Artsy Syndromes


Human psyche is a very delicate and complex mechanism, indeed. Should something go wrong and the brain is capable of inspiring such thoughts and hallucinations, such discordant music and such light show… Well, you’ve got a point. If you had none of it in your head you might’ve seen it in movies.

Some of the brain disorders, syndromes and complexes, in addition to be disturbingly peculiar, have rather artsy names:

Van Gogh Syndrome

Vincent Van Gogh is known as the tortured genius who cut off his own ear,

Vincent Van Gogh is known as the tortured genius who cut off his own ear,

A fanciful term for self-mutilation, such as  amputation of an extremity,enucleation of an eye or auto-castration—which may be associated with dysmorphic delusions, disturbances of body image or psychosis.

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

 AIWS is a neurological condition that distorts perception, causing disorientation and a warping of the senses.

AIWS can be triggered by an abnormal amount of electricity in the body, causing a change in blood flow in the brain. Signals sent from the brain to the eyes are disturbed resulting in a variety of symptoms including: hallucinations, lost sense of time and an altered self-image where certain body parts appear disproportionate to the rest of the body.

Pathological nature of this complex is manifested in the fact that the discrepancy between the real and imaginary world can be split personality : despite its existence in the real world, a woman begins to pay more attention to an imaginary world.

Munchausen’s Syndrome


 The main symptom is feigning acute and dramatic illness for which no clinical evidence is ever found.

Stendhal Syndrome

The condition is named after the 19th century French author Stendhal, who wrote of feeling utterly overwhelmed by the Renaissance masterpieces he saw during a trip to Florence in 1817.stendhal

“As I emerged from the porch of Santa Croce, I was seized with a fierce palpitation of the heart; the wellspring of life was dried up within me, and I walked in constant fear of falling to the ground,” Stendhal, whose real name was Marie-Henrie Beyle, recorded in his book Naples and Florence: A Journey from Milan to Reggio.

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Scientists investigate Stendhal Syndrome – fainting caused by great art — trying to establish whether there really is such a phenomenon as ‘Stendhal Syndrome’ – the giddiness and confusion supposedly caused when one looks at great works of art.

Diogenes Syndrome

Diogenes of Sinope was a Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophy.

Diogenes of Sinope was a Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophyDiogenes’ name has been applied to a behavioural disorder characterized by involuntary self-neglect and hoarding The disorder has no relation to Diogenes’ deliberate rejection of material comfort.

It is also called Squalor Syndrome or Messy House Syndrome.

Painting by Marius van Dokkum

Painting by Marius van Dokkum

The typical signs of this disorder: filth, clutter, living in isolation, severe self-neglect, hoarding behaviors, excessive acquisition of objects,  inability to discard possessions, interpersonal relationships are mediated by objects, refusal of help.

Dorian Gray Syndromepicture-of-dorian-grey

Dorian Gray Syndrome (DGS) denotes a cultural and societal phenomenon characterized by an excessive preoccupation with the individual’s own appearance (dysmorphophobia).Behaviour

It is often  accompanied by difficulties coping with the aging process and with the requirements of maturation.

Marilyn Monroe Syndromemarilyn-monroe-240x400

 “I may not be a genius, however I’m not stupid, but nobody knows or even wants to know what I think. It’s gotten to the point where unless I have a particular role I’m supposed to play, I don’t look people in the eye anymore. I can’t stand to see what way they are trying to use me to fix something in them or just to show me off.” […] “You know you don’t really care about me, I know you don’t really care about me, and now you know that I know that you don’t really care about me.” (Marilyn Monroe)

Marilyn Syndrome manifests itself by an extremely low  self-esteem and lack of confidence in women of different age groups. It is found to be prevalent in really nice, genuine and often physically attractive females.


Xanthippe Complex

 the term "Xanthippe" has now come to mean any nagging scolding person, especially a shrewish wife.

The term “Xanthippe” has now come to mean any nagging scolding person, especially a shrewish wife.

Xanthippe  was a wife of the Greek philosopher Socrate.  The woman was infamous for her bad temper and vile ways.

Women with this complex suppress their sexual desires and other feelings and emotions, obsessing, instead, with  order, accuracy, cleanliness. Some of the symptoms of this disorder  are  the lack of sense of humor and puritanical attitude towards love relationships.

It usually occurs in  women who do not have sexual relationships, which results in total rejection of sexual sphere of life and sublimation of sexual desires on “moral principles.”

Jumping Frenchmen of Maine

jumping french on maine

Jumping Frenchmen of Maine is an extremely rare disorder. It manifestation is an unusually extreme startle reaction.

The startle reaction is a natural occurrence. It is the normal, rapid, involuntary response to a sudden or unexpected stimulus (e.g., a sudden noise or sight). The exact cause of jumping Frenchmen of Maine is unknown. One theory is that the disorder occurs because of an extreme conditioned response to a particular situation influenced by cultural factors.

Jumping Frenchmen of Maine was first identified during the late nineteenth century in Maine and the Canadian province of Quebec among an isolated population of lumberjacks of French Canadian descent. Jumping Frenchmen of Maine is one of a group of culturally specific similar disorders, the startle-matching syndromes, which have been described from various parts of the world. The relationship among these disorders is unknown.

Some researchers believe that jumping Frenchmen of Maine may be a somatic neurological disorder. A somatic disorder is caused by a gene mutation that occurs after fertilization and is not inherited from the parents or passed on to children. Cultural influences would mediate the severity and expression of such a disorder in individual cases.


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