Syndromes You Didn’t Know Existed

Sometimes, reality can appear much stranger than fiction. There are many diseases in this world that are so rare and unusual that they’ve been named after fictional works of art. And yes, they’re totally real and not something made up solely for the plot of an elaborate sci-fi movie. The chances of developing or being born with these syndromes are incredibly rare, so you should thank your lucky stars if you are in the clear.

1. Sleeping Beauty Syndrome

The Kleine Levin Syndrome is appropriately known as the “Sleeping Beauty Syndrome” due to the fact that those afflicted fall asleep for weeks, even months at a time. The condition is often triggered by a virus, such as the flu, which disrupts the immune system and sends you into a deep slumber. During these moments people will only wake up half-asleep and become extremely irritable, as well as lose a lot of weight but regain it by eating as much as possible before returning to their eventual deep sleep. Unfortunately, there is no cure, but the condition can be managed by hormone treatments and other medications.

2. Hallermann-Streiff Syndrome

Up next is the Hallermann-Streiff Syndrome, one of the rarest conditions which affects less than 250 people in the world. This syndrome can happen very randomly and occurs in one out of every 5 million births. These people present with 28 identifiable abnormal characteristics including close-set eyes, poor eyesight, a beak-like nose, lack of hair growth and dwarfism. Despite appearing very young and childlike due to their stunted growth, these people don’t suffer from any sort of learning disabilities and are on par with most adults their own age.

3. Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Remember that scene in Alice in Wonderland where Alice’s body grows after drinking a mysterious potion labeled “drink me,” while the rest of the objects around her appear to shrink? Well, people suffering from this syndrome experience a similar perception where things around them either feel really big or really small. And no, it isn’t a psychological hallucination but the result of an adjustment in the parietal lobe of the brain where your eyes simply perceive objects at the wrong size. It is even theorized that Lewis Carrol may have suffered from this condition which was brought about by his severe migraines and other various addictions.

4. Foreign Accent Syndrome

As the name suggests, foreign accent syndrome is a condition where someone undergoes a sudden change in their accent, often without warning and beyond their control. This is often the result of either a brain injury or stroke which affects their tongue placement or the part of the brain that helps them process language. This was seen in a woman named Lisa Alamia from Texas who woke up with a cockney accent following jaw surgery to fix her overbite. 

5. Paris and Jerusalem Syndrome

Many people unfortunately have a very idealized idea of certain cities in their minds, and when reality fails to live up to those ideals, they tend to have a mental breakdown of gigantic proportions. Take for instance Japanese people who romanticize Paris, only to experience severe anxiety attacks and bouts of depression when the real thing didn’t live up to their expectations. The same is seen in Chrisitians who view Jerusalem as such a wonderful and holy place, like that time when a Canadian tourist had such an intense religious experience that he claimed he was the Biblical character, Samson, just like the many others before him.

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