Deranged Facts About Mental Disorders

June 26, 2020 | Jade B

Deranged Facts About Mental Disorders

Back in the day, people thought that "mental disorders" didn't exist. If someone seemed different from their peers, older civilizations and cultures often thought that the person was possessed by a demon or that they were being haunted for doing something horrible. Nowadays, we know better. The world of mental disorders is incredibly complex and interesting, as proven by these deranged facts.

Mental Disorders Facts

1. Just Playing

Thought about pretending to be insane to get out of something? It’s so crazy that it just might work—but not for the reasons you think. Pretending to have a mental disorder, is, in fact, a mental disorder.  When a person acts as if they have an illness by deliberately feigning or exaggerating symptoms it’s actually called a “factitious disorder.”

Mental Disorders facts Shutterstock

2. The Big Five

Five of the most major mental disorders are actually found to overlap, and may even share a common genetic root. The disorders? Autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, major depression, schizophrenia.

Mental Disorders factsShutterstock

3. The Upside

In 2012, the Journal of Psychiatric Research released a study that found that creative professionals are 8 percent more likely to be bipolar then the general population.

Mary Todd Lincoln factsShutterstock

4. Creative or Crazy?

Another study in Iceland suggested the link between mental illness and creativity was even stronger. Dr. Kári Stefánsson studied genetic data from 80,000 people looking for genetic variants that increase the risk of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia – and found that in the 1000 creative people they studied, the creative folks were 17% more likely to carry the variants for mental illnesses.

Mental Disorders facts Flickr, PopTech

5. Insult to Injury

Many people know that the famous composer Ludwig van Beethoven was deaf, but recent theories suggest that he may have been bipolar as well. His fits of mania were well known amongst his friends, and when on an upswing he could compose numerous works at a time. When he was in his down periods he made some of him most celebrated works.

Science factsFlickr, Royal Opera House Covent Garden

6. Strange Composition

Some historians now believe that Beethoven wasn't the only great musician with a mental disorder. Mozart likely suffered from Tourette’s syndrome, a mental illness that causes its sufferers to burst out uncontrollably with twitches and swearing. Evidence of Mozart’s outbursts can even be found in some of his writings, in which he makes unexpected references to “feces” and “buttocks.”

Coolest Lines in History factsWikipedia

7. All Work and No Play

According to other researchers, another kind of artist is particularly vulnerable to mental illness: Not musicians, but writers. They’re about 120 percent more likely to have bipolar disorder. Writers are also more likely to abuse substances like drugs or alcohol.

Mental Disorders facts Pixabay

 8. I’m the Fire Starter

Pyromaniacs are attracted to fire and may feel all sorts of emotions before setting a fire – like tense or aggressive. They don’t set the fires for a purpose, like for insurance money or to destroy property. Instead they just are drawn to the flame. They may even hang out at fire stations or become firefighters so they can make fire a full time job.

Mental Disorders facts Shutterstock

9. Twisted Fire Starter

Pyromaniacs tend to be both drinkers and men. The most infamous arsonist, Paul Keller, was an alcoholic who set more than 70 fires beginning when he was a child. He even tried to join the Fire Department. He is now serving a life sentence.

Helicopter Parents factsWallpaper flare

10. Or Something Else?

Some experts feel that the label pyromaniac is a myth, rather than distinct mental illness. They say that it romanticizes a particular group of mentally ill people who just happen to like to set fires.

Mental Disorders factsShutterstock

11. Coffee Makes Me Crazy

According to the DSM too much caffeine, alongside withdrawal from your daily cup of joe, is a classified as a mental disorder.

Worst Dates factsShutterstock

 12. Just Herbal Tea Please

Caffeine Intoxication occurs when one ingests over 250 milligrams of caffeine. Surprisingly, that's only about two cups of coffee. It can cause panic and anxiety disorders.

Mental Disorders factsShutterstock

13. Stop Picking!

To bite the inside of your cheeks or the skin around your nails is not just an annoying habit, but a mental illness called dermatophagia. It’s an impulse control disorder linked to obsession and anxiety.

I Still Cringe factsShutterstock

14. Hair Raising

Beginning at about age 12, or puberty, trichotillomania is the compulsion to pluck one’s hair out.

