Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Weirdest Brain Disorders

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Today well look at some of the strangest maladies of the mind.

When we think about mental illness, we tend to first think about psychiatric disorders

such as depression, schizophrenia, and the sometimes-related psychoses.

Perhaps we might even include certain serial killers who believe they hear voices telling

them to do their bad deed, but some of the strangest things that can happen to people

will fall under what we call neurological disorders, such as Parkinsons disease or


In his book, “The man who mistook his wife for a hat,” the late, great British neurologist

Oliver Sacks wrote in detail about patients of his whose realities were drastically altered

because of changes in the brain.

Hold on to your hats and welcome to this episode of the Infographics Show, Weirdest Brain Disorders

#1: Retrograde Amnesia Now, short-term memory loss for anyone can

be highly destabilizing.

But well tell you a more complex tale about someone living in the past.

We are taking this from Oliver Sacks book, only because he writes so well about the topic,

in the chapter on what he calls brain deficits.

Retrograde amnesia in its most basic form is not remembering anything before an accident

or psychological event, or when an infection or disease occurs.

One of Sacks patients that turned up at his office was called Jimmie.

Jimmie was 49, and the year was 1975, but Jimmies memories were all around 1945.

Jimmie still thought he was a young guy.

The worst thing is, he couldnt form new short-term memories, so if you chatted with

him, in a couple of minutes, hed just forget what you said.

He lived only in the place in the past, in which hed just fought in a war, and he

spoke like that young kid.

Sacks wrote that Jimmie wasisolated in a single moment of being…. he is a man without

a past (or future), stuck in a constantly changing, meaningless moment.”

Jimmie isnt alone; there are many famous cases in history when accidents or disease

have led to this kind of thing happening.

Imagine waking up one morning and having no idea where you are!

#2: Catatonia There are two main types of catatonia, one

which can render the victim stiff in one position, unable to move, speak, or do anything.

Kind of like being a living statue.

You can also have a kind of opposite catatonia, where you are extremely hyperactive.

Its caused by a number of things, like infections such as encephalitis, but also

by some psychiatric disorders.

Sticking with Oliver Sacks, he once woke up some catatonic patients and it was made into

a film starring Robert De Niro called, “Awakenings.”

The film shows how even in the worst cases of catatonic rigidity, patients can still

communicate a little.

They can still think.

One patient on a mental health forum we found described it like this, “I could still think

things in my head, but my thoughts were very slow and actually verbalizing them was too

much effort.”

He came out of it, of course.

#3: Incredible delusions There are way too many delusional disorders

to list here, and they can be light or extreme.

One extreme delusional disorder is that ofBoanthropy.”

According to one journal, youll know when someone is suffering from this as they might

be down on all fours trying to eat grass, Yes, these people believe they are cows.

Sigmund Freud called it a dream that just persisted, but its a fairly unknown entity

as far as madness goes.

As we said, there are many crazy delusional states people suffer from, and they are common.

Just walk into any psychiatric hospital.

But some of those delusional states deserve a mention.

Next on our list is #4: “Capgras Syndrome.”

Its also sometimes calledImposter Syndrome.”

More common in women and children, the victim will think that someone close to him or her

is someone else, an imposter, so you might call out your lover, wife, or brother, as

a fake.

It also sometimes involves animals or even houses, so one day you might come home and

declare that your house of 10 years is not actually yours.

A story appeared in the press in 2015 about an American man that was convinced his cat

was an imposter.

It can be caused by a number of things, including brain injury, cerebral dysfunction, Alzheimers

disease or dementia, and may happen to people suffering from paranoid hallucinatory schizophrenia.

Now, that must be scary for the believer and of course their loved ones.

But far worse you might think would be to suffer from #5: “Cotard Syndrome.”

Ok, its very rare, but if you do get it, you will believe you are already dead, that

your body is in a state of putrefaction, and basically that you no longer exist as a living


For this reason, you dont do anything, and can waste away.

