The difference between somebody who eats ‘everything’ and someone who can eat ‘anything’ can be literally be explained by the guy in picture
Pica is a relatively rare disease characterised by the urge to consume inedible objects. The disease can either manifest in the context of a specific culture or tradition or it can be triggered by a certain chemical imbalance. The etymology of the word ‘pica’ originated from the Latin word ‘magpie’, which represents a species of bird that eats pretty much anything. It’s often linked with schizophrenia, autism and other mental disorders; as you can imagine it’s potentially extremely dangerous because it can turn result in causing internal bleeding, metal poisoning or cuts in the stomach.
To get an idea of how insane and serious this can get… take a look at the objects extracted from just one patient’s digestive system. These 1,446 items have been put together and constitute a famous piece of art, part of the Glore Psychiatric Museum. That patient must have loved pins!
The demographic at the greatest risk are women and children. Some of their favourite meals are chalk, glass, hair, rocks and even faeces…
Who isn’t in love with the idea of Paris? Well, I assume that pretty much every romantic, but apparently the Japanese can take it a bit too far sometimes. I’ve never been to France myself, although I must admit I would really love to go back the old Paris, smoking a cigar and listening to jazz in a small yet lovely restaurant then maybe dance and laugh until the morning… but for now I’m stuck in cold grey England, with dirty pubs and drunk students 🙂
The difference between the idealistic view presented in the media about the city of light and the reality is the main cause of Paris syndrome. Characterised by acute anxiety, sweating, depersonalisation and dizziness, this condition occurs most often among Japanese tourists, who don’t seem to handle too well the contrast between their initial beliefs about the city and the reality.
Why the Japanese? Besides the main cause explained above, scientists believe that the syndrome is most prevalent among Japanese tourists because of the prominent cultural difference and the language barrier; the fatigue triggered by the urge to visit as much as possible might also be contributing to the weakening of the visitors’ psychological state.
I found this video online which is a small, but really good documentary (it’s much better than my blog, I recommend you to watch it) on Paris syndrome and it includes interviews with a few people who talk about their tourists experiences in Paris and about their opinion about the city:
Did any of you visit Paris? What did you think of it? Was it indeed so different than you expected?
Koro, also known as genital retraction syndrome or shrinking penis is a mental disorder in which patients, both male and female experience a very strong anxiety due to their false belief that their penises or nipples are getting smaller and smaller, fearing that they will eventually retreat completely completely (1).
To rule out the possibility of a genuine disorder that will have the same effect, patients who suffer from Koro need to be diagnosed by a psychologist. This is a culture-specific syndrome and in case you’re not from Southeast Asia you have no reason to worry you will be under stress for no reason… but the possibility your beliefs are fond on real facts might be accurate!
Why are you trying to convince me you’re my wife and where is she?
Imagine your husband (or the person who you feel really close to), the man you think you know the best getting into a coma after suffering a brain injury; after you worry for days and can’t sleep at night he finally wakes up, allowing yourself and the rest of the family to feel relieved, ecstatic even. But soon, as you realize that he doesn’t think that you’re his real wife, all the happiness vanishes. This is a classic scenario involving a patient suffering from Capgras delusion.
Even though it’s not a common disease, Capgras delusion occurs in extreme cases when the individual has been diagnosed with Schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, psychiatric or neurological disorders in general. Also, patients who suffered brain lesions are at risk at developing Capgras delusion, as well some hallucinogenic drug consumption (like ketamine), but in this case the symptoms disappear along with the effect of the substances used.
What is really happening to the patient is unclear, but one of the most dominant theories claims that a normal brain is able to identify distinctive faces and to associate them with a certain emotion or feeling. A damage in the amygdala, the area responsible for generating these kind of responses, might trigger the patient to recognise their close friends, but being disturbed regarding their capacity of feeling any familiar affection towards them.
In their book “Pimozide in the treatment of Capgras’ syndrome. A case report” Passer and Warnock bring into question the case of a female patient, age 74, who fought her husband was a pretender, repeatedly asking him is he hurt her real husband. The woman refused to share their bedroom and locked herself in. She threaded him several times and even asked their son for support. (1)
I can imagine that being absolutely horrifying from both sides, but luckily for most of us Capgras delusion is highly unlikely to occur among young individuals, so until then…cheer up!
Sources: Passer, K.M.; Warnock, J.K. (1991). “Pimozide in the treatment of Capgras’ syndrome. A case report”.Psychosomatics 32 (4): 446–8
I remember when I was little my parents brought home for me the loveliest puppy. It was golden with a black ear, really really small and very playful. We all loved it for a couple of hours…when he started to get comfortable, went for a poop then stick his nose in it, have a bite and run cheerful, to spread its last smelly meal all over the place. Then the love was gone… until we taught our little buddy some basic manners.
What reminded me of this story was a condition I read about recently, a condition which only manifests amongst individuals (and dogs) living in the Artic Circle. Piblokto also known as arctic hysteria is believed to be a culture-bound syndrome which strikes during winter. There is no consensus to the explanation why this condition is only common among Eskimo people, but scientists take into consideration a serious of numerous reasons like the unfriendly winter conditions, the close relationship with the other members in the society or the overdose of vitamin A. The breakdowns of arctic hysteria don’t last more than a few minutes and they are usually followed by amnesia. During the attacks, the person suffering from arctic hysteria goes absolutely mental… they shout uncontrollably, run naked (bear in mind the temperature there can go as low as -50 Celsius degrees) and for some reason eat their own poop (this is why it reminded me of my dog). At that temperature, I reckon they’ve got to be quick!
I have no doubt you’ve all heard about this major improvement in the science of medicine, which is indeed a big step that hopefully will provide us with a more elaborate answer.
The way I see this, if it will be proven to be efficient for a long period of time (without the risk of reoccurrence) doctors should focus their research towards discovering a method that will help detecting the virus immediately after infection. At the moment this can take up to 6 months after the exposure, but in most of the cases people suffering from AIDS realise it even later.
If this will certify as being an accurate solution, then all the time and money invested in finding a cure won’t just go to waste, but as it may turn up, then all the research so far might have been directed to a completely different path.
I happen to know about living with AIDS, as I met some children who suffer from it and every day is a challenge for them, despite the fact that they didn’t do anything wrong, so at least for the future generations, no matter if there’s a cure for it that hasn’t been found yet or if the virus can be really be dealt with when treated with the existing medicine right after infection, I really hope that doctors will find a solution that will save the world from this deadly disease which has ruined so many lives.