Mental Disorders factsShutterstock

15. Talk About a Hair Ball

In some extreme cases, trichotillomaniacs chew and swallow the hair the pull out, causing hairballs to accumulate in the intestinal tract. Curious? Visit the the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, D.C. That’s where you can see a huge hairball molded to the shape of a girl's stomach. It took six years to form.

Mental Disorders factsShutterstock

16. Demons!

Many cultures believe that demons possess people—but in the last ten years, researchers have discovered that there may be a rational basis for these supernatural beliefs. A form of autoimmune encephalitis has been discovered to mimic the symptoms of demonic possession. It largely affects young women and can come on with no warning whatsoever.

Mental Disorders factsShutterstock

17. You’re in My Blind Spot

Hemineglect is a neurological disorder that is the result of brain injury. Sufferers simply can’t notice or care for things on one side. They will only eat from one side of their plates, write on one side of a page, or even shave one side of their face.

Mental Disorders factsShutterstock

18. The Green Eyed Mental Illness

Othello syndrome is when someone suffers from delusional jealousy. Named for the Shakespeare play of the same name, the disorder gives someone a conviction that their partner is cheating on them. Sufferers can threaten, attack or even stalk the imagined lovers of their partners. In one case, a woman accused her husband of cheating on her—and fathering 10,000 children with his 70-year-old mistress.

They Can Never Get Over factsPixabay

19. It Takes Two

Folie a deux is a shared psychosis or delusion between two or more people who are known to each other. In these cases, one person tends to have a genuine mental illness, often schizophrenia, while their otherwise mentally fine friends and family take on their neuroses. It's like a two for one deal, but not the kind you want to get.

Mental Disorders factsShutterstock

20. All My Friends Are Dead

All psychological disorders are uncommon, but this one is particularly depressing. There is a strange syndrome where you believe that everyone you know is dead. The upside? You think you’re dead also. Called "Cotard’s Delusions," the people who suffer from this disorder tend to stop eating and claim that they are in heaven or hell.

Mental Disorders factsShutterstock

21. How Many In There?

Multiple personalities is a misnomer. People with Dissociative Identity Disorder actually have different self-states. Instead of discrete identities, these are only extreme versions of “different ways of being themselves.”

Mental Disorders factsShutterstock

22. The Mad Hatter

A common illness struck when hats were the fashion of the day: Mad Hatters Disease. Because hat making utilized mercury, hat makers suffered from paranoia, tremors and delusions. France banned the use of mercury in hat making in 1898. The practice continued in the US until 1941, despite 80% of hat makers showing signs of poisoning. The only reason it stopped? Because of World War II, the country needed the mercury for more important things than fashion accessories.

Mental Disorders factsWikimedia Commons

23. No Fear

There’s an entire group of people who have a brain disorder that makes them unable to feel fear. When the amygdala is damaged – such as from trauma or Urbach–Wiethe disease – people simply don’t get a fear response. While this itself is not a hazard, it does mean that people get into dangerous situations unable to feel with threat that may be posed to them.

Mental Disorders facts Shutterstock

24. No Morals?

According to MRIs and autopsies, the outer layer of the amygdala is much smaller and thinner in psychopaths than in the normal population. This means that, rather than being unable to feel fear, they are unable to recognize it in others.

Mental Disorders facts Shutterstock

25. Riding High

Apparently, this discovery about psychopathic amygdalas has far-reaching consequences. According to Joshua Buckholtz of the Vanderbilt University in Nashville, the thin amygdala also means that a psychopath produces more dopamine than the average person. And, not only does it produce more, it makes them overvalue it. Buckholtz believes that this is why psychopaths are obsessed with getting their own way.

Mental Disorders facts Shutterstock

26. Psycho Executive Officer

According to a list compiled by Oxford researcher Kevin Dutton in 2013, certain professions attract more psychopaths than other jobs. Groups of surgeons, police officers, and lawyers all have higher than average rates of “psychos.” But here's something to think about: The number one vocation chosen by psychopaths was “CEO.” Yikes.

Horrible Bosses FactsShutterstock

27. Don’t Love Those Odds

This confirms another study done in 2010. A researcher gave up-and-coming executives a questionnaire based on the psychopath checklist. A shocking 1 in 25 were full blown psychos. That’s more than four times the average population!

Mental Disorders factsShutterstock

28. Bad for Business

This is bad news for businesses—but not for the reason you’re thinking. It’s because psychopaths tend to be terrible leaders due to their lack of empathy. If that’s the case, how do they climb so high on the corporate ladder? It’s simple: They’re just that charming.

