Information

Is there a disorder that causes one to give inanimate objects human emotions?

Is there a disorder that causes one to give inanimate objects human emotions?


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

For example, if one is using multiple pens to write something and has not used one of them in awhile, one may think it is "feeling" "left out" and so will switch to use that one. A logical mind KNOWS that inanimate objects cannot feel but one may have such empathy for all things - living or not - that one may attribute human feelings and emotions to them and an emotional brain does this automatically. It is not a conscious action, it is automatic and it dictates how one interacts with things. One can use a logical mind to recognize it but stills feel compelled to make sure everything is taken care of and included. Is this a specific disorder or just a piece of one of another disorder?


Interesting question. I have thought about this a lot, and while I cannot offer a conclusive answer, I can offer some ideas that stem from scientific literature.

I should note that this question may technically be considered off-topic, as it seems to be looking for a diagnosis (and self-help questions are prohibited on this website). However, for the sake of my own curiosity and the curiosity of others, I'll provide my answer nonetheless.

To answer your specific question: No, there is no officially-recognized disorder that causes one to assume human emotions in objects. To be fair, the condition you have described does not constitute the definition of '[mental] disorder' because, by definition, a mental disorder is a mental or behavioral pattern that causes suffering or poor ability to function in life. On the contrary, it seems that this behavioral pattern of yours is helpful to you, for reasons that I will explain below.

There is a theory that the brain forms an image of the body's homeostatic sensations in the "primary interoceptive cortex" of the brain. This area is located in the insula, which is linked to emotion (the body's homeostasis), as well as empathy. [1] This theory is supported by fMRI imaging, which shows activity in the insular cortex when one is asked to feel one's own heartbeat, or empathize with the pain or emotional state of others. [2] Coincidentally, the insula is also involved in psychopathology, or the study of mental disorders. Specifically, it is linked to anxiety disorders [3] and emotional dysregulation. [4]

The spindle neurons found at a higher density in the right frontal insular cortex are also found in the anterior cingulate cortex, and it has been speculated that these neurons are involved in cognitive-emotional processes that are specific to primates, such as empathy and self-aware emotional feelings. While the mechanisms behind the insular cortex are not well known, it is thought that these functions arise as a consequence of the insula's ability to relay its internal 'homeostasis' (or its overall well-being) to the conscious observer. [2]

Given the evidence that empathy is associated with insular activity, and given the evidence that the insula regulates the body's internal sense of 'homeostasis', it can be inferred that those who are highly sensitive (i.e. highly attuned to their internal level of homeostasis) are automatically highly attuned to the others in their environment, as well. Thus, there may be a tendency to expect similar levels of sensitivity in other things, and (by proxy) there may be a tendency to 'tread lightly' around others due to an automatic assumption that they are similarly sensitive. This may extend to inanimate objects, if one recognizes that the 'environment' that the object is in is not maintained in the body's subjective view of homeostasis.

Another thing to consider is that young children often show attachment or subjective association of feelings to objects, and that this is considered normal in young age because of the positive effects it seems to have on children. One study found that children who attended day-care full-time were significantly more likely to develop attachments to inanimate objects than children who only attended day-care part-time. It is not certain why this is the case, though it can be speculated that increased exposure to the real world (and time away from the parent or guardian) increases the child's anxiety as they learn to become independent. A prior study found that there was no link between behavioral disturbances and object attachment; on the contrary, another study found that children used object attachment as a mechanism for arousal reduction (and, thus, anxiety-reduction) in the face of adversity or discomfort in the environment. [5] As I mentioned before, it is thought that children use these objects to transition from dependence to independence.

This is different from treating objects as if they were people, because this is essentially using the object as a token of security to replace the mother as the child advances in age, thus allowing the child to become independent. However, it may reveal insight into those who naturally associate objects with emotions, because it may represent an underlying anxiety in the individual. The attachment to the object may be a way for the individual to circumvent that -- though it could also be unrelated, as this is still in a speculative stage.

Overall, however, I would say that this behavior does not implicate disorder in an individual. To the contrary, it appears to be a soothing mechanism. If I had to make an informed guess based on the information above, I would theorize that those who continue to associate emotions with inanimate objects outside of childhood may simply have stronger natural insular activity, and thus a stronger tendency towards one's internal 'homeostasis', or emotional activity. Because the individual is naturally more sensitive to the environment / emotional affect of others due to heightened activity in the insular cortex, they naturally attempt to regulate the environment's 'homeostasis' based on the individual's own bodily concept of homeostasis. Thus, if you were to feel left out if you were a pen that was not being used, then you may very well treat every pen the way you wanted to be treated. :)


Sources used:

[1] Emeran A. Mayer (August 2011). "Gut feelings: the emerging biology of gut-brain communication". Nature Reviews Neuroscience 12: 453-466.

[2] Benedetto De Martino, Dharshan Kumaran, Ben Seymour, and Raymond J. Dolan (August 2006). "Frames, Biases, and Rational Decision-Making in the Human Brain". Science 313 (6): 684-687.

[3] Paulus MP, Stein MB (August 2006). "An insular view of anxiety". Biol. Psychiatry 60 (4): 383-7.

[4] Thayer JF, Lane RD (December 2000). "A model of neurovisceral integration in emotion regulation and dysregulation". J Affect Disord 61 (3): 201-16

[5] Passman R. H. (1976). Arousal reducing properties of attachment objects: testing the functional limits of the security blanket relative to the mother. Dev. Psychol. 12 468-469 10.1037/0012-1649.12.5.468


Anthropomorphization is a totally normal social action

According to Epley, people who name objects and treat them as human are not delusional fools: The psychological mechanisms behind anthropomorphism are the same as those behind human-to-human social interaction.

“For centuries, our willingness to recognize minds in nonhumans has been seen as a kind of stupidity, a childlike tendency toward anthropomorphism and superstition that educated and clear-thinking adults have outgrown,” writes Epley. “I think this view is both mistaken and unfortunate. Recognizing the mind of another human being involves the same psychological processes as recognizing a mind in other animals, a god, or even a gadget. It is a reflection of our brain’s greatest ability rather than a sign of our stupidity.”

While studies have not yet explicitly proven the link between anthropomorphic tendencies and social intelligence, Epley believes the association is likely strong. The more often we engage with other human minds, and the more deeply and successfully we read other humans intentions, the more socially intelligent we become.


List of Mental Disorders | Psychology

Freud once stated that the child is the parent of the adult, and where mental disorders are concerned, he was correct: The problems people experience as adults are often visible much earlier in life.

Recognition of this basic fact is one reason behind the increasing importance of a developmental perspective on mental disorders the view that problems and difficulties experienced during childhood or adolescence can play an important role in the emergence of various disorders during adulthood.

The DSM-IV takes note of this fact, and lists many dis­orders that first emerge during childhood or adolescence. Many psychologists believe that childhood problems can be described in terms of two basic dimensions- Externalizing problems are disruptive behaviors that are often a nuisance to others, such as aggression, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention in contrast, internalizing problems are ones in which children show deficits in desired behaviors, such as difficulty in interacting with peers or problems with expressing their wishes and needs to others. Children show these dif­ficulties to varying degrees, so considering where a child falls along these dimensions can be very revealing. For purposes of this discussion, however, we’ll stick closely to the disorders described by the DSM-IV.

Srinath and Girimaji (1999) in their review of research on childhood psychiatric and emotional problems report that in India the prevalence ranges from 25 to 356/1000 in field studies. Bhola and Kapur (2003), however, note the range to be 5/1000 to 294/1000. Mental retardation, epilepsy, and enuresis are reported as highly prevalent disorders in community-based studies.

The 23 school-based studies listed during the period 1978-2002 identified enuresis, MR, conduct disorders, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as being the most prevalent.

In general, it has been realized that school-going children report higher psychological disturbances urban children report more problems compared to rural children boys report more problems than girls. Scholastic backwardness has been a major problem in the Indian region. It was thus concluded that scholastic and learning-related problems of children need to be examined simultaneously with mental health problems.

I. Disruptive Behavior:

Disruptive behaviors are the most common single reason why children are referred to psychologists for diagnosis and treatment. And in fact disruptive behaviors are quite common. As many as 10 percent of children may show such problems at some time or other. Disruptive behaviors are divided by the DSM- IV into two major categories- oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder.

Oppositional defiant disorder involves a pattern of behavior in which children have poor control of their emotions or have repeated conflicts with parents, teachers, and other adults.

What are the causes of these disruptive patterns of behavior? Biological factors appear to play a role. Boys show such problems much more often than girls, a pattern that suggests a role for sex hormones. Also, some findings suggest that children who develop CD have unusually low levels of general arousal and thus seem to crave the excitement that accompanies their disruptive behaviors. But psychological factors, too, play a role.

Children with conduct disorder often show insecure attachment to their parents and often live in negative environments that may involve poverty, large family size, and being placed in foster care. In addition, their parents often use co­ercive child-rearing practices, which may actually encourage disruptive behavior. Whatever the precise causes, it is clear that CD is a serious problem that can well pave the way to additional problems during adulthood.

Ii. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD):

When you were in school, you must have seen a classmate who couldn’t sit still and who interrupted the class repeatedly by getting up and wandering around? A teacher has to make extra effort get such children stay in his seat and pay attention to the lesson. Such children suffer from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Actually, three patterns of ADHD exist: one in which children simply can’t pay attention another in which they show hyperactivity or impulsivity they really can’t sit still and can’t restrain their impulses and a third pattern that combines the two. Unfortunately, ADHD is not a problem that fades with the passage of time: Seventy per­cent of children diagnosed with ADHD in elementary school still show signs of it when they are sixteen. Moreover, by this time it is often accompanied by conduct disorder.

The causes of ADHD appear, again, to be both biological and psychological. For instance, such factors as low birth weight, oxygen deprivation at birth, and alcohol consumption by expectant mothers have all been associated with ADHD. In addition, deficits in the reticular activating system and in the frontal lobes may be linked to ADHD. With respect to psychological factors, risk factors seem to include parental intrusiveness and overstimulation parents who just can’t seem to let their infants alone.

Fortunately, ADHD can be treated successfully with several drugs, all of which act as stimulants. Ritalin is the most frequently used, and it amplifies the impact of two neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. While taking this drug, children are better able to pay attention and often become calmer and more in control of their own behavior.

The effects of Ritalin and other medications last only four to five hours, however, so the drugs must be taken quite frequently. Also, Ritalin and other drugs produce potentially harmful side effects (e.g., decreased appetite, insomnia, headaches, increased blood pressure) they are definitely not an unmixed blessing.

For this reason, many psychologists recommend treating ADHD not just with drugs (a purely medical approach), but with behavioral manage­ment programs in which children are taught to listen to directions, to continue with tasks, to stay in their seat while in class, and other important skills.

Iii. Feeding and Eating Disorders:

Over the past few decades, that feeding and eating disorders disturbances in eating behavior that involve maladaptive and unhealthy efforts to control body weight are becoming increasingly common. The trend in recent decades has been for these disturbing disorders to start at earlier and earlier ages as young as age eight. Two eating disorders, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, have received most attention.

a. Anorexia Nervosa: Proof That You Can Be Too Slim:

Anorexia nervosa involves an intense and excessive fear of gaining weight coupled with refusal to maintain a normal body weight. In other words, peo­ple with this disorder relentlessly pursue the goal of being thin, no matter what this does to their health. They often have distorted perceptions of their own bodies, believing that they are much heavier than they really are. As a result of such fears and distorted perceptions, they starve themselves to the point where their weight drops to dangerously low levels.

Why do persons with this disorder have such an intense fear of becom­ing fat? Important clues are provided by the fact that anorexia nervosa is far more common among females than males. Research findings indicate that few men prefer the extremely thin figures that anorexics believe men admire rather, men find a fuller- figured, more rounded appearance much more attractive.

That intense social pressures do indeed play a role in anorexia nervosa is suggested by the findings of a recent study by Paxton and her colleagues (1999). These researchers found that among fifteen-year-old girls, the greater the pressure from their friends to be thin, the more likely the teens was to be unhappy with their current bodies and to be greatly restricting their food intake. Whatever its precise origins, anorexia nervosa poses a serious threat to the physical as well as the psychological health of the persons who experience it.

b. Bulimia: The Binge-Purge Cycle:

If you found anorexia nervosa disturbing, you may find a second eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, even more unsettling. In this disorder individuals engage in recurrent episodes of binge eating eating huge amounts of food within short periods of time followed by some kind of compensatory behavior designed to prevent weight gain. This can involve self-induced vomiting, the misuse of laxatives, fasting, or exercise so excessive that it is potentially harmful to the person’s health.

The causes of bulimia nervosa appear to be similar to those of anorexia nervosa: Once again, the “thin is beautiful” ideal seems to play an important role. Another, and related, factor is the desire to be perfect in all respects, including those relating to physical beauty. Research findings indicate that women who are high on this trait are at risk for developing bulimia, especially if they perceive themselves to be overweight.

And, in fact, bulimics like anorexics do tend to perceive themselves as much heavier than they really are. This fact is illustrated clearly by a study conducted by Williamson, Cubic, and Gleaves (1993).

These researchers noted that when current body size was held constant statistically, both bulimic and anorexic persons rated their current body size as larger than did control participants, and both rated their ideal as smaller than did controls. Both groups with eating disorders viewed themselves as farther from their ideal than did persons who did not suffer from an eating disorder.

