Illness: Mental Syndromes

Most syndromes are related to an error that can be found in the genes, the DNA. Here are a number of syndromes that are not based in the body, but in the mind. Sometimes the cause of a syndrome is not known, but the regular combination of a number of signs is so noticeable that they are grouped into a syndrome. . For example, the collection of symptoms called Cushing’s syndrome can be caused by multiple pathologies. In Cushing’s disease, on the other hand, there is one cause at the root of the condition. Someone with Cushing’s disease has the set of symptoms called Cushing’s syndrome.

Some Syndromes, from A to Z, that are not in the genes

  • Battered child syndrome
  • Capgras syndrome
  • Charles Bonnet’s Syndrome
  • Cotard’s Syndrome
  • The Dhat Syndrome
  • Erotomania
  • The Delayed Sleep-Phase Syndrome
  • The Frégoli Syndrome
  • The Ganser Syndrome
  • The Genital Retraction Syndrome
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • The Godot Syndrome
  • Korsakov’s Syndrome
  • Munchausen syndrome
  • The Stendhal Syndrome


Battered child syndrome

Battered child syndrome is a form of child abuse . In this case, hitting children by other children can quickly be called abuse, as it causes physical damage.

Such a child who is a victim of this syndrome shows symptoms related to physical violence . (Such as bruises, fractures or other injuries). Furthermore, there are several indications that this is not a simple accident, for example due to the coexistence of older and new injuries in places where this would not be logical. The child is usually psychologically affected and hides the injuries or makes up explanations for the abuse.

Capgras syndrome

Capgras syndrome is a mental disorder in which people, animals or objects are recognized normally, but their identity is not.

Those who suffer from the syndrome have ideas that other people, or themselves, are not real, but have been replaced by doppelgangers with the same appearance and behavior . Most Capgras patients consider the doppelgänger to be human, but sometimes they believe that the doppelgänger is a robot or alien. An advantage is that the patient sees the oddity in his problem, but he lives in a world of deceivers, as a result of which psychotic symptoms can develop.

Charles Bonnet’s Syndrome

Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS) is a condition in which mentally healthy people suffer from hallucinations / perceiving things that are not actually there: someone whose arms have been amputated may have itchy middle fingers.

Cotard’s Syndrome

Cotard’s syndrome is a mental disorder in which a person has the delusion that he is dead , does not exist or that his organs or blood are missing. The condition occurs after a neurological disorder, brain injury or as part of a broader mental illness (often psychoses) and is often accompanied by depression and depersonalization.

The Dhat Syndrome

Dhat syndrome mainly occurs in certain cultures in India. Dhatu means lifeblood, and the syndrome concerns the fear of losing vital forces due to semen loss . The development of a feeling of guilt after masturbating too much and physically usually involves a feeling of weakness and exhaustion, premature ejaculation, impotence and fear of passing semen through the urine. Dhat syndrome also occurs in women who experience excessive vaginal fluid production.


In erotomania, a person imagines that another person is in love with him or her, harbors romantic feelings or is open to romantic advances, when in reality this is not the case. In most cases it concerns someone with a high(er) social status. Although sexual fantasies may occur, the delusion is usually idealized, romantic and spiritual in nature. In many cases, the person actually makes contact through phone calls, letters or stalking. Because men are more likely to act on their ideas, problems with the police and the judiciary can arise.

The Delayed Sleep-Phase Syndrome

In people with Delayed sleep-phase syndrome, the patient’s biological clock is not synchronized with the morning wake-up/evening sleep pattern of the rest of the people around him. Patients often report that they cannot fall asleep even though they have a normal need for sleep and fall asleep at the same time every night.

The Frégoli Syndrome

Because people suffering from Frégoli syndrome believe that different people are actually maifestatis of one person, the patient may develop a paranoid feeling of being pursued.

The Ganser Syndrome

Ganser’s syndrome is rare and is characterized by giving ‘ almost-correct’ answers to questions or giving distorted or cryptic explanations . Someone with this syndrome may answer ‘three plus three equals seven’, indicating that they know the answer, but do not want to reveal all the information. The syndrome can be a consequence of head injury, but mainly occurs in cases of severe stress, for example captivity or war. Some feel that the condition is nothing more than an attention-seeking and posturing and can best be seen as a simulation to avoid punishment or conflict. The symptoms are also sometimes explained as factitious disorder as a psychological response to harsh living conditions. But the condition is often accompanied by a number of symptoms, such as memory loss, inattention and drowsiness.

The Genital Retraction Syndrome

Genital retraction syndrome is the name of a group of mental disorders in which the sufferer fears that external genitalia are shrinking or retracting into the body. People often fear that the condition is fatal. Given the area of distribution, the conditions are generally considered culture-bound syndromes.

GRS mainly occurs in men. However, there are also cases where women are afraid of shrinking or disappearing nipples and breasts.

Tourette’s Syndrome

Tourette’s syndrome shows symptoms in the form of uncontrolled muscle movements and making sounds ( tics ). People who suffer from this have to carry out their tics, which is why they are called ‘neurotics’. They are often ashamed of their tics, and they will try to hide them a lot.

The Godot Syndrome

Godot syndrome is a form of anxiety disorder in which there is fear about future events . Patients continually ask questions about these events.

Korsakov’s Syndrome

Korsakoff’s syndrome is a persistent memory disorder resulting from long-term excessive alcohol consumption . It can be recognized by disorientation, especially in time and memory disturbances, especially in short-term memory.

In addition to being the cause of excessive alcohol consumption, it can also occur as a result of severe malnutrition. The disorder is brain damage resulting in severe impairments and subsequent disabilities.

Munchausen syndrome

Münchhausen syndrome is a psychiatric syndrome in which the patient ensures that he receives attention. He hopes to get attention by visiting medical providers more than once with fictitious complaints or self-inflicted injuries. The patient keeps coming up with other diseases and injuries, and is therefore constantly referred to other doctors.

The Stendhal Syndrome

With Stendhal syndrome, a person is completely overwhelmed by the beauty of art . Physical symptoms include increased heart rate, dizziness, confusion and fainting. In severe cases, forms of mania, hallucinations or other psychotic symptoms sometimes occur.

The syndrome can be compared to the Jerusalem syndrome. The same symptoms arise, but for religious experiences .

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