fact… that they think their friends and family are exact duplicates. And in some cases they even believe they themselves are duplicates, even after seeing themselves in a mirror. In fact, it can be so bad that one capgras sufferer, a married woman, flew into a jealous rage every time she saw herself in a mirror. She actually believed that the woman in the mirror was “another woman” who was trying to steal her husband. Crazy fuck that she was, her husband eventually had to cover every reflective surface in the house to keep her from trying to whoop her reflection’s ass.
In some cases, sufferers of Capgras see duplicate objects rather than duplicate people. One patient believed that his pet poodle had been replaced with an identical dog. Another believed that his shoes and many of his other personal possessions were being replaced with exact duplicates.
Pretty damn obvious:
- Belief that relatives and friends are imposters
What Causes It:
The exact cause of Capgras isn’t known and a method of treatment has not yet been developed. The only thing that IS certain is that there is a SEVERE breakdown in normal face perception. This is real life “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” shit.
7. Fregoli Delusion
What it is:
Alright, to get an idea what this is about, saaaay a friend invites you to birthday party. When you get there, GASP!, you find that everyone at the party is your friend in fucking disguise. And the REAL reason why were you invited? Well, isn’t it obvious?!? So that they can all murder you.
Fregoli Delusion, named after Leopoldi Fregoli, a stage actor known for his quick changes between scenes, is the opposite Capgras. Sufferers of Fregoli believe that everyone they know, and hell everyone else, are in fact the same person who simply changes their appearance or is in disguise. And the reason for this? This specific person is out to get them.
It was first described by Courbon and Fail in 1927 in a case study of, get this, a “coarse featured 27-year old single woman” who led a life of taking shit jobs, sleeping in hostels, and going to the theater. I’m not sure what “coarse featured means” but I’m guessing she had a shit ton of facial hair and/or acne scars. And she was probably pretty ugly. Anyway, she believed that two of the most famous actresses of the day, Robine and Sarah Bernhardt were following her around, disguising themselves (either by dressing to look like those people or actually entering their body to take them over) as other people and doing things like taking over her thoughts and making her do crazy shit, like masturbate. So from now on, if you’re ever caught “in the act”, just claim Fregoli and say (insert actor/actress name here) MADE you do it. Then look that person in the eye and finish like a boss.
Again, pretty freakin’ obvious:
- Deficit in self awareness
- Belief that everyone you see is someone else in disguise.
What Causes It:
- Levodopa Treatment – L-DOPA treatment, as it is usually called, is used to treat Parkinson’s Disease. After a shit ton of experiments, medical studies, fact finding missions and fucking with people in general, it was found that prolonged use of antiparkinsonian medications are a HUGE cause of Fregoli
- Traumatic brain injury
- Fusiform Gyrus
- Abnormal P300
Alien Hand Syndrome
What it is:
Take a look at your hands. Now, imagine one of your hands lifts itself up and starts choking the shit out of you. You have to have help prying your fingers open to release it’s grip on your neck. It’s possessed and has a mind of it’s own. You can feel it there on the end of your arm as though it’s yours, however, you have no control over what it does, you aren’t aware of what it’s doing and it does a whole bunch of shit it’s not supposed to do when it’s not supposed to do it.
Alien hand syndrome is a rare disorder in which one hand functions involuntarily, with the victim completely unaware of its action. It was first identified in 1909, though it wasn’t clearly defined until about 1972 It’s different than involuntary limb movement because the hand will perform actions with a purpose; whether it be a simple gasping motion, picking up a pen, unbuttoning your shirt, or slapping the ever loving shit out of your face.
Oh, but it gets better. There are actually a few different subtypes of alien hand syndrome that appear to be associated with specific brain injuries. For reference purposes, here’s a picture of the brain and it’s various lobes:
Damage to the corpus callosum, a wide, flat bundle of neural fibers that connect the two hemispheres of the brain, can give rise to “purposeful” actions to the alien hand. An individual who is left-hemisphere-dominant will experience the left hand becoming alien, the opposite for a right-hemisphere dominant person. I can also lead to a problem called “inter manual conflict” in which the person’s two hands seem to have opposing purposes, sort of like having dueling hands.
Injury to a person’s frontal lobe can cause reaching, grasping and other purposeful movements in the alien hand. In the case of anteromedial (located toward the front and in the middle) frontal lobe injury, movements are often exploratory reaching movements in which external objects such as tools and such are grasped and actually fucking used without the person even knowing they are doing it. Oh, and once the object is actually in the alien hand the patient usually can’t release the object, and literally has to peel the fingers of the hand back off of the object.
Parietal and occipital lobes
Damage to the parietal lobe and/or occipital lobe of the brain cause movements in the alien hand tend to withdraw the palm of the hand away from any sort of contact rather than reaching out to specifically grasp objects. The hand basically moves on it’s own to specifically AVOID contact with things in the palm of the hand and are usually less coordinated then movements shown in the frontal lobe variation of the syndrome. So forget about wishing this alien hand will give you it’s own version of “the stranger”.
Suffers of AHS can feel the hand and they know it’s there. They don’t want it cut off or anything, but they feel that their hand has a mind of it’s own and acts of it’s own free will, independent of their normal behavior. They feel that they have no control over the movements of the ‘alien’ hand and that the hand has the capability of acting autonomously.
What Causes It:
Well, if you read about the various different types of this syndrome then you know it’s usually caused by brain injuries.