Fortunately, it appears that the frequency of eating disorders tends to decrease with age, at least for women. Men, in contrast, may be more at risk for such problems as they get older: The percentage of men who diet increases somewhat with age, and dieting can sometimes lead to excessive efforts to reduce one’s weight.

Iv. Autism: A Pervasive Developmental Disorder:

Of all the childhood disorders, the ones that may be most disturbing of all are those described in the DSM-IV as pervasive developmental disorders. Such disorders involve lifelong impairment in mental or physical function­ing among these, the one that has received most attention is autistic disorder, or autism. This term is derived from the Greek word autos (self) and is an apt description for children with this disorder, for they seem to be preoccupied with themselves and to live in an almost totally private world.

Children with autism show three major characteristics: marked impairments in establishing social interactions with others (e.g., they don’t use nonverbal behaviors such as eye contact, don’t develop peer relationships, and don’t seem to be interested in other people) nonexistent or poor language skills and stereotyped, repetitive patterns of behavior.

Consider the following description of one such child:

“A mother is watching her three year old son play. For the last hour, he has been sitting on the floor staring at his right hand, which he holds over his head as he opens and closes his fingers. The child is looking at changes in the lighting that he makes by waving his fingers in front of the ceiling light. He has been doing this every day for months……. Before he was a year old, the mother had begun to notice all sorts of problems. He would never reach out for toys or babble like other babies. He wouldn’t even splash around in the water when she gave him a bath…….. Perhaps most upsetting of all, he didn’t use language and didn’t seem to notice other people. If another child walked over to him, he would shrink back and begin to cry. If his mother called his name, he would ignore her…. The only time he seemed to notice other people was when he got upset…”

Truly, children with autistic disorder seem to live in a world of their own. They make little contact with others, either through words or nonverbal gestures show little interest in others and, when they do notice them, often seem to treat them as objects rather than people. How truly sad.

Autistic disorder seems to have important biological and genetic causes. Twin studies, for instance, show a higher concordance rate for identical than for fraternal twins. Similarly, other studies suggest that the brains of children with autistic disorder have structural or functional abnormalities, such as frontal lobes that are less well developed than in normal children.

Psychological factors that play a role in autistic disorder include attentional deficits. Autistic children fail to attend to social stimuli such as their mother’s face and voice, or to others’ calling their names. Perhaps the most intriguing findings of all are that autistic children have deficits in their theory of mind, refers to children’s understanding of their own and others’ mental states.

Apparently, autistic children show serious deficits in this respect. They are unable to realize that other people can have access to different sources of information than themselves, and they are unable to predict the beliefs of others from information that should allow them to make such predictions.

Evidence that deficits with respect to theory of mind do play an important role in autism is provided by research conducted by Peterson and Siegal (1999). These psychologists reasoned that in order to develop an adequate theory of mind, children require social interactions with others in which they communicate about their own and others’ mental states. Because autistic children show marked deficits in the use of language and in interacting with others, they would be expected to experience deficits in their theory of mind.

Peterson and Siegal (1999) reasoned that this would also be true, to a degree, for deaf children living in homes where no one else knew the sign language they used to communicate. Such children would be deprived of opportunities to develop their theory of mind adequately. In contrast, deaf children living in homes where others knew sign language would have such opportunities and would not experience these deficits.

To test these predictions, Peterson and Siegal had autistic children and several groups of deaf children (ones who could use sign language at home and ones who could not) perform tasks that measure children’s theory of mind. In one task, for instance, children were shown a box that usually contained candy but in this case contained pencils. After discovering the unexpected contents, the children were asked what another child would expect to find in the box.

A correct reply was that this other child would expect candy, because she or he wouldn’t know, as the child did, that the box contained pencils. Results confirmed the prediction that both autistic children and deaf children who did not have an opportunity to converse with others about mental states would perform more poorly than would non-deaf children or deaf children who did have the opportunity to converse. These findings suggest that deficits with respect to theory of mind do indeed play a role in autistic disorder.

2. Mood Disorders:

Have you ever felt truly “down in the dumps” sad, blue, and dejected? How about “up in the clouds” happy, elated, excited? Probably you can easily bring such experiences to mind, for everyone has swings in mood or emotional state. For most of us, these swings are usually moderate in scope periods of deep despair and wild elation are rare.

Some persons, however, experience swings in their emotional states that are much more extreme and prolonged. Their highs are higher, their lows are lower, and they spend more time in these states than most people. Such persons are described as suffering from mood disorders. Among the most important of these are depressive disorders and bipolar disorders.

I. Depressive Disorders: Probing the Depths of Despair:

Unless we lead a truly charmed existence, our daily lives bring some events that make us feel sad or disappointed. A poor grade, breaking up with one’s romantic partner, failure to get a promotion these and many other events tip our emotional balance toward sadness. When do such reactions constitute depression? Most psychologists agree that several criteria are useful for reach­ing this decision.

First, persons suffering from depression experience truly profound unhappiness, and they experience it much of the time. Second, persons experiencing depression report that they have lost interest in all the usual pleasures of life (e.g., eating, sex, sports, hobbies). Third, persons suffering from depression often experience significant weight loss (when not dieting) or gain.

Depression may also involve fatigue, insomnia, feelings of worthlessness, a recurrent inability to think or concentrate, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide. An individual who experiences five or more of these symp­toms at once during the same two-week period is classified by the DSM-IV as undergoing a major depressive episode.

Depression is very common. In fact, it is experienced by 21.3 percent of women and 12.7 percent of men at some time during their lives. This nearly two-to-one gender difference in depression rates has been reported in many studies, especially in studies conducted in wealthy, developed countries so it appears to be a real one. Why does it exist? As noted by Strickland (1992), several factors account for this finding, including the fact that females have traditionally had lower status, power, and income than males must worry more than males about their personal safety and are the victims of sexual harassment and assaults much more often than males.

Gender differences in rates of depression may also stem, at least to a degree, from the fact that females are more willing to admit to such feelings than males, or from the fact that women are more likely than men to remem­ber such episodes.

Unfortunately, episodes of major depression are not isolated events most people who experience one such episode also experience others during their lives an average of five or six. And others expe­rience what is known as double depression they recover from major depression but continue to experience a depressed mood (dysthymic disorder) or, in some cases, unusual irritability.

Ii. Bipolar Disorders: Riding the Emotional Roller Coaster:

If depression is the emotional sinkhole of life, bipolar disorder is life’s emotional roller coaster. People suffer­ing from bipolar disorder experience wide swings in mood. They move, over varying periods of time, between deep depression and an emotional state known as mania, in which they are extremely excited, elated, and energetic.

During manic periods such persons speak rapidly, show a sharply decreased need for sleep, jump from one idea or activity to another, and show excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for harmful consequences.

For example, they may engage in wild buying sprees or make extremely risky invest­ments. Clearly, bipolar disorders are very disruptive not only to the individuals who experience them but to other people in their lives as well.

3. Anxiety Disorders:

At one time or another, we all experience anxiety a diffuse or vague concern that something unpleasant will soon occur. If such feelings become intense and persist for long periods of time, however, they can constitute another important form of mental disorder. Such anxiety disorders take several different forms, and we’ll consider the most important of these here.

I. Phobias: Excessive Fear of Specific Objects or Situations:

Most people express some fear of snakes, heights, violent storms, and buzzing insects such as bees or wasps. Because all of these can pose real threats to our safety, such reactions are adaptive, up to a point. But if such fears become excessive, in that they cause intense emotional distress and interfere signifi­cantly with everyday activities, they constitute phobias, one important type of anxiety disorder.

The effects of one type of phobia are vividly illustrated by the following case:

“At nine years old, Ritika’s fear of heights was so strong she was unable to attend schools with more than one story. She panicked when her class went on field trips where there were steps. She was both frightened and embarrassed in front of her classmates on their trip to a museum she was able to climb the stairs to the second floor, but then she had to lie down and slide on her stomach to get back down.”

While many different phobias exist, most seem to involve fear of animals (e.g., bees, spiders, snakes) the natural environment (e.g., thunder, dark­ness, wind) illness and injections (e.g., blood, needles, pain, contamination) and various specific situations (e.g., enclosed places, travel, empty rooms). The most common phobia of all is social phobia excessive fear of situations in which a person might be evaluated and perhaps embarrassed.

It is estimated that fully 13 percent of people living in the United States have had a social phobia at some time in their lives, and almost 8 percent report having experienced such fears during the past year. Social phobias appear to exist all around the world, but they take different forms in different cultures.

In collectivistic cultures such as Japan, social phobias seem to focus on individuals’ fear that they will do some­thing to offend other members of their social group (e.g., say something offensive, have a displeasing appear­ance, emit an offensive odor). In individualistic cultures such as those in Europe or North America, social phobias tend to focus on the fear of being evaluated negatively by others in public situations.

What are the causes of phobias? Through such learning, stimuli that do not initially elicit strong emotional reactions can often come to do so. For example, an individual may acquire an intense fear of buzzing sounds such as those made by bees after being stung by a bee or wasp. In the past, the buzzing sound was a neutral stimulus that produced little or no reaction.

The pain of being stung, however, is an unconditioned stimulus and as a result of being closely paired with the pain, the buzzing sound acquires the capacity to evoke strong fear. Genetic factors, too, may play a role. Some findings suggest that persons who develop phobias are prone to excessive physiological arousal in certain situations, perhaps because portions of their brain (e.g., the limbic system, the amygdala) are overactive. This intense arousal can serve as the basis for classical conditioning and other forms of learning, and so can result in phobias.

Ii. Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia:

The intense fears associated with phobias are triggered by specific objects or situations. Some individuals, in contrast, experience intense, terrifying anxi­ety that is not activated by a specific event or situation. Such panic attacks are the hallmark of panic disorder, a condition characterized by periodic, unexpected attacks of intense, terrifying anxiety. Panic attacks come on suddenly, reach peak intensity within a few minutes, and may last for hours.

They leave the persons who experience them feeling as if they are about to die or are losing their minds. Among the specific symptoms of panic attacks are a racing heart, sweating, dizziness, nausea, trembling, palpitations, pounding heart, feelings of unreality, fear of losing control, fear of dying, numbness or tingling sensations, and chills or hot flashes.

Although panic attacks often seem to occur out of the blue, in the absence of any specific triggering event, they often take place in specific situations. In such cases panic disorder is said to be associated with agoraphobia, or fear of situations in which the individual suspects that help will not be available if needed.

It often takes the form of intense fear of open spaces, fear of being in public, fear of traveling or, commonly, fear of having a panic attack while away from home! Persons suffering from panic disorder with agoraphobia often experience anticipatory anxiety they are terrified of becoming afraid.

What causes panic attacks? Existing evidence indicates that both biological factors and cognitive factors play a role. With respect to biological factors, it has been found that there is a genetic component in this disor­der. About 50 percent of people with panic disorder have relatives who have it too. In addition, PET scans of the brains of persons who suffer from panic attacks suggest that even in the non-panic state, their brains may be functioning differently from those of other persons.

A portion of the brain stem, the locus coeruleus (LC), may play a key role in panic experiences. This area seems to function as a primitive “alarm system,” and stimulating it artificially in animals results in panic like behavior. It seems possible that in persons who experience panic attacks, the LC may be hypersensitive to certain stimuli (e.g., lactic acid, a natural by-product of exercise) as a result, these persons may experience intense fear in situations in which others do not. No conclusive evidence on this possible mechanism yet exists, but it seems worthy of further study.

With respect to cognitive factors, persons suffering from panic disorder tend to show a pattern of interpret­ing bodily sensations as being more dangerous than they really are for instance, they perceive palpitations as a sign of a heart attack and so experience anxiety, which itself induces further bodily changes and sensations.

A diathesis-stress model proposed by Barlow (1988, 1993) suggests that panic disorder combines biological vulnerability with cognitive factors such as the tendency to perceive relatively harmless stressors as signs of mortal danger and the tendency to then remain vigilant and “on guard” against such imagined dangers.

Iii. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Behaviors and Thoughts outside One’s Control:

Have you ever left your home, gotten halfway down the street, and then returned to see if you really locked the door or turned off the stove? And have you ever worried about catching a disease by touching infected people or objects? Most of us have had these experiences, and they are completely normal. But some persons experience intense anxiety about such concerns.

These individuals have disturbing thoughts or images that they cannot get out of their minds (obsessions) unless they perform some action or ritual that some­how reassures them and helps to break the cycle (compulsions). Persons who have such experiences may be experiencing obsessive compulsive disorder, another important type of anxiety disorder.

Common compulsions actions people perform to neutralize their obsessions include repetitive hand washing, checking doors, windows, water, or gas repeatedly counting objects a precise number of times or repeating an action a specific number of times and hoarding old mail, newspapers, and other useless objects.

What is the cause of such reactions? We all have repetitious thoughts occasionally, for example, after watching a film containing disturbing scenes of violence, we may find ourselves thinking about these over and over again. Most of us soon manage to distract ourselves from such unpleasant thoughts. But individuals who develop obsessive-compulsive disorder are unable to do so.

They are made anxious by their obsessive thoughts, yet they can’t dismiss them readily from their minds. Moreover, they have had past experiences for instance, embarrassments that suggest to them that some thoughts are so dangerous they must be avoided at all costs. As a result, they become even more anxious, and the cycle builds. Only by performing specific actions can these individuals ensure their “safety” and reduce their anxiety.