One recent case involved a Scottish man that had been sick and was then released from the


His mother thought it would be a good idea to take him away to South Africa, except the

man had developed Cotard Syndrome, believing the spirit of his mother was showing him around


It also recently happened to a former British soldier, who told the press in 2016, “I

convinced myself I was actually dead.

I felt I was literally a dead man walking.

It was as if I was a ghost.”

Again, there are a number of neurological and psychological reasons this might happen

to someone.

#6: Tourettes Syndrome Youve probably all heard about this as

it has been so well documented on TV and in film, but that often only involves just one

symptom of the disease which is people just spitting out curse words or insults to anyone

and everyone.

They have no control; its an excess of the mind.

It can be verbal, but it can also be in the form of nervous ticks, such as hand movements,

coughing, blinking, etc.

These are often not that bad, and perhaps you know someone with the less extreme form

of this disease.

Its thought about one percent of young people suffer from it.

So, it might not sound too strange to you now.

But one case that Oliver Sacks writes about is strange, as the victim, known as Witty

Ticcy Ray, wasalmost incapacitated by multiple tics of extreme violence coming in

volleys every few seconds.”

He was in a state of despair, hardly ever being able to stop these mini-convulsions.

In fact, they did stop, when he played Jazz.

They seemed to help his playing, giving him an element of originality and creativity.

So, when he went on meds to slow him down, he became depressed that his jazz suffered.

Sacks then agreed with Ray that he would only take the meds on weekdays, when he wasnt

playing, and on the weekends, he was back to his ticky-self and being a great, unpredictable

jazz musician.

#7: Extreme self-mutilation disorders Sticking with the subject of impulse control,

there is something that could end up far worse than not being able to stop yourself calling

your friend an ugly mother beep.

That is Autophagia, or the impulse to eat yourself.

Its not strictly classified as a mental disorder, but it does occur, usually alongside

another mental illness.

The U.S. National Institute of Health reported in 2012 about an Indian man who couldnt

stop biting his fingernails.

That didnt give him enough satisfaction, so he moved onto his fingersuntil he had

none left on both hands.

NCBI writes, “In our patient's case, self-mutilating behaviour was associated with severe diabetic

neuropathy, impulsivity, and social isolation.”

It could be worse.

Some people suffer from something called #8: Apotemnophilia, or Body Integrity Identity

Disorder (BIID).

This is also linked to self-mutilation, but is perhaps more extreme than biting off your


People suffering from Apotemnophilia have the sometimes-unstoppable desire to amputate

a limb.

Their own limb, of course.

Even though there is nothing wrong with that limb, they believe it to be alien and want

nothing more than to get rid of it.

Its thought there are only a few people who have self-amputated their limb, but apparently

a lot of people are thinking about it.

In 2015, Vice interviewed a man called John.

John had once had BIID, but has since removed his alien limb.

It was my left leg below the knee that bothered me.

I was into my early teens when I figured out that I wanted to be an amputee,” he told


He felt his limb just didnt belong to him, and he found groups of other people online

that had the same problems with one of their limbs.

He said he planned to pretend to fall off his bike and let a train run over his leg,

but John didnt want to say how he actually ended up cutting off his leg.

Later, when it was done, I was awash with relief.

It was over and I was free,” he said.

Its thought this occurs when there has been damage to the brains right parietal

lobe, but its still a condition that causes a lot of speculation between mental health

professionals and neurologists.

Other studies point towards erotic impulses or gender identity disorder.

NCBI writes that its still a bit of mystery, but sufferers are usually men and they usually

want to remove a leg, over an arm.

Studies show us, though, given the number of participants, that there are quite a few

of these people around.

So, do you know anyone with any of the aforementioned brain disorders?

Or perhaps youve heard of a brain disorder that we didn't mention?

Tell us about in the comments!

Also, be sure to check out our other video called Worst Prison Experiments Conducted

on Humans!

Thanks for watching, and, as always, dont forget to like, share, and subscribe.

See you next time!

The Description of Weirdest Brain Disorders