Thursday, November 19, 2015

25 Awful Afflictions - Fall 2015 Edition

Some of these you may be aware. However, some of these diseases might surprise you as new and awful afflictions with now you can be burdened. Sweet dreams!

1. Pica - This disorder can be identified as the appetite to consume non-food substances from which no nutritional value can be derived, such as dirt, toilet paper, glue, rubber, glass, wood, or any other substance that isn't intended or often safe or healthy for ingestion.  Most common among females and children of both sexes who come from an impoverished background, the DSM-IV denotes that to meet the conditions of being a Pica sufferer, symptoms of the disorder must persist for over one month for those who are at a suitable developmental stage in which are reasonably aware that it's not appropriate or safe to eat the substances they consume as a result of their disorder.

2. Cotard Syndrome - Also commonly referred to as Cotard Delusions or Walking Corpse Syndrome, this relatively uncommon psychiatric affliction results in delusions experienced by the sufferer that they are, in fact, totally or partially deceased.  More than half of Cotard Syndrome sufferers believe themselves to be immortal, interestingly enough, even though they believe they are dead or dying, which is of course, an interesting paradox.  Severity of symptoms range widely among victims of this delusional disorder, which is often co-morbidly occurs in those who are afflicted with Schizophrenia.

However, sufferers don't always hallucinate or experience psychotic episodes that are often suffered by those who have Schizophrenia.  The delusions alone are enough for diagnosis, provided they meet the Cotard Syndrome criteria set forth by the current DSM.  Often sufferers hold delusions that portions of their body are disappearing or even that they are rotting away.  Some victims cease eating, since the dead require no sustenance.  In the same fashion, sufferers often begin to withdraw socially from others and stop maintaining their personal health and hygiene as the condition progresses.  The cause of Cotard Syndrome is thought to originate in the portion of the brain that allows humans to distinguish and recognize facial features and apply appropriate emotions to these faces.

3. Exploding Head Syndrome - A rare sleep disorder, Exploding Head Syndrome hasn't been thoroughly researched.  However, the symptoms of sufferers tend to be the same, which include the sufferer's experience of loud cracking or banging noises, often such as a gunshot or an explosion, among other disturbingly loud and unbearable noises that appear to come internally from their head.  Although the syndrome is labeled in such a way that might make subjects who are misinformed believe that physical pain or trauma to the head may be associated with this sleep disorder, this is not the case.

Sufferers of Exploding Head Syndrome also tend to perceive blinding flashes of bright light that accompany the unbearable noises that are perceived as originating in their head.  This may be due to shortness of breath, but this symptom could be due to the elevated heart rate experienced by sufferers.  This symptom tends to take place just prior to becoming immersed in deep sleep or subsequent to experiencing a deep sleep state.

Exploding Head Syndrome episodes are inconsistent, as they can either escalate or diminish with time.  They can also stop for long periods or even forever without any apparent treatment.  However, sufferers still dread the episodes happening again and are quite afraid and distressed as a result of such events.  Those exceeding the the age of 50 are among the most likely to suffer from Exploding Head Syndrome, and females experience this parasomnia disorder more often than men do.  However, this disorder is not limited to adults, as those as young as preteens have been documented as suffering from this awful affliction.

Though Exploding head syndrome isn't life threatening nor does it present any physical danger, it's still awful.  The cause is thought to be brought on by extreme fatigue and stress for most sufferers, as this has been deduced from the limited research that has been conducted thus-far.  What these sufferers are actually experiencing isn't yet known.  However, deductions have been made with what is known that possible sources of the unpleasant sensations may be minor temporal lobe seizures or a rapid onset of middle ear shifts.

4. Fatal Familial Insomnia - This uncommon sleep disorder that is an inherited condition is nearly always handed down in the genes via a protein mutation.  However, it can occur in those who have no family history of the disorder in those who suffer from sporadic fatal insomnia.  This affliction has no apparent cure and tends to worsen over time, eventually leading to hallucinations, delirium, and even a state similar to dementia.  Sleeping pills and other known sedatives don't bring relief, either, typically in true sufferers of this disorder.

Victims of this disorder rarely live past 18 months of suffering from this type of insomnia, but this horrible affliction can last for as long as 3 years before the inevitable death of the sufferer.  Suffers of this disorder tend to be middle aged, but the disorder affects younger adults sometimes, too.  One trigger that tends to bring this sleep disorder on is giving birth.

Symptoms typically occur in a gradual manner, first manifesting in insomnia, of course, accompanied by paranoia, phobias, and panic attacks.  These symptoms worsen and begin to manifest along with hallucinations and a total inability to sleep at all.  Dementia is often the last stage of this disorder before death.  This disorder causes sufferers to waste away as they often don't eat.  Women suffering from this disorder have interrupted menstrual cycles and men are often rendered impotent.  Waking dreams often occur accompanied by restricted pupils, double vision, and memory loss.  Random muscle movements occur in jerking spasms, typically.

5. Encephalitis Lethargica - This disease is characterized by an elevated fever, double vision, a headache, delayed cognitive and mental responses, and a general feeling of being drained and lethargic.  This condition can often end in a coma.  Abnormal eye movements, a weak upper body, muscular pains, tremors, and changes in behavior and even psychosis can be suffered as a result of this disorder.  What causes this disease is unknown.  This disorder can bring on Parkinson's disease in the year or two following affliction with this disease.