Therefore, they engage in complex repetitive rituals that can gradually grow to fill most of their day. Because these rituals do help reduce anxiety, the tendency to perform them grows stronger. Unless such persons receive effective outside help, they have little chance of escaping from their self-constructed, anxiety-ridden prisons.

Some intriguing gender differences exist with respect to obsessive-compulsive disorder. Although the rate of this disorder is about equal for females and males, females are much more likely to be compulsive “washers” than males.

In contrast, there are no gender differences with respect to other compulsive behaviors such as checking items repeatedly or counting. These findings emphasize the fact that sociocultural factors often influence not only the incidence of mental disorders, but their specific form as well.

Iv. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

Imagine that you are sleeping peacefully in your own bed when suddenly the ground under your home heaves and shakes and you are thrown to the floor. Once awakened, you find yourself surrounded by the sounds of objects, walls, and even entire buildings crashing to the ground accompanied by shrieks of fear and pain from your neighbors or perhaps even your own family. This is precisely the kind of experience reported by many persons following earthquakes.

Such experiences are described as traumatic by psychologists because they are extraordinary in nature and extraordinarily disturbing. It is not surprising, then, that some persons exposed to them experience PTSD a disorder in which people persistently re-experience the traumatic event in their thoughts or dreams feel as if they are reliving the event from time to time persistently avoid stimuli associated with the traumatic event (places, people, thoughts) and persistently experience symptoms of increased arousal such as difficulty falling asleep, irritability, outbursts of anger, or difficulty in concentrating. PTSD can stem from a wide range of trau­matic events natural disasters, accidents, rape and other assaults, torture, or the horrors of wartime combat.

PTSD is classified as an anxiety disorder, characterized by aversive anxiety-related experiences, behav­iors, and physiological responses that develop after exposure to a psychologically traumatic event (sometimes months after). Its features persist for longer than 30 days, which distinguishes it from the briefer acute stress disorder. These persisting post-traumatic stress symptoms cause significant disruptions of one or more impor­tant areas of life function. It has three sub-forms: acute, chronic, and delayed-onset.

In India, the impact of the Orissa Super Cyclone on survivors’ locus of control (LOC), depression and stress were assessed through interviews and it was found that those who were closer to the epicenter of super cyclone experienced more anxiety, depression, and stress the magnitude of loss experienced by the survivors significantly increased external LOC than the unaffected.

Symptoms of PTSD fall into the following three main categories:

1. “Reliving” the event, which disturbs day-to-day activity, i.e., flashback episodes, where the event seems to be happening again and again, repeated upsetting memories of the event, repeated nightmares of the event and strong, uncomfortable reactions to situations reminiscent of the event.

2. Avoidance which includes emotional “numbing” or feeling as though you don’t care about anything, feel­ing detached, being unable to remember important aspects of the trauma, having lack of interest in normal activities, avoiding places, people, or thoughts reminding the event, and lacking hope of future.

3. Arousal which includes difficulty in concentration, becoming upset easily, having an exaggerated response to things, feeling more aware (hyper-vigilance), feeling irritable or having outbursts of anger, and having trouble in falling or staying asleep.

Not all persons exposed to traumatic events experience PTSD, so a key question is this- What factors lead to PTSD’s occurrence? Research on this question suggests that many factors play a role. The amount of social sup­port trauma victims receives after the traumatic event seems crucial. The more support, the less likely are such persons to develop PTSD.

Similarly, the coping strategies chosen by trauma victims are important. Effective strategies such as trying to see the good side of things (e.g., “I survived!”) help to prevent PTSD from developing, whereas ineffective strat­egies such as blaming oneself for the traumatic event (“I should have moved away from here!”) increase its likelihood.

Individual differences, too, play a role PTSD is more likely among persons who are passive, inner-directed, and highly sensitive to criticism and who exhibited social maladjustment before the trauma (e.g., legal difficulties, irresponsibility) than among persons who don’t show these traits. In sum, it appears that whether individuals experience posttraumatic stress disorder after exposure to a frightening event depends on several different factors.

4. Dissociative and Somatoform Disorders:

Traumatic events sometimes result in PTSD. This is not the only mental disorder that can result from such events, however. Two other major types of disorder seem to involve dramatic, unexpected, and involuntary reactions to traumatic experiences dissociative disorders and somatoform disorders. Dissociative disorders involve disruptions in a person’s memory, consciousness, or identity processes that are normal­ly integrated.

In contrast, somatoform disorders involve physical symptoms for which there is no apparent physical cause. Although these disorders are classified separately in the DSM-IV, I’ll cover them together here, because historically they have been viewed as stemming from similar causes and involving similar symptoms. As will soon be apparent, though, they are distinct in many ways.

I. Dissociative Disorders:

Have you ever awakened during the night and, just for a moment, been uncertain about where you were or even who you were? Such temporary disruptions in our normal cognitive functioning are far from rare many persons experience them from time to time as a result of fatigue, illness, or the use of alcohol or other drugs.

Dissociative disorders, however, go far beyond such experiences. They involve much more profound losses of identity or memory, intense feelings of unreality, a sense of being deper­sonalized (i.e., separate from oneself), and uncertainty about one’s own identity.

Dissociative disorders take several different forms. In dissociative amnesia, individuals suddenly experience a loss of memory that does not stem from medical conditions or other mental disorders. Such losses can be localized, involving only a specific period of time, or generalized, involv­ing memory for the person’s entire life.

In another dissociative disorder, dissociative fugue, an individual suddenly leaves home and travels to a new location where he or she has no memory of his or her previous life. In deper­sonalization disorder the individual retains memory but feels like an actor in a dream or movie.

As dramatic as these disorders are, they pale when compared with the most amazing and controversial dissociative disorder, dissociative identity disorder. This was known as multiple personality disorder in the past, and it involves a shattering of personal identity into at least two and often more separate but coexisting personalities, each possessing different traits, behaviors, memories, and emotions.

Usually, there is one host personality the primary identity that is present most of the time and one or more alters alternative personalities that appear from time to time. Switching, the process of changing from one personality to another, often seems to occur in response to anxiety brought on by thoughts or memories of previous traumatic experiences.

Many mental health professionals believe that this disorder does indeed exist, and it is included in the DSM-IV. Several kinds of evidence offer support for its reality. First, persons with dissociative identity disorder sometimes show distinctive patterns of brain activity when each of their supposedly separate personalities appears.

Similarly, alters sometimes differ in ways that are hard to fake. Some are right-handed and others left-handed some show allergic reactions to various substances and others do not and some alters may be color blind while others are not. Findings such as these suggest that this disorder may indeed be real in at least some cases. However, this evidence itself is somewhat controversial so at present the best approach is one of considerable caution.

This is in no way to suggest that the potentially harmful effects of early traumatic experiences should be ignored if these are severe, many psychologists believe, they may indeed lead to some kind of dissociation (splitting of identity or consciousness). But accepting exaggerated claims about dissociative identity disorder does seem unjustified.

Ii. Somatoform Disorders: Physical Symptoms without Physical Causes:

Several of Freud’s early cases, ones that played an important role in his developing theory of personality, involved the following puzzling situation. An individual would show some physical symptom (such as deafness or paralysis of some part of the body) yet careful examination would reveal no underlying physical causes for the problem. Such dis­orders are known as somatoform disorders – disorders in which indi­viduals have physical symptoms in the absence of identifiable physical causes for these symptoms.

One such disorder is somatization disorder, a condition in which an individual has a history of many physical complaints, beginning before age thirty, that occur over a period of years and result in treatment being sought for significant impairments in social, occupational, or other impor­tant areas of life.

The symptoms reported may include pain in various parts of the body (e.g., head, back, abdomen), gastrointestinal problems (e.g., nausea, vomiting, bloating), sexual symptoms (e.g., sexual indifference, excessive menstrual bleeding), and neurological symptoms not related to pain (e.g., impaired coordination or balance, paralysis, blindness).

Another somatoform disorder is hypochondriasis preoccupation with fear of disease. Hypochondriacs do not actually have the diseases they fear, but they persist in worrying about them, despite repeated reassur­ance by their doctors that they are healthy. Many hypochondriacs are not simply faking they feel the pain and discomfort they report and are truly afraid that they are sick or will soon become sick.

Other persons who seek medical help are faking. For instance, persons with Munchausen’s syndrome devote their lives to seeking and often obtaining costly and painful medical procedures they realize they don’t need. Why? Perhaps because they relish the attention or because they enjoy fooling physicians and other trained professionals. In any case, such persons waste precious medical resources and often run up huge bills that must be paid by insurance companies or government programs so Munchausen’s syndrome, no matter how strange, is definitely no laughing matter.

Yet another somatoform disorder is known as conversion disorder. Persons with this disorder actually experience physical problems such as motor deficits (poor balance or coordination, paralysis, or weakness of arms or legs) or sensory deficits (loss of sensitivity to touch or pain, double vision, blindness, deafness). While these disabilities are quite real to the persons involved, there is no medical condition present to account for them.

What are the causes of somatoform disorders? As is true with almost all mental disorders, several factors seem to play a role. Individuals who develop such disorders seem to have a tendency to focus on inner sensations they are high in private self-consciousness. In addition, they tend to perceive normal bodily sensations as being more intense and disturbing than do most people.

Finally, they have a high level of negative affectivity they tend to be pessimistic, fear uncertainty, experience guilt, and have low self-esteem. Together, these traits create a predisposition or vulnerability to stressors (e.g., intense conflict with others, severe trauma) operating together, in a diathesis-stress model, these factors then contribute to the emergence of somatoform disorders.

In addition, of course, persons who develop such disorders learn that their symptoms often yield increased attention and better treatment from family members. These persons are reluctant to give the patient a hard time, because he or she is already suffering so much! In short, these patients gain important forms of reinforce­ment from their disorder.

5. Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders:

Freud believed that many psychological disorders can be traced to disturbances in psychosexual development. While Freud’s theory is not widely accepted by psychologists today, there is little doubt that individuals experience many problems relating to sexuality and gender identity.

Several of these are discussed below:

I. Sexual Dysfunctions: Disturbances in Desire and Arousal:

Sexual dysfunctions include disturbances in sexual desire and/or sexual arousal, disturbances in the ability to attain orgasms, and disorders involving pain during sexual relations.

Sexual desire disorders involve a lack of interest in sex or active aversion to sexual activity. Persons experiencing these disorders report that they rarely have the sexual fantasies most persons generate, that they avoid all or almost all sexual activity, and that these reactions cause them considerable distress.

In contrast, sexual arousal disorders involve the inability to attain or maintain an erection (males) or the absence of vaginal swelling and lubrication (females). Orgasm disorders include the delay or absence of orgasms in both sexes as well as premature ejaculation (reaching orgasm too quickly) in males. Needless to say, these problems cause considerable distress to the persons who experience them.

Ii. Paraphilias: Disturbances in Sexual Object or Behavior:

What is sexually arousing? For most people, the answer involves the sight or touch of another human being. But many people find other stimuli arousing, too. The large volume of business done by Victoria’s Secret and other com­panies specializing in alluring lingerie for women stems, at least in part, from the fact that many men find such garments mildly sexually arousing.

Other persons find that inflicting or receiving some slight pain during lovemaking increases their arousal and sexual pleasure. Do such reactions constitute sexual disorders? According to most psychologists, and the DSM-IV, they do not. Only when unusual or bizarre imagery or acts are necessary for sexual arousal (that is, when arousal cannot occur without them) do such prefer­ences qualify as a disorder. Such disorders are termed paraphilias, and they take many different forms.

In fetishes, individuals become aroused exclusively by inanimate objects. Often these are articles of clothing in more unusual cases they can involve animals, dead bodies, or even human waste. Frotteurism, another paraphilia, involves fantasies and urges focused on touching or rubbing against a non-consenting person. The touching, not the coercive nature of the act, is what persons with this disorder find sexually arousing.

The most disturbing paraphilia of all is pedophilia, in which individuals experi­ence sexual urges and fantasies involving children, generally ones young­er than thirteen. When such urges are translated into overt actions, the effects on the young victims can be devastating. Two other paraphilias are sexual sadism and sexual masochism. In the former, individuals become sexually aroused only by inflicting pain or humiliation on others. In the latter, they are aroused by receiving such treatment. See Table 14.2 for a description of these and other paraphilias.

Iii. Gender Identity Disorders:

Have you ever read about a man who altered his gender to become a woman or vice versa? Such individuals feel, often from an early age, that they were born with the wrong sexual identity.

They identify strongly with the other sex and show preferences for cross-dressing (wearing clothing associated with the other gender). They are displeased with their own bodies and request again, often from an early age—that they receive medical treatment to alter their primary and secondary sex characteristics.

In the past, there was little that medicine could do satisfy these desires on the part of persons suffering from gender identity disorder. Advances in surgical techniques, however, have now made it possible for such persons to undergo sex-change operations, in which their sexual organs are actually altered to approximate those of the other gender. Several thousand individuals have undergone such operations, and existing evidence indicates that most report being satisfied with the results and happier than they were before.

However, it is difficult to evaluate such self-reports. Perhaps after waiting years for surgery and spending large amounts of money for their sex-change operations, such persons have little choice but to report positive effects. Clearly, such surgery is a drastic step and should be performed only when the would-be patient fully understands all potential risks.