Aging FactsPxHere

29. There Out There

According to one study, three out of 11 personality disorders were less common in criminals than in CEOs. Makes you think!

Mental Disorders facts Shutterstock

30. Smell Ya Later

Psychopaths have reduced activity on the orbital corticies, which means they have trouble with impulse control and planning. But they also have difficulty detecting smells. According to one smell test, psychopaths had trouble identifying what they were smelling. It even turns out that the worse they were at identifying various aromas, the higher they scored on a standard psychopath test.

Mental Disorders facts Shutterstock

31. Say Ahhh!

Some people think that schizophrenia may be able to be diagnosed in a strange new way: By looking in a patient’s mouth. A wider palate on the roof of the mouth is associated with schizophrenia, which not only changes how it could be diagnosed, but also means that the illness could be a larger developmental disorder with mental and physical symptoms.

Mental Disorders facts Shutterstock

32. Try to Relax

Long-term stress is horrible. It causes a chronic release of cortisol which has terrible side effects. Not only can it impair brain function, it can also destroy brain cells. It can even make the brain smaller through cellular atrophy. Some researchers think that dementia and Alzheimers in the elderly may be a result of this self “poisoning” from atrophy.

Stress factsShutterstock

33. Tall Tales

Korsakoff’s syndrome is a disorder caused serious deficiency in thiamine, or vitamin B1. The deficiency causes confusion, slowness of speech, and forgetfulness. But most interestingly, as it progresses so does a peculiar symptom. People with Korsakoff’s will make up bizarre stories and lies for no reason. But these flights of fancy are not lies, the people actually believe the tall tales they’re telling.

Lacked Any Self-Awareness factsShutterstock

34. Small Heads

Autism also has a correlation to physical factors. Some studies indicate that children with autism tend to be born with slightly smaller heads. However, the heads and brains grow so quickly that for a while they are larger than average.  Later, it evens out so that autistic adults have a typical brain to body ratio.

Mental Disorders facts Shutterstock

35. N’yawn

You know how yawning is contagious? Well, it’s not for children with autism.  A Japanese study said that autistic children miss the facial cues that would trigger someone to start yawning after they see someone else yawn.

Mental Disorders facts Shutterstock

36. A Great Autist

According to recent theories, the classic artist Michelangelo may have been autistic.  He had a single-minded routine and difficulty forming relationships, with few friends. All of this plus his obvious genius in math and art means some think he may have been on the spectrum.

Michelangelo factsGetty Images

37. Cry For Help

Michelangelo isn’t the only artist potentially affected by a mental disorder. The Norwegian painter Edvard Much is another great artist with mental troubles. Not only that, his most famous painting was actually the result of a panic attack the artist suffered in Oslo in January 1982. The experience led him to make multiple copies of his famed work “The Scream.”

Mental Disorders facts Flickr, Richard Mortel

38. Painting a Sad Picture

The Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh was an eccentric and strange person, but the situation was far more complicated than just an odd personality. He almost certainly suffered from some form of mental illness, though to this day, no one is quite sure exactly what plagued him. From epilepsy and self-injury disorder to bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and anxiety, historians have lots of ideas about what might have caused Van Gogh's perplexing behavior.

Vincent Van Gogh FactsWikimedia Commons

39. A Serious Case

Nikola Tesla was one of the greatest inventors and scientists in history, and he remains admired by countless people all over the world to this day. Nevertheless, Tesla was known to have many quirks, including, ahem, the fact that he fell in love with a pigeon "as a man loves a woman" (his words!). Many people now believe that he suffered from a serious case of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Nikola Tesla FactsWikimedia Commons, Ivan Veličković

40. You Are What You Touch

Tesla’s OCD caused him to be extremely picky about touching or being around certain objects. For example, he hated jewelry, refused to touch hair, and despised anything that was round-shaped. He was also very concerned about germs and cleanliness, refusing to shake hands with others and often cleaning his kitchen utensils with up to 18 napkins before using them.

David Beckham FactsShutterstock

41. The Origin of the Book

In the 19th century, Charles Darwin famously changed our ideas about evolution. But as well known as his theories have become, many people are surprised to learn about the biologist's surprising struggles with mental illness. Darwin’s agoraphobia (anxiety and fear of putting oneself in situations where one would feel trapped, embarrassed, or helpless) led him to adopt a reclusive lifestyle upon his return home from his famous voyage, rarely leaving his house from the age of 30 onwards. His anxiety was so severe that he even avoided speaking to his own children.

