LIFE

12 Unusual Mental Illnesses You’ve Never Heard Of

Do you vomit when you go to Paris? Compulsively tear out your pubic hair? Maybe you think your hand is trying to kill you or that you’re rotting from the inside out. If so, chances are you’re suffering from one of these weird and not-so-wonderful rare mental illnesses.

Paris Syndrome

This incredible syndrome goes some way to explaining why Japanese tourists roam their tourist destinations in packs. Paris Syndrome is a legit psychological disorder which affects visitors to the eponymous city, with Japanese tourists being particularly susceptible. Every year, millions of Japanese tourists visit the city and around a dozen of these visitors suffer this illness and have to be returned to their home country. The affliction is basically an aggravated form of culture shock and presents symptoms such as anxiety, severe delusional states, feelings of persecution and tachycardia. It is thought that this severe culture shock stems from an unrealistically pleasant and much idealised image of Paris held by many Japanese tourists before visiting the city, which is pushed by travel agences (I suggest screening ‘La Haine’ on the plane over). Upon their arrival in the French city, many Japanese visitors get a literal rude awakening, as they are greeted by the dirt, language barrier, rudeness and chaos which is typical of a modern capital city. This juxtaposition between expectations and reality can prove too much for people like the Japanese who put huge cultural emphasis on rigid politeness, and can lead to a full blown mental breakdown. Such is the severity of this affliction that the Japanese embassy has a 24hr hotline for visitors suffering from this severe culture shock, providing emergency hospital treatment if necessary. 


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