Voyeuristic Disorder Symptoms

The most common symptoms of voyeuristic disorder include:

  • Persistent and intense sexual arousal from observing people perform sexual activities
  • Becoming distressed or unable to function as a result of voyeurism urges and fantasies
  • Engaging in voyeurism with a person who doesn’t give their consent

Some people with this condition might also perform sexual acts on themselves while observing others engaging in sexual activities.

This condition often occurs alongside other conditions like depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. In some cases, people with this condition could even develop another paraphilic disorder like exhibitionist disorder.


Pica (disorder)

Pica ( / ˈ p aɪ k ə / PIE -kuh) [1] is a psychological disorder characterized by an appetite for substances that are largely non-nutritive. [2] The substance may be biological such as hair (trichophagia) or feces (coprophagia), natural such as ice (pagophagia) or dirt (geophagia), and otherwise chemical or manmade (as listed below). The term originates from the Latin word pica ("magpie"), from the concept that magpies will eat almost anything. [3]

According to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) criteria, for these actions to be considered pica, they must persist for more than one month at an age when eating such objects is considered developmentally inappropriate, not part of culturally sanctioned practice, and sufficiently severe to warrant clinical attention. Pica may lead to intoxication in children, which can result in an impairment of both physical and mental development. [4] In addition, it may cause surgical emergencies to address intestinal obstructions, as well as more subtle symptoms such as nutritional deficiencies and parasitosis. [4] Pica has been linked to other mental and emotional disorders. Stressors such as emotional trauma, maternal deprivation, family issues, parental neglect, pregnancy, and a disorganized family structure [ failed verification ] are strongly linked to pica as a form of comfort. [5]

Pica is most commonly seen in pregnant women, [6] small children, and people who may have developmental disabilities such as autism. [7] Children eating painted plaster containing lead may suffer brain damage from lead poisoning. A similar risk exists from eating soil near roads that existed before the phase-out of tetraethyllead or that were sprayed with oil (to settle dust) contaminated by toxic PCBs or dioxin. In addition to poisoning, a much greater risk exists of gastrointestinal obstruction or tearing in the stomach. Another risk of eating soil is the ingestion of animal feces and accompanying parasites. Pica can also be found in animals such as dogs [8] and cats. [9]


Contents

The word derives from the Greek words pará ( παρά , "beside, alongside, instead [of]") and the noun eídōlon ( εἴδωλον , "image, form, shape"). [5]

The German word Pareidolie was used in articles by Karl Ludwig Kahlbaum — for example in his 1866 paper "Die Sinnesdelierien" ("On Delusion of the Senses"). When Kahlbaum's paper was reviewed the following year (1867) in The Journal of Mental Science, Volume 13, Pareidolie was translated into English as "pareidolia", and noted to be synonymous with the terms "…changing hallucination, partial hallucination, [and] perception of secondary images." [6]

Pareidolia can cause people to interpret random images, or patterns of light and shadow, as faces. [7] A 2009 magnetoencephalography study found that objects perceived as faces evoke an early (165 ms ) activation of the fusiform face area at a time and location similar to that evoked by faces, whereas other common objects do not evoke such activation. This activation is similar to a slightly faster time (130 ms) that is seen for images of real faces. The authors suggest that face perception evoked by face-like objects is a relatively early process, and not a late cognitive reinterpretation phenomenon. [8] A functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study in 2011 similarly showed that repeated presentation of novel visual shapes that were interpreted as meaningful led to decreased fMRI responses for real objects. These results indicate that the interpretation of ambiguous stimuli depends upon processes similar to those elicited by known objects. [9]

These studies help to explain why people generally identify a few lines and a circle as a "face" so quickly and without hesitation. (In autistic people, it was thought that fewer mirror neurons or mirror neurons not functioning properly may mean that everything is perceived as if it were an object. [10] It does not now seem to be mirror neurons [11] but clearly there are differences in perception in autistic people. People without an autism spectrum condition perceive the face quickly and without hesitation.) Cognitive processes are activated by the "face-like" object which alerts the observer to both the emotional state and identity of the subject, even before the conscious mind begins to process or even receive the information. A "stick figure face", despite its simplicity, can convey mood information, and be drawn to indicate emotions such as happiness or anger. This robust and subtle capability is hypothesized to be the result of eons of natural selection favoring people most able to quickly identify the mental state, for example, of threatening people, thus providing the individual an opportunity to flee or attack pre-emptively. [12] This ability, though highly specialized for the processing and recognition of human emotions, also functions to determine the demeanor of wildlife. [13]

A mimetolithic pattern is a pattern created by rocks that may come to mimic recognizable forms through the random processes of formation, weathering and erosion. A well-known example is the Face on Mars, a rock formation on Mars that resembled a human face in certain satellite photos. Most mimetoliths are much larger than the subjects they resemble, such as a cliff profile which looks like a human face.

Picture jaspers exhibit combinations of patterns such as banding from flow or depositional patterns (from water or wind), or dendritic or color variations, resulting in what appear to be miniature scenes on a cut section, which is then used for jewelry.

Chert nodules, concretions, or pebbles may in certain cases be mistakenly identified as skeletal remains, egg fossils, or other antiquities of organic origin by amateur enthusiasts.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Japanese researcher Chonosuke Okamura self-published a series of reports titled Original Report of the Okamura Fossil Laboratory, in which he described tiny inclusions in polished limestone from the Silurian period (425 mya) as being preserved fossil remains of tiny humans, gorillas, dogs, dragons, dinosaurs and other organisms, all of them only millimeters long, leading him to claim, "There have been no changes in the bodies of mankind since the Silurian period. except for a growth in stature from 3.5 mm to 1,700 mm." [14] [15] Okamura's research earned him an Ig Nobel Prize (a parody of the Nobel Prizes) in biodiversity in 1996. [16] [17]

Some sources describe various mimetolithic features on Pluto, including a heart-shaped region. [18] [19] [20]

The Rorschach inkblot test uses pareidolia in an attempt to gain insight into a person's mental state. The Rorschach is a projective test that elicits thoughts or feelings of respondents that are "projected" onto the ambiguous inkblot images. [21]

Renaissance artists and authors have shown a particular interest in pareidolia. In William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, for example, the character Hamlet points at the sky and "demonstrates" his supposed madness in this exchange with Polonius:

HAMLET
Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in the shape of a camel?
POLONIUS
By th’Mass and ’tis, like a camel indeed.
HAMLET
Methinks it is a weasel.
POLONIUS
It is backed like a weasel.
HAMLET
Or a whale.
POLONIUS
Very like a whale. [22] [23]

Graphic artists have often used pareidolia in paintings and drawings: Andrea Mantegna, Leonardo Da Vinci, Giotto, Hans Holbein, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, and many more have shown images—often human faces—that due to pareidolia appear in objects or clouds. [24]

In his notebooks, Leonardo da Vinci wrote of pareidolia as a device for painters, writing:

If you look at any walls spotted with various stains or with a mixture of different kinds of stones, if you are about to invent some scene you will be able to see in it a resemblance to various different landscapes adorned with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, plains, wide valleys, and various groups of hills. You will also be able to see divers combats and figures in quick movement, and strange expressions of faces, and outlandish costumes, and an infinite number of things which you can then reduce into separate and well conceived forms. [25]

Two 13th-century edifices in Turkey display architectural use of shadows of stone carvings at the entrance. Outright pictures are avoided in Islam but tessellations and calligraphic pictures were allowed, so designed "accidental" silhouettes of carved stone tessellations became a creative escape.

    , Niğde, Turkey (1223) with its "mukarnas" art where the shadows of three-dimensional ornamentation with stone masonry around the entrance form a chiaroscuro drawing of a woman's face with a crown and long hair appearing at a specific time, at some specific days of the year. [26][27][28] in Sivas, Turkey (1229) shows shadows of the 3 dimensional ornaments of both entrances of the mosque part, to cast a giant shadow of a praying man that changes pose as the sun moves, as if to illustrate what the purpose of the building is. Another detail is the difference in the impressions of the clothing of the two shadow-men indicating two different styles, possibly to tell who is to enter through which door. [29]

There have been many instances of perceptions of religious imagery and themes, especially the faces of religious figures, in ordinary phenomena. Many involve images of Jesus, [21] the Virgin Mary, [30] the word Allah, [31] or other religious phenomena: in September 2007 in Singapore, for example, a callus on a tree resembled a monkey, leading believers to pay homage to the "Monkey god" (either Sun Wukong or Hanuman) in the monkey tree phenomenon. [32]

Publicity surrounding sightings of religious figures and other surprising images in ordinary objects has spawned a market for such items on online auctions like eBay. One famous instance was a grilled cheese sandwich with the face of the Virgin Mary. [33]

During the September 11 attacks, television viewers supposedly saw the face of Satan in clouds of smoke billowing out of the World Trade Center after it was struck by the airplane. [34] Another example of face recognition pareidolia originated in the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, when a few observers claimed to see Jesus in the flames. [35]

While attempting to validate that the imprint of a crucified man on the Shroud of Turin as Jesus Christ, a variety of objects have been described as being visible on the linen. These objects include a number of plant species native to Israel, a coin with roman numerals, and multiple insect species. [36] In an experimental setting using a picture of plain linen cloth, participants told that there could possibly be visible words in the cloth collectively saw 2 religious words, those told that the cloth was of some religious importance saw 12 religious words, and those who were also told that it was of religious importance, but also given suggestions of possible religious words, saw 37 religious words. [37] The researchers posit that the reason the Shroud has been said to have so many different symbols and objects is because it was already deemed to have the imprint of Jesus Christ prior to the search for symbols and other imprints in the cloth, and therefore it was simply pareidolia at work. [36]

Medical educators sometimes teach medical students and resident physicians (doctors in training) to use the pareidolia and patternicity to learn to recognize human anatomy on radiology imaging studies.

Examples include assessing radiographs (x-ray images) of the human vertebral spine. Patrick Foye, M.D., professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Rutgers University, New Jersey Medical School, has published that pareidolia is used to teach medical trainees to assess for spinal fractures and spinal malignancies (cancers). [38] When viewing spinal radiographs, normal bony anatomic structures resemble the face of an owl. (The spinal pedicles resemble an owl's eyes and the spinous process resembles an owl's beak.) But when cancer erodes the bony spinal pedicle, the radiographic appearance changes such that now that eye of the owl seems missing or closed, which is called the "winking owl sign".

In 2021, Foye again published in the medical literature on this topic, in a medical journal article called "Baby Yoda: Pareidolia and Patternicity in Sacral MRI and CT Scans". [39] Here, he introduced a novel way of visualizing the sacrum when viewing MRI magnetic resonance imaging and CT scans (computed tomography scans). He noted that in certain image slices the human sacral anatomy resembles the face of "Baby Yoda" (also called Grogu), a fictional character from the cable television show The Mandalorian. Sacral openings for exiting nerves (sacral foramina) resemble Baby Yoda's eyes, while the sacral canal resembles Baby Yoda's mouth. [40]

A notable example of pareidolia occurred in 1877, when observers using telescopes to view the surface of Mars thought that they saw faint straight lines, which were then interpreted by some as canals (see Martian canal). It was theorized that the canals were possibly created by sentient beings. This created a sensation. In the next few years better photographic techniques and stronger telescopes were developed and applied, which resulted in new images in which the faint lines disappeared, and the canal theory was debunked as an example of pareidolia. [41] [42]

Pareidolia can occur in computer vision, [43] specifically in image recognition programs, in which vague clues can spuriously detect images or features. In the case of an artificial neural network, higher-level features correspond to more recognizable features, and enhancing these features brings out what the computer sees. These examples of pareidolia reflect the training set of images that the network has "seen" previously.

Striking visuals can be produced in this way, notably in the DeepDream software, which falsely detects and then exaggerates features such as eyes and faces in any image.

In 1971 Konstantīns Raudive wrote Breakthrough, detailing what he believed was the discovery of electronic voice phenomena (EVP). EVP has been described as auditory pareidolia. [21] Allegations of backmasking in popular music, in which a listener claims a message has been recorded backward onto a track meant to be played forward, have also been described as auditory pareidolia. [21] [44] In 1995, the psychologist Diana Deutsch invented an algorithm for producing phantom words and phrases with the sounds coming from two stereo loudspeakers, with one to the listener's left and the other to his right. Each loudspeaker produces a phrase consisting of two words or syllables. The same sequence is presented repeatedly through both loudspeakers however, they are offset in time so that when the first sound (word or syllable) is coming from the speaker on the left, the second sound is coming from the speaker on the right, and vice versa. After listening for a while, phantom words and phrases suddenly emerge, and these often appear to reflect what is on the listener's mind, and they transform perceptually into different words and phrases as the sequence continues. [45] [46]

A shadow person (also known as a shadow figure, shadow being or black mass) is often attributed to pareidolia. It is the perception of a patch of shadow as a living, humanoid figure, particularly as interpreted by believers in the paranormal or supernatural as the presence of a spirit or other entity. [47]

Pareidolia is also what some skeptics believe causes people to believe that they have seen ghosts. [48]


Anthropomorphization is a totally normal social action

According to Epley, people who name objects and treat them as human are not delusional fools: The psychological mechanisms behind anthropomorphism are the same as those behind human-to-human social interaction.