6.  Brainerd Diarrhea - This type of diarrhea is classified as an unfortunate syndrome that is characterized by the sudden onset of "liquidy" diarrhea (soupy poop), which must occur three or more times per day for a month or more to be considered Brainerd Diarrhea.  It must also suddenly cure itself.  The mechanism of this condition is unknown and tends to sporadically occur as well as to occur as outbreaks at times.  Lucky Brainerd, Minnesota has a form of diarrhea named for it.  Way to go, Minnesota.  This town named it's Brainerd Diarrhea case after itself as the first recorded outbreak of the condition was realized in 1983.

Unlucky sufferers of this particularly nasty brand of the "shites" usually experience between 10-20 bouts of liquid-like poop, which comes on suddenly and is quite explosive.  Slight stomach cramps, gas, and tiredness accompany an upset stomach, are typical.  Atypical are puking and fever.  Weight loss is a super result of this awful affliction.  Unfortunately, Brainerd Diarrhea can last for a year or more with no treatment or relief in sight until the condition resolves itself spontaneously.  It can come and go, too.  It rarely lasts for more than three years.  Luckily this unfortunate condition doesn't appear to be contagious.

7. Porphyria -  This blood disorder comes in two varieties: acute, which tends to affect the overall nervous system, and cutaneous, which mostly causes skin issues.  However, sufferers can experience symptoms of the disease from both varieties.

Acute Porphyria appear spontaneously and can be deadly.  However, affliction doesn't typically present itself prior to relative sexual maturity and tend to cease after female sufferers enter menopause.  Symptoms of an attack typically last for a couple of weeks at a time.  Sufferers of Acute Porphyria can suffer from severe stomach pains accompanied with swelling in the belly and vomiting.  They often suffer from back, leg, and chest pain, as well as diarrhea and constipation.  Insomnia, high blood pressure, palpitations, anxiety, hallucinations, paranoia, and even seizures can take place during severe bouts of Porphyria.  Muscle pain, tingling, paralysis, or weakness can take place, but by far the most common symptom of Porphyria is red or dark colored urine (brown).  

Cutaneous Porphyria tend to manifest in light sensitivities, but typically don't manifest in the symptoms experienced in Acut Porphyria, aside from the dark colored urine.  This type of Porphyria can manifest at earlier ages.  Even babies can experience these symptoms when afflicted with Porphyria.

Symptoms tend to last for a few days, as opposed to the weeks of suffering with Acute Porphyria.  Symptoms include not only sensitivity to light, which severely burns, but painful and swollen red skin patches, slow healing blisters that can scar, itching, elevated hair growth.  Sufferers of Cutaneous Porphyria have very sensitive and fragile skin, clearly.  This form of Porphyria is typically inherited, but can be less commonly be triggered by environmental factors, too.

8. Leprosy (Hanson's Disease) - Leprosy is a disease that has been known since biblical times. This infectious disease causes skin sores, nerve damage, and muscle weakness that gets worse over time. Caused by a bacterium, Mycobacterium leprae, Leprosy is actually not highly contagious, contrary to popular belief.  It has a long incubation period and it's origin can be difficult to determine, as a direct result.  Leprosy comes in two common varieties, lepromatous and tuberculoid.  Both types cause the characteristic sores on the skin.  The lepromatous type is the most severe, as it manifests in huge nodules.

Leprosy is very treatable with antibiotics, antibacterials, and other medications.  Early treatment can reduce the risk of permanent disfigurement, along with permanent nerve damage of the limbs and muscle weakness and even sensory loss in the limbs.  Leprosy tends to occur most commonly in tropical, subtropical, and temperate, climates.  In fact, even as many as 100 cases, yearly, are recorded as being diagnosed in the United States.  Usually these cases are recorded in the American South, Southwest, Hawaii, and in the United States' islands.

9. Boanthropy & Lycanthropy - Boanthropy is a psychological disorder in which a human believes himself or herself to be a cow (bovine).  Lycanthropy is a bit cooler.  Lycanthropy is basically the same disorder as Boanthropy, except the sufferer believes he or she has the delusional belief that he or she can transform into or has been transformed from a human to an animal, more particularly a canine creature, such as a wolf, dog, or even a "werewolf", which is of course the supernatural transformation of a human from a person to a large hybrid of  human and wolf.  

10.  The Plague (Yersinia Pestis Bacterial Infection) - Surprise, surprise, cases of plague still turn up, worldwide.  Just because there is a cure, doesn't mean it's not relatively common in some locations of the world, where sanitation isn't great and where people live in close proximity with animals and eat under-cooked food that is contaminated with Yersinia Pestis.  Luckily in modern times, the infection is easily curable with tetracycline and other similar antibiotics commonly used in modern times.  The Plague is often referred to interchangeably as the Black Death and the Black Plague.

Unlike Leprosy, Plague is a highly infectious disease caused by the Yesinia Pestis bacterial infection.  Depending on the type of Plague affliction one is suffering, plague can be airborne and cause infection to the lungs.  The primary symptoms suffered with the individual Plague types are: bubonic plague in lymph nodes, septicemic plague in blood vessels, and pneumonic plague in the lungs.  The Plague is treatable in cases where it's discovered at an early stage.

The Oriental rat flea species (Xenopsylla cheopsis) is the main catalyst for infection of Yersinia Pestis in the majority of Plague epidemics in Africa, Asia, and in South America. Uninfected subjects can be exposed to the infection through contact with an infected individual's through coming into contact with their bodily fluids through coughing or sneezing (The infection agent can remain in the air for long periods of time and remain viable.), by touching an infected person or through sexual contact, through dirt or surfaces contaminated with the disease catalyst (including food or water).  The disease can also be passed by other animals to humans.