Human Attraction quizGetty Images

42. The Black Dog

You’d be hard-pressed to think of a more accomplished world leader than Winston Churchill. But when he wasn’t protecting Britain from the horrors of fascism, he was struggling with what he himself referred to as “the black dog of depression.” It had plagued Churchill since at least his 30s.

Winston Churchill factsWikimedia Commons, Yousuf Karsh

43. Rendering unto Caesar the Things that Are Caesar’s

Although we know a lot more about the historical figures of recent centuries than we do about ones from the distant past, they were certainly not the first ones to suffer from mental health struggles. Even the famous ancient Roman emperor Julius Caesar is believed by many experts to have likely suffered from either epilepsy or a combination of small strokes and vertigo.

Method Acting FactsJulius Caesar,MGM

44. An Honest Look at Honest Abe

There is no president in American history more famous than Abraham Lincoln, the man who freed the slaves and saved the union. Nevertheless, many people are surprised to discover that Honest Abe wasn't immune from struggles. He suffered from clinical depression for the majority of his adult life.

Abe-amania: The Wrestling Career Of Abraham LincolnWikimedia Commons

45. Fifty/Fifty

According to the CDC 50% of adults will develop at least one form of mental illness in their lifetime.

Mental Disorders facts Shutterstock

46. Not Such a Vegetable

After an experiment with an MRI showed that one patient in a coma could communicate, doctors now think that it’s possible that one in five vegetative patients can communicate with their doctors. This breakthrough may change treatments and care, allowing them to discuss their prognosis and help entertain them even while they’re comatose.

Mental Disorders factsShutterstock

47. Have the Fish

Feeling bad? Have some fish. Low fish intake has been correlated with depression.

Mental Disorders factsShutterstock

48. A Stroke of Luck

“Sudden Artistic Output,” is a rare disorder that results in a creative drive caused by a brain injury. It’s only happened three times, once to a chiropractor who quit his job after a stroke to become a successful artist.

Mental Disorders facts Needpix

49. Quack Medicine

Trephination or trepanation was one of the earliest and most gruesome forms of mental health treatment. It was a fairly common practice whereby a small part of the skull was removed using an auger, bore, or saw. This process dates back at least as far as 7,000 years, and was done by cultures all over the world. Though we can't be sure why every single group practiced trepanning, it was frequently done to cure "madness" by releasing the evil spirits that were possessing the afflicted person.

Mental Disorders facts Shutterstock

50. The Most Terrifying Cure of All

Lobotomies were a widely accepted treatment for mental illnesses in the ‘40s and ‘50s.  It consisted of surgically cutting or removing the connections between the prefrontal cortex and frontal lobes of the brain. It was designed to disrupt the circuits of the brain and was completed in five minutes. The lobotomy treatment won António Egas Moniz the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1949 and was used until the mid-1950s, when the first psychiatric medicines were introduced and the severe side-effects of lobotomies became too blatant to ignore any longer.

Mental Disorders facts Wikimedia Commons

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 910

More from Factinate

Featured Article

My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.

Dark Family Secrets

Dark Family Secrets Exposed

Nothing stays hidden forever—and these dark family secrets are proof that when the truth comes out, it can range from devastating to utterly chilling.
April 8, 2020 Samantha Henman

Featured Article

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.

Madame de Pompadour Facts

Entrancing Facts About Madame de Pompadour, France's Most Powerful Mistress

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
December 7, 2018 Kyle Climans

More from Factinate

Featured Article

I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.

These People Got Genius Revenges

When someone really pushes our buttons, we'd like to think that we'd hold our head high and turn the other cheek, but revenge is so, so sweet.
April 22, 2020 Scott Mazza

Featured Article

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.

Catherine of Aragon Facts

Tragic Facts About Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s First Wife

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but very few people know her even darker history.
June 7, 2018 Christine Tran

Dear reader,

Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? We’re always looking for your input! Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. Please submit feedback to Thanks for your time!

Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Our credibility is the turbo-charged engine of our success. We want our readers to trust us. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. When we do, we depend on our loyal, helpful readers to point out how we can do better. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at Thanks for your help!

Warmest regards,

The Factinate team

Want to learn something new every day?

Join thousands of others and start your morning with our Fact Of The Day newsletter.

Thank you!

Error, please try again.