“For centuries, our willingness to recognize minds in nonhumans has been seen as a kind of stupidity, a childlike tendency toward anthropomorphism and superstition that educated and clear-thinking adults have outgrown,” writes Epley. “I think this view is both mistaken and unfortunate. Recognizing the mind of another human being involves the same psychological processes as recognizing a mind in other animals, a god, or even a gadget. It is a reflection of our brain’s greatest ability rather than a sign of our stupidity.”

While studies have not yet explicitly proven the link between anthropomorphic tendencies and social intelligence, Epley believes the association is likely strong. The more often we engage with other human minds, and the more deeply and successfully we read other humans intentions, the more socially intelligent we become.


List of Mental Disorders | Psychology

Freud once stated that the child is the parent of the adult, and where mental disorders are concerned, he was correct: The problems people experience as adults are often visible much earlier in life.

Recognition of this basic fact is one reason behind the increasing importance of a developmental perspective on mental disorders the view that problems and difficulties experienced during childhood or adolescence can play an important role in the emergence of various disorders during adulthood.

The DSM-IV takes note of this fact, and lists many dis­orders that first emerge during childhood or adolescence. Many psychologists believe that childhood problems can be described in terms of two basic dimensions- Externalizing problems are disruptive behaviors that are often a nuisance to others, such as aggression, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention in contrast, internalizing problems are ones in which children show deficits in desired behaviors, such as difficulty in interacting with peers or problems with expressing their wishes and needs to others. Children show these dif­ficulties to varying degrees, so considering where a child falls along these dimensions can be very revealing. For purposes of this discussion, however, we’ll stick closely to the disorders described by the DSM-IV.

Srinath and Girimaji (1999) in their review of research on childhood psychiatric and emotional problems report that in India the prevalence ranges from 25 to 356/1000 in field studies. Bhola and Kapur (2003), however, note the range to be 5/1000 to 294/1000. Mental retardation, epilepsy, and enuresis are reported as highly prevalent disorders in community-based studies.

The 23 school-based studies listed during the period 1978-2002 identified enuresis, MR, conduct disorders, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as being the most prevalent.

In general, it has been realized that school-going children report higher psychological disturbances urban children report more problems compared to rural children boys report more problems than girls. Scholastic backwardness has been a major problem in the Indian region. It was thus concluded that scholastic and learning-related problems of children need to be examined simultaneously with mental health problems.

I. Disruptive Behavior:

Disruptive behaviors are the most common single reason why children are referred to psychologists for diagnosis and treatment. And in fact disruptive behaviors are quite common. As many as 10 percent of children may show such problems at some time or other. Disruptive behaviors are divided by the DSM- IV into two major categories- oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder.

Oppositional defiant disorder involves a pattern of behavior in which children have poor control of their emotions or have repeated conflicts with parents, teachers, and other adults.

What are the causes of these disruptive patterns of behavior? Biological factors appear to play a role. Boys show such problems much more often than girls, a pattern that suggests a role for sex hormones. Also, some findings suggest that children who develop CD have unusually low levels of general arousal and thus seem to crave the excitement that accompanies their disruptive behaviors. But psychological factors, too, play a role.

Children with conduct disorder often show insecure attachment to their parents and often live in negative environments that may involve poverty, large family size, and being placed in foster care. In addition, their parents often use co­ercive child-rearing practices, which may actually encourage disruptive behavior. Whatever the precise causes, it is clear that CD is a serious problem that can well pave the way to additional problems during adulthood.

Ii. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD):

When you were in school, you must have seen a classmate who couldn’t sit still and who interrupted the class repeatedly by getting up and wandering around? A teacher has to make extra effort get such children stay in his seat and pay attention to the lesson. Such children suffer from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Actually, three patterns of ADHD exist: one in which children simply can’t pay attention another in which they show hyperactivity or impulsivity they really can’t sit still and can’t restrain their impulses and a third pattern that combines the two. Unfortunately, ADHD is not a problem that fades with the passage of time: Seventy per­cent of children diagnosed with ADHD in elementary school still show signs of it when they are sixteen. Moreover, by this time it is often accompanied by conduct disorder.

The causes of ADHD appear, again, to be both biological and psychological. For instance, such factors as low birth weight, oxygen deprivation at birth, and alcohol consumption by expectant mothers have all been associated with ADHD. In addition, deficits in the reticular activating system and in the frontal lobes may be linked to ADHD. With respect to psychological factors, risk factors seem to include parental intrusiveness and overstimulation parents who just can’t seem to let their infants alone.

Fortunately, ADHD can be treated successfully with several drugs, all of which act as stimulants. Ritalin is the most frequently used, and it amplifies the impact of two neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. While taking this drug, children are better able to pay attention and often become calmer and more in control of their own behavior.

The effects of Ritalin and other medications last only four to five hours, however, so the drugs must be taken quite frequently. Also, Ritalin and other drugs produce potentially harmful side effects (e.g., decreased appetite, insomnia, headaches, increased blood pressure) they are definitely not an unmixed blessing.

For this reason, many psychologists recommend treating ADHD not just with drugs (a purely medical approach), but with behavioral manage­ment programs in which children are taught to listen to directions, to continue with tasks, to stay in their seat while in class, and other important skills.

Iii. Feeding and Eating Disorders:

Over the past few decades, that feeding and eating disorders disturbances in eating behavior that involve maladaptive and unhealthy efforts to control body weight are becoming increasingly common. The trend in recent decades has been for these disturbing disorders to start at earlier and earlier ages as young as age eight. Two eating disorders, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, have received most attention.

a. Anorexia Nervosa: Proof That You Can Be Too Slim:

Anorexia nervosa involves an intense and excessive fear of gaining weight coupled with refusal to maintain a normal body weight. In other words, peo­ple with this disorder relentlessly pursue the goal of being thin, no matter what this does to their health. They often have distorted perceptions of their own bodies, believing that they are much heavier than they really are. As a result of such fears and distorted perceptions, they starve themselves to the point where their weight drops to dangerously low levels.

Why do persons with this disorder have such an intense fear of becom­ing fat? Important clues are provided by the fact that anorexia nervosa is far more common among females than males. Research findings indicate that few men prefer the extremely thin figures that anorexics believe men admire rather, men find a fuller- figured, more rounded appearance much more attractive.

That intense social pressures do indeed play a role in anorexia nervosa is suggested by the findings of a recent study by Paxton and her colleagues (1999). These researchers found that among fifteen-year-old girls, the greater the pressure from their friends to be thin, the more likely the teens was to be unhappy with their current bodies and to be greatly restricting their food intake. Whatever its precise origins, anorexia nervosa poses a serious threat to the physical as well as the psychological health of the persons who experience it.

b. Bulimia: The Binge-Purge Cycle:

If you found anorexia nervosa disturbing, you may find a second eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, even more unsettling. In this disorder individuals engage in recurrent episodes of binge eating eating huge amounts of food within short periods of time followed by some kind of compensatory behavior designed to prevent weight gain. This can involve self-induced vomiting, the misuse of laxatives, fasting, or exercise so excessive that it is potentially harmful to the person’s health.

The causes of bulimia nervosa appear to be similar to those of anorexia nervosa: Once again, the “thin is beautiful” ideal seems to play an important role. Another, and related, factor is the desire to be perfect in all respects, including those relating to physical beauty. Research findings indicate that women who are high on this trait are at risk for developing bulimia, especially if they perceive themselves to be overweight.

And, in fact, bulimics like anorexics do tend to perceive themselves as much heavier than they really are. This fact is illustrated clearly by a study conducted by Williamson, Cubic, and Gleaves (1993).

These researchers noted that when current body size was held constant statistically, both bulimic and anorexic persons rated their current body size as larger than did control participants, and both rated their ideal as smaller than did controls. Both groups with eating disorders viewed themselves as farther from their ideal than did persons who did not suffer from an eating disorder.

Fortunately, it appears that the frequency of eating disorders tends to decrease with age, at least for women. Men, in contrast, may be more at risk for such problems as they get older: The percentage of men who diet increases somewhat with age, and dieting can sometimes lead to excessive efforts to reduce one’s weight.

Iv. Autism: A Pervasive Developmental Disorder:

Of all the childhood disorders, the ones that may be most disturbing of all are those described in the DSM-IV as pervasive developmental disorders. Such disorders involve lifelong impairment in mental or physical function­ing among these, the one that has received most attention is autistic disorder, or autism. This term is derived from the Greek word autos (self) and is an apt description for children with this disorder, for they seem to be preoccupied with themselves and to live in an almost totally private world.

Children with autism show three major characteristics: marked impairments in establishing social interactions with others (e.g., they don’t use nonverbal behaviors such as eye contact, don’t develop peer relationships, and don’t seem to be interested in other people) nonexistent or poor language skills and stereotyped, repetitive patterns of behavior.

Consider the following description of one such child:

“A mother is watching her three year old son play. For the last hour, he has been sitting on the floor staring at his right hand, which he holds over his head as he opens and closes his fingers. The child is looking at changes in the lighting that he makes by waving his fingers in front of the ceiling light. He has been doing this every day for months……. Before he was a year old, the mother had begun to notice all sorts of problems. He would never reach out for toys or babble like other babies. He wouldn’t even splash around in the water when she gave him a bath…….. Perhaps most upsetting of all, he didn’t use language and didn’t seem to notice other people. If another child walked over to him, he would shrink back and begin to cry. If his mother called his name, he would ignore her…. The only time he seemed to notice other people was when he got upset…”

Truly, children with autistic disorder seem to live in a world of their own. They make little contact with others, either through words or nonverbal gestures show little interest in others and, when they do notice them, often seem to treat them as objects rather than people. How truly sad.

Autistic disorder seems to have important biological and genetic causes. Twin studies, for instance, show a higher concordance rate for identical than for fraternal twins. Similarly, other studies suggest that the brains of children with autistic disorder have structural or functional abnormalities, such as frontal lobes that are less well developed than in normal children.

Psychological factors that play a role in autistic disorder include attentional deficits. Autistic children fail to attend to social stimuli such as their mother’s face and voice, or to others’ calling their names. Perhaps the most intriguing findings of all are that autistic children have deficits in their theory of mind, refers to children’s understanding of their own and others’ mental states.

Apparently, autistic children show serious deficits in this respect. They are unable to realize that other people can have access to different sources of information than themselves, and they are unable to predict the beliefs of others from information that should allow them to make such predictions.

Evidence that deficits with respect to theory of mind do play an important role in autism is provided by research conducted by Peterson and Siegal (1999). These psychologists reasoned that in order to develop an adequate theory of mind, children require social interactions with others in which they communicate about their own and others’ mental states. Because autistic children show marked deficits in the use of language and in interacting with others, they would be expected to experience deficits in their theory of mind.

Peterson and Siegal (1999) reasoned that this would also be true, to a degree, for deaf children living in homes where no one else knew the sign language they used to communicate. Such children would be deprived of opportunities to develop their theory of mind adequately. In contrast, deaf children living in homes where others knew sign language would have such opportunities and would not experience these deficits.

To test these predictions, Peterson and Siegal had autistic children and several groups of deaf children (ones who could use sign language at home and ones who could not) perform tasks that measure children’s theory of mind. In one task, for instance, children were shown a box that usually contained candy but in this case contained pencils. After discovering the unexpected contents, the children were asked what another child would expect to find in the box.

A correct reply was that this other child would expect candy, because she or he wouldn’t know, as the child did, that the box contained pencils. Results confirmed the prediction that both autistic children and deaf children who did not have an opportunity to converse with others about mental states would perform more poorly than would non-deaf children or deaf children who did have the opportunity to converse. These findings suggest that deficits with respect to theory of mind do indeed play a role in autistic disorder.

2. Mood Disorders:

Have you ever felt truly “down in the dumps” sad, blue, and dejected? How about “up in the clouds” happy, elated, excited? Probably you can easily bring such experiences to mind, for everyone has swings in mood or emotional state. For most of us, these swings are usually moderate in scope periods of deep despair and wild elation are rare.

Some persons, however, experience swings in their emotional states that are much more extreme and prolonged. Their highs are higher, their lows are lower, and they spend more time in these states than most people. Such persons are described as suffering from mood disorders. Among the most important of these are depressive disorders and bipolar disorders.

I. Depressive Disorders: Probing the Depths of Despair:

Unless we lead a truly charmed existence, our daily lives bring some events that make us feel sad or disappointed. A poor grade, breaking up with one’s romantic partner, failure to get a promotion these and many other events tip our emotional balance toward sadness. When do such reactions constitute depression? Most psychologists agree that several criteria are useful for reach­ing this decision.

First, persons suffering from depression experience truly profound unhappiness, and they experience it much of the time. Second, persons experiencing depression report that they have lost interest in all the usual pleasures of life (e.g., eating, sex, sports, hobbies). Third, persons suffering from depression often experience significant weight loss (when not dieting) or gain.

Depression may also involve fatigue, insomnia, feelings of worthlessness, a recurrent inability to think or concentrate, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide. An individual who experiences five or more of these symp­toms at once during the same two-week period is classified by the DSM-IV as undergoing a major depressive episode.

Depression is very common. In fact, it is experienced by 21.3 percent of women and 12.7 percent of men at some time during their lives. This nearly two-to-one gender difference in depression rates has been reported in many studies, especially in studies conducted in wealthy, developed countries so it appears to be a real one. Why does it exist? As noted by Strickland (1992), several factors account for this finding, including the fact that females have traditionally had lower status, power, and income than males must worry more than males about their personal safety and are the victims of sexual harassment and assaults much more often than males.

