3. Mirror-touch synaesthesia: this disorder makes people feel what other people are feeling.
On an episodes of the NPR show, Invisibilia, a woman who wished to remain anonymous reported that when she sees people being hugged, she feels like she’s getting a hug herself. When she sees someone get hurt, she feels pain in the same place as they do. And she can’t watch people eat, because she feels like they’re shoving food in her mouth.
Amanda suffers from a rare condition called mirror-touch synesthesia that makes her able to physically ‘feel’ what others around her are feeling. Although she was born this way, other people have acquired the ability after having a stroke, or a limb amputated (which can lead to sensations in a ‘phantom’ limb). The first case of this condition was reported in 2005, and there have only been a handful of other reports since then.
4. Capgras delusion: people with this condition think a loved one has been replaced by an imposter.
After giving birth, a 36-year-old woman developed the delusion that her son and other family members had been replaced by imposters. The delusion persisted for five years, and every treatment doctors tried failed. Finally, the woman was given electroconvulsive therapy (in which electrical shocks are passed through the brain to induce a seizure), and her psychiatric symptoms subsided.
The woman suffered from what is known as the Capgras delusion or Capgras syndrome, where you think loved ones have been substituted by imposters, robots or aliens. It usually occurs in patients with paranoid schizophrenia, but has also been seen in patients with a brain injury or dementia. It’s also more common in women than men (by a ratio of 3:2).