Gender differences in rates of depression may also stem, at least to a degree, from the fact that females are more willing to admit to such feelings than males, or from the fact that women are more likely than men to remem­ber such episodes.

Unfortunately, episodes of major depression are not isolated events most people who experience one such episode also experience others during their lives an average of five or six. And others expe­rience what is known as double depression they recover from major depression but continue to experience a depressed mood (dysthymic disorder) or, in some cases, unusual irritability.

Ii. Bipolar Disorders: Riding the Emotional Roller Coaster:

If depression is the emotional sinkhole of life, bipolar disorder is life’s emotional roller coaster. People suffer­ing from bipolar disorder experience wide swings in mood. They move, over varying periods of time, between deep depression and an emotional state known as mania, in which they are extremely excited, elated, and energetic.

During manic periods such persons speak rapidly, show a sharply decreased need for sleep, jump from one idea or activity to another, and show excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for harmful consequences.

For example, they may engage in wild buying sprees or make extremely risky invest­ments. Clearly, bipolar disorders are very disruptive not only to the individuals who experience them but to other people in their lives as well.

3. Anxiety Disorders:

At one time or another, we all experience anxiety a diffuse or vague concern that something unpleasant will soon occur. If such feelings become intense and persist for long periods of time, however, they can constitute another important form of mental disorder. Such anxiety disorders take several different forms, and we’ll consider the most important of these here.

I. Phobias: Excessive Fear of Specific Objects or Situations:

Most people express some fear of snakes, heights, violent storms, and buzzing insects such as bees or wasps. Because all of these can pose real threats to our safety, such reactions are adaptive, up to a point. But if such fears become excessive, in that they cause intense emotional distress and interfere signifi­cantly with everyday activities, they constitute phobias, one important type of anxiety disorder.

The effects of one type of phobia are vividly illustrated by the following case:

“At nine years old, Ritika’s fear of heights was so strong she was unable to attend schools with more than one story. She panicked when her class went on field trips where there were steps. She was both frightened and embarrassed in front of her classmates on their trip to a museum she was able to climb the stairs to the second floor, but then she had to lie down and slide on her stomach to get back down.”

While many different phobias exist, most seem to involve fear of animals (e.g., bees, spiders, snakes) the natural environment (e.g., thunder, dark­ness, wind) illness and injections (e.g., blood, needles, pain, contamination) and various specific situations (e.g., enclosed places, travel, empty rooms). The most common phobia of all is social phobia excessive fear of situations in which a person might be evaluated and perhaps embarrassed.

It is estimated that fully 13 percent of people living in the United States have had a social phobia at some time in their lives, and almost 8 percent report having experienced such fears during the past year. Social phobias appear to exist all around the world, but they take different forms in different cultures.

In collectivistic cultures such as Japan, social phobias seem to focus on individuals’ fear that they will do some­thing to offend other members of their social group (e.g., say something offensive, have a displeasing appear­ance, emit an offensive odor). In individualistic cultures such as those in Europe or North America, social phobias tend to focus on the fear of being evaluated negatively by others in public situations.

What are the causes of phobias? Through such learning, stimuli that do not initially elicit strong emotional reactions can often come to do so. For example, an individual may acquire an intense fear of buzzing sounds such as those made by bees after being stung by a bee or wasp. In the past, the buzzing sound was a neutral stimulus that produced little or no reaction.

The pain of being stung, however, is an unconditioned stimulus and as a result of being closely paired with the pain, the buzzing sound acquires the capacity to evoke strong fear. Genetic factors, too, may play a role. Some findings suggest that persons who develop phobias are prone to excessive physiological arousal in certain situations, perhaps because portions of their brain (e.g., the limbic system, the amygdala) are overactive. This intense arousal can serve as the basis for classical conditioning and other forms of learning, and so can result in phobias.

Ii. Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia:

The intense fears associated with phobias are triggered by specific objects or situations. Some individuals, in contrast, experience intense, terrifying anxi­ety that is not activated by a specific event or situation. Such panic attacks are the hallmark of panic disorder, a condition characterized by periodic, unexpected attacks of intense, terrifying anxiety. Panic attacks come on suddenly, reach peak intensity within a few minutes, and may last for hours.

They leave the persons who experience them feeling as if they are about to die or are losing their minds. Among the specific symptoms of panic attacks are a racing heart, sweating, dizziness, nausea, trembling, palpitations, pounding heart, feelings of unreality, fear of losing control, fear of dying, numbness or tingling sensations, and chills or hot flashes.

Although panic attacks often seem to occur out of the blue, in the absence of any specific triggering event, they often take place in specific situations. In such cases panic disorder is said to be associated with agoraphobia, or fear of situations in which the individual suspects that help will not be available if needed.

It often takes the form of intense fear of open spaces, fear of being in public, fear of traveling or, commonly, fear of having a panic attack while away from home! Persons suffering from panic disorder with agoraphobia often experience anticipatory anxiety they are terrified of becoming afraid.

What causes panic attacks? Existing evidence indicates that both biological factors and cognitive factors play a role. With respect to biological factors, it has been found that there is a genetic component in this disor­der. About 50 percent of people with panic disorder have relatives who have it too. In addition, PET scans of the brains of persons who suffer from panic attacks suggest that even in the non-panic state, their brains may be functioning differently from those of other persons.

A portion of the brain stem, the locus coeruleus (LC), may play a key role in panic experiences. This area seems to function as a primitive “alarm system,” and stimulating it artificially in animals results in panic like behavior. It seems possible that in persons who experience panic attacks, the LC may be hypersensitive to certain stimuli (e.g., lactic acid, a natural by-product of exercise) as a result, these persons may experience intense fear in situations in which others do not. No conclusive evidence on this possible mechanism yet exists, but it seems worthy of further study.

With respect to cognitive factors, persons suffering from panic disorder tend to show a pattern of interpret­ing bodily sensations as being more dangerous than they really are for instance, they perceive palpitations as a sign of a heart attack and so experience anxiety, which itself induces further bodily changes and sensations.

A diathesis-stress model proposed by Barlow (1988, 1993) suggests that panic disorder combines biological vulnerability with cognitive factors such as the tendency to perceive relatively harmless stressors as signs of mortal danger and the tendency to then remain vigilant and “on guard” against such imagined dangers.

Iii. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Behaviors and Thoughts outside One’s Control:

Have you ever left your home, gotten halfway down the street, and then returned to see if you really locked the door or turned off the stove? And have you ever worried about catching a disease by touching infected people or objects? Most of us have had these experiences, and they are completely normal. But some persons experience intense anxiety about such concerns.

These individuals have disturbing thoughts or images that they cannot get out of their minds (obsessions) unless they perform some action or ritual that some­how reassures them and helps to break the cycle (compulsions). Persons who have such experiences may be experiencing obsessive compulsive disorder, another important type of anxiety disorder.

Common compulsions actions people perform to neutralize their obsessions include repetitive hand washing, checking doors, windows, water, or gas repeatedly counting objects a precise number of times or repeating an action a specific number of times and hoarding old mail, newspapers, and other useless objects.

What is the cause of such reactions? We all have repetitious thoughts occasionally, for example, after watching a film containing disturbing scenes of violence, we may find ourselves thinking about these over and over again. Most of us soon manage to distract ourselves from such unpleasant thoughts. But individuals who develop obsessive-compulsive disorder are unable to do so.

They are made anxious by their obsessive thoughts, yet they can’t dismiss them readily from their minds. Moreover, they have had past experiences for instance, embarrassments that suggest to them that some thoughts are so dangerous they must be avoided at all costs. As a result, they become even more anxious, and the cycle builds. Only by performing specific actions can these individuals ensure their “safety” and reduce their anxiety.

Therefore, they engage in complex repetitive rituals that can gradually grow to fill most of their day. Because these rituals do help reduce anxiety, the tendency to perform them grows stronger. Unless such persons receive effective outside help, they have little chance of escaping from their self-constructed, anxiety-ridden prisons.

Some intriguing gender differences exist with respect to obsessive-compulsive disorder. Although the rate of this disorder is about equal for females and males, females are much more likely to be compulsive “washers” than males.

In contrast, there are no gender differences with respect to other compulsive behaviors such as checking items repeatedly or counting. These findings emphasize the fact that sociocultural factors often influence not only the incidence of mental disorders, but their specific form as well.

Iv. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

Imagine that you are sleeping peacefully in your own bed when suddenly the ground under your home heaves and shakes and you are thrown to the floor. Once awakened, you find yourself surrounded by the sounds of objects, walls, and even entire buildings crashing to the ground accompanied by shrieks of fear and pain from your neighbors or perhaps even your own family. This is precisely the kind of experience reported by many persons following earthquakes.

Such experiences are described as traumatic by psychologists because they are extraordinary in nature and extraordinarily disturbing. It is not surprising, then, that some persons exposed to them experience PTSD a disorder in which people persistently re-experience the traumatic event in their thoughts or dreams feel as if they are reliving the event from time to time persistently avoid stimuli associated with the traumatic event (places, people, thoughts) and persistently experience symptoms of increased arousal such as difficulty falling asleep, irritability, outbursts of anger, or difficulty in concentrating. PTSD can stem from a wide range of trau­matic events natural disasters, accidents, rape and other assaults, torture, or the horrors of wartime combat.

PTSD is classified as an anxiety disorder, characterized by aversive anxiety-related experiences, behav­iors, and physiological responses that develop after exposure to a psychologically traumatic event (sometimes months after). Its features persist for longer than 30 days, which distinguishes it from the briefer acute stress disorder. These persisting post-traumatic stress symptoms cause significant disruptions of one or more impor­tant areas of life function. It has three sub-forms: acute, chronic, and delayed-onset.

In India, the impact of the Orissa Super Cyclone on survivors’ locus of control (LOC), depression and stress were assessed through interviews and it was found that those who were closer to the epicenter of super cyclone experienced more anxiety, depression, and stress the magnitude of loss experienced by the survivors significantly increased external LOC than the unaffected.

Symptoms of PTSD fall into the following three main categories:

1. “Reliving” the event, which disturbs day-to-day activity, i.e., flashback episodes, where the event seems to be happening again and again, repeated upsetting memories of the event, repeated nightmares of the event and strong, uncomfortable reactions to situations reminiscent of the event.

2. Avoidance which includes emotional “numbing” or feeling as though you don’t care about anything, feel­ing detached, being unable to remember important aspects of the trauma, having lack of interest in normal activities, avoiding places, people, or thoughts reminding the event, and lacking hope of future.

3. Arousal which includes difficulty in concentration, becoming upset easily, having an exaggerated response to things, feeling more aware (hyper-vigilance), feeling irritable or having outbursts of anger, and having trouble in falling or staying asleep.

Not all persons exposed to traumatic events experience PTSD, so a key question is this- What factors lead to PTSD’s occurrence? Research on this question suggests that many factors play a role. The amount of social sup­port trauma victims receives after the traumatic event seems crucial. The more support, the less likely are such persons to develop PTSD.

Similarly, the coping strategies chosen by trauma victims are important. Effective strategies such as trying to see the good side of things (e.g., “I survived!”) help to prevent PTSD from developing, whereas ineffective strat­egies such as blaming oneself for the traumatic event (“I should have moved away from here!”) increase its likelihood.

Individual differences, too, play a role PTSD is more likely among persons who are passive, inner-directed, and highly sensitive to criticism and who exhibited social maladjustment before the trauma (e.g., legal difficulties, irresponsibility) than among persons who don’t show these traits. In sum, it appears that whether individuals experience posttraumatic stress disorder after exposure to a frightening event depends on several different factors.

4. Dissociative and Somatoform Disorders:

Traumatic events sometimes result in PTSD. This is not the only mental disorder that can result from such events, however. Two other major types of disorder seem to involve dramatic, unexpected, and involuntary reactions to traumatic experiences dissociative disorders and somatoform disorders. Dissociative disorders involve disruptions in a person’s memory, consciousness, or identity processes that are normal­ly integrated.

In contrast, somatoform disorders involve physical symptoms for which there is no apparent physical cause. Although these disorders are classified separately in the DSM-IV, I’ll cover them together here, because historically they have been viewed as stemming from similar causes and involving similar symptoms. As will soon be apparent, though, they are distinct in many ways.

I. Dissociative Disorders:

Have you ever awakened during the night and, just for a moment, been uncertain about where you were or even who you were? Such temporary disruptions in our normal cognitive functioning are far from rare many persons experience them from time to time as a result of fatigue, illness, or the use of alcohol or other drugs.

Dissociative disorders, however, go far beyond such experiences. They involve much more profound losses of identity or memory, intense feelings of unreality, a sense of being deper­sonalized (i.e., separate from oneself), and uncertainty about one’s own identity.

Dissociative disorders take several different forms. In dissociative amnesia, individuals suddenly experience a loss of memory that does not stem from medical conditions or other mental disorders. Such losses can be localized, involving only a specific period of time, or generalized, involv­ing memory for the person’s entire life.

In another dissociative disorder, dissociative fugue, an individual suddenly leaves home and travels to a new location where he or she has no memory of his or her previous life. In deper­sonalization disorder the individual retains memory but feels like an actor in a dream or movie.

As dramatic as these disorders are, they pale when compared with the most amazing and controversial dissociative disorder, dissociative identity disorder. This was known as multiple personality disorder in the past, and it involves a shattering of personal identity into at least two and often more separate but coexisting personalities, each possessing different traits, behaviors, memories, and emotions.

Usually, there is one host personality the primary identity that is present most of the time and one or more alters alternative personalities that appear from time to time. Switching, the process of changing from one personality to another, often seems to occur in response to anxiety brought on by thoughts or memories of previous traumatic experiences.

Many mental health professionals believe that this disorder does indeed exist, and it is included in the DSM-IV. Several kinds of evidence offer support for its reality. First, persons with dissociative identity disorder sometimes show distinctive patterns of brain activity when each of their supposedly separate personalities appears.

Similarly, alters sometimes differ in ways that are hard to fake. Some are right-handed and others left-handed some show allergic reactions to various substances and others do not and some alters may be color blind while others are not. Findings such as these suggest that this disorder may indeed be real in at least some cases. However, this evidence itself is somewhat controversial so at present the best approach is one of considerable caution.

This is in no way to suggest that the potentially harmful effects of early traumatic experiences should be ignored if these are severe, many psychologists believe, they may indeed lead to some kind of dissociation (splitting of identity or consciousness). But accepting exaggerated claims about dissociative identity disorder does seem unjustified.

Ii. Somatoform Disorders: Physical Symptoms without Physical Causes:

Several of Freud’s early cases, ones that played an important role in his developing theory of personality, involved the following puzzling situation. An individual would show some physical symptom (such as deafness or paralysis of some part of the body) yet careful examination would reveal no underlying physical causes for the problem. Such dis­orders are known as somatoform disorders – disorders in which indi­viduals have physical symptoms in the absence of identifiable physical causes for these symptoms.

One such disorder is somatization disorder, a condition in which an individual has a history of many physical complaints, beginning before age thirty, that occur over a period of years and result in treatment being sought for significant impairments in social, occupational, or other impor­tant areas of life.

The symptoms reported may include pain in various parts of the body (e.g., head, back, abdomen), gastrointestinal problems (e.g., nausea, vomiting, bloating), sexual symptoms (e.g., sexual indifference, excessive menstrual bleeding), and neurological symptoms not related to pain (e.g., impaired coordination or balance, paralysis, blindness).

Another somatoform disorder is hypochondriasis preoccupation with fear of disease. Hypochondriacs do not actually have the diseases they fear, but they persist in worrying about them, despite repeated reassur­ance by their doctors that they are healthy. Many hypochondriacs are not simply faking they feel the pain and discomfort they report and are truly afraid that they are sick or will soon become sick.

Other persons who seek medical help are faking. For instance, persons with Munchausen’s syndrome devote their lives to seeking and often obtaining costly and painful medical procedures they realize they don’t need. Why? Perhaps because they relish the attention or because they enjoy fooling physicians and other trained professionals. In any case, such persons waste precious medical resources and often run up huge bills that must be paid by insurance companies or government programs so Munchausen’s syndrome, no matter how strange, is definitely no laughing matter.

Yet another somatoform disorder is known as conversion disorder. Persons with this disorder actually experience physical problems such as motor deficits (poor balance or coordination, paralysis, or weakness of arms or legs) or sensory deficits (loss of sensitivity to touch or pain, double vision, blindness, deafness). While these disabilities are quite real to the persons involved, there is no medical condition present to account for them.

What are the causes of somatoform disorders? As is true with almost all mental disorders, several factors seem to play a role. Individuals who develop such disorders seem to have a tendency to focus on inner sensations they are high in private self-consciousness. In addition, they tend to perceive normal bodily sensations as being more intense and disturbing than do most people.

Finally, they have a high level of negative affectivity they tend to be pessimistic, fear uncertainty, experience guilt, and have low self-esteem. Together, these traits create a predisposition or vulnerability to stressors (e.g., intense conflict with others, severe trauma) operating together, in a diathesis-stress model, these factors then contribute to the emergence of somatoform disorders.

In addition, of course, persons who develop such disorders learn that their symptoms often yield increased attention and better treatment from family members. These persons are reluctant to give the patient a hard time, because he or she is already suffering so much! In short, these patients gain important forms of reinforce­ment from their disorder.

5. Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders:

Freud believed that many psychological disorders can be traced to disturbances in psychosexual development. While Freud’s theory is not widely accepted by psychologists today, there is little doubt that individuals experience many problems relating to sexuality and gender identity.

Several of these are discussed below:

I. Sexual Dysfunctions: Disturbances in Desire and Arousal:

Sexual dysfunctions include disturbances in sexual desire and/or sexual arousal, disturbances in the ability to attain orgasms, and disorders involving pain during sexual relations.

Sexual desire disorders involve a lack of interest in sex or active aversion to sexual activity. Persons experiencing these disorders report that they rarely have the sexual fantasies most persons generate, that they avoid all or almost all sexual activity, and that these reactions cause them considerable distress.

In contrast, sexual arousal disorders involve the inability to attain or maintain an erection (males) or the absence of vaginal swelling and lubrication (females). Orgasm disorders include the delay or absence of orgasms in both sexes as well as premature ejaculation (reaching orgasm too quickly) in males. Needless to say, these problems cause considerable distress to the persons who experience them.

Ii. Paraphilias: Disturbances in Sexual Object or Behavior:

What is sexually arousing? For most people, the answer involves the sight or touch of another human being. But many people find other stimuli arousing, too. The large volume of business done by Victoria’s Secret and other com­panies specializing in alluring lingerie for women stems, at least in part, from the fact that many men find such garments mildly sexually arousing.

Other persons find that inflicting or receiving some slight pain during lovemaking increases their arousal and sexual pleasure. Do such reactions constitute sexual disorders? According to most psychologists, and the DSM-IV, they do not. Only when unusual or bizarre imagery or acts are necessary for sexual arousal (that is, when arousal cannot occur without them) do such prefer­ences qualify as a disorder. Such disorders are termed paraphilias, and they take many different forms.

In fetishes, individuals become aroused exclusively by inanimate objects. Often these are articles of clothing in more unusual cases they can involve animals, dead bodies, or even human waste. Frotteurism, another paraphilia, involves fantasies and urges focused on touching or rubbing against a non-consenting person. The touching, not the coercive nature of the act, is what persons with this disorder find sexually arousing.

The most disturbing paraphilia of all is pedophilia, in which individuals experi­ence sexual urges and fantasies involving children, generally ones young­er than thirteen. When such urges are translated into overt actions, the effects on the young victims can be devastating. Two other paraphilias are sexual sadism and sexual masochism. In the former, individuals become sexually aroused only by inflicting pain or humiliation on others. In the latter, they are aroused by receiving such treatment. See Table 14.2 for a description of these and other paraphilias.

Iii. Gender Identity Disorders:

Have you ever read about a man who altered his gender to become a woman or vice versa? Such individuals feel, often from an early age, that they were born with the wrong sexual identity.

They identify strongly with the other sex and show preferences for cross-dressing (wearing clothing associated with the other gender). They are displeased with their own bodies and request again, often from an early age—that they receive medical treatment to alter their primary and secondary sex characteristics.

In the past, there was little that medicine could do satisfy these desires on the part of persons suffering from gender identity disorder. Advances in surgical techniques, however, have now made it possible for such persons to undergo sex-change operations, in which their sexual organs are actually altered to approximate those of the other gender. Several thousand individuals have undergone such operations, and existing evidence indicates that most report being satisfied with the results and happier than they were before.

However, it is difficult to evaluate such self-reports. Perhaps after waiting years for surgery and spending large amounts of money for their sex-change operations, such persons have little choice but to report positive effects. Clearly, such surgery is a drastic step and should be performed only when the would-be patient fully understands all potential risks.


"I used to think I was alone in this unusual habit. Then I went online."

As a child, I couldn’t play with any of my stuffed toys without playing with them all. I didn’t want them to feel left out.

Now they sit on the top shelf of my wardrobe – all together – but facing forward and not too squished together, to make sure they’re comfortable.

You see for me, even the most inanimate objects all have feelings.

Whether it’s a discarded soft toy, a pair of shoes I’ve never worn, the last lonely biscuit in a packet or even a single sheet of paper left in the printer, I feel empathy towards them.

Poor lonely cherry bakewell tart. Image: Supplied.

I used to think I was alone in this habit until a chance Facebook encounter.

In her article on Valentine&aposs Day, writer Sali Hughes spoke of her love for her husband "who understands why I can’t throw away a dead pen without a lid to keep it company in the bin."

In the comments, there were even more of us.

"I&aposve found another weirdo  I wonder if she throws a second bit of pasta down the sink to keep the first bit company if it slips out of the colander?!" wrote Helen.

Pfizer vs AZ: The Truth About "Vaccine Shopping"

What We Now Know About The Royal Oprah Interview

I am not alone! Image: Supplied.

"If there are any items left when replenishing things, i.e. a few sheets of paper in the printer but it needs more, I&aposll take them out, put the new paper in, and place the other sheets back on top, because I think they&aposve waited so long to be used, get so close to the top, it&aposs only fair they get their turn," added Matthew.

" I&aposve found my people. I crush dropped crisps so there&aposs lots of pieces to keep each other company! And i say sorry to items i change my mind about in the shop before i put them back!" said Rachel.

In further research I found plenty of forum topics and even a dedicated Reddit thread answering and discussing the question that had plagued me for years - Does anyone else feel sympathetic towards inanimate objects?

At least I don&apost do this. This week on Mamamia Out Loud, Jacqueline Lunn shared the strangest addiction she&aposd ever heard of with her two co-hosts. Post continues below. 

Even reading some of the stories had me feeling emotional.

However the reason WHY I feel this way wasn&apost quite so clear cut.

It&aposs a behaviour that many adults (and children) with autism report -򠿮ling sorry for thingsਊnd getting upset if ਊn object is seen to be left out, uncared for or simply discarded.

According to some sources, this could be linked to a number of things including personification (a form of Synaesthesia) where a personality or emotion is attributed to an object, OCD or as a result of excess of sensitivity or a projection of feelings that can&apost be given to a human being devoted to other things.

Other theories range from simply having an overactive imagination to an evolutionary result of times past when most people &aposowned&apos nothing so longed for things around them.

Another raises a point I hadn&apost even considered - that I am simply projecting my own emotions onto the things around me.

As one contributor on Quora put it, "I𠆝 be so sad to be the last one picked. I’m not feeling for the cupcake. I’m feeling for myself."

With no official "medical diagnosis" or term, for now I&aposll just comfort myself in that I&aposm not the only one feeling this way.


What causes different types of tic disorders?

Tics are irregular, uncontrollable, unwanted, and repetitive movements of muscles that can occur in any part of the body.

Movements of the limbs and other body parts are known as motor tics. Involuntary repetitive sounds, such as grunting, sniffing, or throat clearing, are called vocal tics.

Tic disorders usually start in childhood, first presenting at approximately 5 years of age. In general, they are more common among males compared with females.

Many cases of tics are temporary and resolve within a year. However, some people who experience tics develop a chronic disorder. Chronic tics affects about 1 out of 100.

Tic disorders can usually be classified as motor, vocal, or Tourette’s syndrome, which is a combination of both.

Motor and vocal tics can be short-lived (transient) or chronic. Tourette’s is considered to be a chronic tic disorder.

Transient tic disorder

Share on Pinterest Transient tic disorder occurs for less than 1 year, and are more commonly motor tics.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, transient tic disorder or provisional tic disorder affects up to 10 percent of children during their early school years.

Children with transient tic disorder will present with one or more tics for at least 1 month, but for less than 12 consecutive months. The onset of the tics must have been before the individual turned 18 years of age.

Motor tics are more commonly seen in cases of transient tic disorder than vocal tics. Tics may vary in type and severity over time.

Some research suggests that tics are more common among children with learning disabilities and are seen more in special education classrooms. Children within the autism spectrum are also more likely to have tics.

Chronic motor or vocal tic disorder

Tics that appear before the age of 18 and last for 1 year or more may be classified as a chronic tic disorder. These tics can be either motor or vocal, but not both.

Chronic tic disorder is less common than transient tic disorder, with less than 1 percent of children affected.

If the child is younger at the onset of a chronic motor or vocal tic disorder, they have a greater chance of recovery, with tics usually disappearing within 6 years. People who continue to experience symptoms beyond age 18 are less likely to see their symptoms resolved.

Tourette’s syndrome

Tourette’s syndrome (TS) is a complex neurological disorder. It is characterized by multiple tics – both motor and vocal. It is the most severe and least common tic disorder.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that the exact number of people with TS is unknown. CDC research suggests that half of all children with the condition are not diagnosed. Currently, 0.3 percent of children aged 6 to 17 in the United States have been diagnosed with TS.

Symptoms of TS vary in their severity over time. For many people, symptoms improve with age.

TS is often accompanied by other conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

The defining symptom of tic disorders is the presence of one or more tics. These tics can be classified as:

  • Motor tics: These include tics, such as head and shoulder movements, blinking, jerking, banging, clicking fingers, or touching things or other people. Motor tics tend to appear before vocal tics, although this is not always the case.
  • Vocal tics: These are sounds, such as coughing, throat clearing or grunting, or repeating words or phrases.

Tics can also be divided into the following categories:

  • Simple tics: These are sudden and fleeting tics using few muscle groups. Examples include nose twitching, eye darting, or throat clearing.
  • Complex tics: These involve coordinated movements using several muscle groups. Examples include hopping or stepping in a certain way, gesturing, or repeating words or phrases.

Tics are usually preceded by an uncomfortable urge, such as an itch or tingle. While it is possible to hold back from carrying out the tic, this requires a great deal of effort and often causes tension and stress. Relief from these sensations is experienced upon carrying out the tic.


What to know about borderline personality disorder (BPD)

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that affects mood, behavior, and self-image.

BPD is a type of personality disorder. A person with BPD experiences intense emotions, poor self-image, and impulsive behaviors. Another characteristic symptom of the condition is a lack of stability in personal relationships.

The term borderline originally came into use when clinicians thought of the person as being on the border between having neuroses and psychosis, as people with a diagnosis of BPD experience elements of both.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) suggest that around 1.4% of adults in the United States have BPD.

Historically, BPD has been difficult to treat. However, the NIMH say that new evidence-based treatments can reduce the symptoms and improve the person’s quality of life.

This article provides an overview of BPD, including its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.

BPD is a complex mental health condition characterized by difficulties with emotion and self-image, unstable personal relationships, and impulsive behaviors.

BPD is a cluster B personality disorder. This is a group of disorders that affect a person’s emotional functioning and lead to behaviors that others see as extreme or irrational.

Common challenges in BPD include:

  • instability in relationships with others
  • intense emotions, such as anger and low mood
  • sudden shifts in self-image (regarding values or career plans, for example)
  • impulsive and damaging behaviors, which can include substance misuse or impulsive spending
  • self-harm and, for some people, suicidal thoughts or actions

The way a person with BPD interacts with others is closely associated with their self-image and early social interactions.

Almost 75% of people with BPD are women. It may affect men equally, but men are more likely to receive a misdiagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder or depression.

In most cases, BPD begins in early adulthood. Clinicians will not usually diagnose it in children or adolescents, as their personality is still developing during these years. Symptoms that may look like those of BPD may resolve as children get older.

Clinicians use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) to diagnose mental health conditions, including BPD. Insurance companies also use the DSM-5 to reimburse for the treatment of this condition.

According to the DSM-5, the following signs and symptoms are characteristic of BPD:

  • frantic efforts to avoid being abandoned by friends or family
  • unstable and intense personal relationships that shift between extreme adoration and extreme dislike
  • a persistently unstable self-image or sense of self, such as sudden shifts in values, career path, types of friends, or sexuality
  • impulsive, damaging behaviors, such as substance misuse, sexual activity, unsafe driving, or binge eating
  • self-harming behaviors and, for some people, suicidal thoughts or actions
  • intense moods, such as extreme low mood, irritability, or anxiety that lasts for a few hours to a few days
  • chronic feelings of emptiness
  • extreme anger
  • difficulty controlling anger
  • severe feelings of dissociation, which means feeling disconnected
  • stress-related paranoid thoughts

The symptoms of BPD are present in a variety of different situations. They are not consistent with the individual’s developmental stage or place in society, and they are not solely due to the use of drugs or the presence of a medical condition.

The following sections will look at some of the significant symptoms of BPD in more detail.

Emotional symptoms

A main symptom of BPD is difficulty regulating emotions. The person may feel emotions intensely and for long periods, and they may find it more difficult to return to a baseline emotion after experiencing emotional stress.

The person may also have feelings of intense anger or difficulty controlling their anger. This is often followed by shame or guilt, which can impair the person’s self-image. This anger is often in response to a fear of neglect, uncaring, or abandonment.

Self-harm is another common symptom. People with BPD may use this as a means of regulating their emotions, punishing themselves, or expressing their inner pain.

Another symptom of BPD is recurring thoughts of suicide. Some people also engage in suicidal actions. The rates of self-harm and suicide are higher in people with BPD than in people without.

Receiving effective treatment can help people manage their emotions and reduce the frequency or severity of self-harm behaviors and suicidal thoughts.

Impulsive behaviors

Another characteristic symptom of BPD is engaging in impulsive behaviors, which may involve:

  • risky sexual activity
  • substance misuse
  • excessive spending
  • gambling
  • unsafe driving
  • binge eating

People may also feel bored often and have a persistent need to have something to do.

Relationship difficulties

People with BPD often have patterns of intense or unstable relationships. This may involve a shift from extreme adoration to extreme dislike, known as a shift from idealization to devaluation.

Relationships may be marked by attempts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. The perceived threat of being abandoned can have a significant impact on the person’s self-image, moods, thoughts, and behaviors.

For example, the person may feel panicked or angry over minor separations from people they feel close to.


What Are Symptoms of Emotional Attachment Disorder?

Symptoms Of Emotional Attachment Disorder

Everyone experiences times when expressing feelings or emotions is more difficult than others. Stress at home, school or work, relationship changes, illness, or fatigue may be the cause at times. However, when a person is incapable of feeling or is able to turn off emotions seemingly whenever they want, this could be an indication of the presence of emotional attachment disorder. For some people, it may be easier to recognize the symptoms of emotional detachment disorder in themselves before they can in another person. In other cases, it may be easier to identify behavior associated with the disorder in others, especially those you know well. Some common symptoms of emotional detachment disorder include the following.

  • An inability to express emotions
  • Emotional numbness
  • Treating others in a disrespectful manner and being oblivious of the behavior
  • Avoiding emotions when a situation warrants emotional expression
  • A lack of empathy toward the emotions of others
  • The inability to identify your own emotions

Emotional Detachment Disorder Can Affect Psychosocial Development

The inability to have healthy attachments can result in an altered sense of self-perception or an altered world view. People with emotional detachment disorder may feel that they are somehow &ldquobad,&rdquo unlovable, or that no one cares for them. Children with emotional detachment disorder typically view their caregivers as threatening, unresponsive and unreliable. They may seem to be in a constant state of anxiety as they are incapable of effectively responding to outside stressors or triggers and may be unable to recognize when they are safe. It&rsquos important to respond to children with emotional detachment disorder in a calm and empathetic manner instead of with strict disciplinary measures or anger, which can worsen their sense of anxiety or fear.

Many researchers believe that the inability to work through adverse childhood experiences has a later effect on an adult&rsquos ability to communicate with and respond to others effectively. Adults who did not learn to form healthy attachments in childhood often find it difficult to develop healthy relationships later in life. While the development of emotional detachment disorder in childhood may have an impact on adults, with the right help, it is possible for adults with the disorder to learn ways of processing their emotions and to form healthy emotional attachments.

Struggles Of People With Emotional Detachment Disorder

People with emotional detachment disorder may experience a wide range of struggles or difficulties. Emotionally detached people may think about interacting with others and may have a deep desire to express emotions to others but find themselves unable to connect with or express their feelings. If a person with emotional detachment disorder is married or in a relationship, it can have a significant impact on their relationship. If the problem is not addressed, it can result in the loss of relationships and difficulty developing new ones later on.

Often people who have emotional detachment disorder are mistakenly believed to lack empathy for others. While some personality disorders, such as narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder, do cause a lack of empathy or concern for others, emotional detachment disorder alone is not usually a cause for lack of empathy. Although the perception of total lack of empathy is understandable, it&rsquos important to acknowledge that people with emotional detachment disorder are capable of feeling. They are just unable to connect with and act upon those emotions with what is generally considered an appropriate response.

Inability To Respond To Circumstances Like Others Would

The media and other sources of news and information bombard every part of our lives. Everyone seems to have an opinion about how others should react or respond to things that happen in society. People with emotional detachment disorder may be aware of events and may have opinions about things that are happening. Even in the most horrific situations, however, they are likely to be unable to express or fully process those emotions.

People With Emotional Detachment Disorder Are Often The &ldquoGo-To&rdquo Person

In times of conflict, it is not uncommon for others to seek out people with emotional detachment disorder as a support person for their cause. Because people with EDD seem to have no opinion or strong reactions, they are often viewed as the perfect person to be a go-between or neutral party in a discussion or conflict. While some people may find this flattering, people with emotional detachment disorder usually find this intrusion into their personal space offensive or hurtful. It may even lead them to become more isolated or detached.

Emotional Detachment Disorder

Misdiagnosis

Because emotional detachment disorder has symptoms that are similar to mood disorders, it can be difficult to diagnose. Some people who have emotional detachment disorder may be diagnosed with and treated for major depression. While depression symptoms may also be present, it is possible that emotional detachment is a conscious choice made by an individual. When misdiagnosis occurs, it can lead to improper or inadequate treatment. For an accurate diagnosis, it is important to consult with a doctor who knows what emotional detachment disorder is and who is open to discussing your symptoms and concerns. The earlier emotional detachment disorder is identified and diagnosed, the better the chances of successful treatment and the development of healthy attachments.

Detached People Are Often Seen As Rude

People who do not understand emotional detachment disorder or who do not realize a person has the disorder may think that the person is rude or obnoxious. The lack of emotional responses may be seen as passive-aggressive behavior. To avoid being misunderstood, some people with emotional detachment disorder may distance themselves from others, which can lead to the worsening of symptoms.

Emotional Detachment May Negatively Impact Relationships

Emotional unavailability is the most common symptom of emotional detachment in relationships. The symptoms generally do not extend beyond the relationship. It is understandable that experiencing emotional detachment in a relationship can feel overwhelming.

For some people, the lack of emotional connection may lead to fear that the relationship cannot be salvaged. Although it will take work and commitment, emotional detachment disorder does not have to lead to the end of a relationship. Seeking the help of a professional to guide the people in the relationship and to help teach communication and coping mechanisms can be beneficial.

Some causes of emotional detachment in relationships may include:

An overabundance of stress is not healthy for anyone. When there is increased stress in a relationship, it can make one partner feel like they need to separate from the emotional turmoil to feel better. Although taking a break from a stressful situation is a great way to regroup and refocus, it is important to work together to address the source of stress and try to move forward rather than continually avoiding it.

Limited Time Together

Many healthy relationships require interaction with partners. If a couple begins to feel as though time together is limited, it can cause feelings of frustration or hurt. To cope with these feelings, one person in the relationship may choose to detach emotionally. It is important to take time to spend with one another and to foster a healthy and supportive relationship where thoughts and feelings can be discussed.

Issues With Body Image

As people age, changes in the physical body are inevitable. Men and women alike may feel less attractive or more self-conscious about their looks. Weight loss or gain can cause an altered self-image. When these changes occur, if an individual is not accustomed to dealing with emotional issues, it can be easy to detach from the relationship emotionally. Because altered self-perception can lead to other issues, it is important to acknowledge if this is happening and to seek help as soon as possible.

Problems With Sexual Intimacy

Sexual intimacy is an important part of many marriages and romantic relationships. If a person feels their ability to perform sexually is altered or lacking, it can take an emotional toll. Physical conditions, such as erectile dysfunction in men, may make it difficult to perform sexually. Additionally, as women age and experience menopause, sexual intercourse can become painful. Discussing feelings and concerns about sexual intimacy with a partner is a great way to build strength in a relationship. For some, medical intervention may be necessary to remedy physical problems. In other cases, emotional disturbances may be the cause of these issues and counseling may be helpful in resolving the issues.

Are They Hiding Something?

If one person in a relationship feels rejected, they may begin to question the other person&rsquos commitment to the relationship or whether they have other motives. These concerns may lead to attempts at self-protection by detaching from emotions, whether consciously or subconsciously.

In some cases, a person who becomes emotionally detached in a relationship may have a history of a past traumatic event or failed relationship. For them, the fear of being hurt again often outweighs their desire to be open with their partner. They may have post-traumatic stress disorder, and something they experienced may have triggered it. Speaking about their problems likely makes them anxious or uncomfortable.

Alternatively, they may have financial support difficulties, such as dishonest spending, or may be practicing detachment because of infidelity. If someone is emotionally detached, it may be that they are trying to cope with something they&rsquove done wrong and they may feel that not talking to their spouse or partner about it may &ldquomake the problem go away.&rdquo

Feeling Like A Failure

Feeling unable to reach a desired outcome or that one is unable to accomplish a certain goal or task can lead to feelings of disappointment and frustration. To help reduce the risk of increased feelings of negativity, some people may try to detach emotionally. If you are experiencing these feelings, you are not alone. You do not have to struggle alone or feel like there is no help. If you know someone who is exhibiting signs of emotional detachment and who may appear to have some issues with poor self-perception related to perceived failure, talk with them and encourage them.

Other Problems

Relationship detachment can be the result of issues that have nothing to with the relationship itself. Feeling stressed or anxious about work, family, or other life demands can cause some people to feel like they need to separate themselves from their emotions. While taking some time to unwind and think about what is going on is okay, completely detaching from emotions can lead to negative impacts on both personal and professional relationships. Therefore, if you or a loved one is experiencing feelings of emotional detachment that may be related to other stressors, talk to one another and reach out for help, if needed.

How To Fix Relationship Emotional Detachment

It can feel like a difficult decision trying to decide if a relationship is salvageable. This is especially true in the presence of emotional detachment disorder. Even the strongest people can experience relationship troubles. The most important thing to consider is that your personal mental health and well-being is crucial.

It can be helpful to find a counselor or therapist who works with personal and relationship issues whom you can discuss your thoughts, feelings, and hopes for the future with. Consider your personal goals and dreams and ask yourself what you are willing to do to accomplish them.

It is unlikely that any relationship that is experiencing difficulties will improve with only one person putting forth effort. Therefore, it is important to communicate with your spouse or partner as much as possible.