10 Rare Mental Disorders:
Their Symptoms and Treatment

Rare mental disorders affect an individual’s thoughts, mood, behavior, and overall mental health. Various factors, for instance, genetic predisposition, environmental factors, and life experiences can cause these conditions. However, some rare mental disorders still go undiagnosed.

In a 2019 World Health Organization (WHO) report, 970 million people suffer from mental disorders.. making mental health a leading cause of disability worldwide.

Among others, depression is the most common mental health disorder globally, affecting more than 264 million people.

Symptoms and Treatment of Rare Mental Disorders

1. Communication Disorders

One of the rare mental disorders is a communication disorder. These disorders affect a person’s capacity to use, comprehend, or recognize words. The DSM-5 distinguishes four types of communication disorders: Language impairment, speaking impediment, childhood fluency impairment, and social communication impairment.


Impaired Articulation:

Faltered speech or inability to form coherent words makes communication more difficult.

Fluency Dysfunction:

Conversing at an erratic pace or rhythmic pace.

Voice Disorder:

Speaking with an unnatural tone, volume, or length.


Speech Therapy:

Speech therapy helps kids learn new vocabulary, arrange their ideas, and fix written and verbal grammatical or spelling mistakes.

Behavior Therapy:

Behavior therapy for children, more importantly, encourages the development of positive interpersonal skills while reducing unwanted behavioral issues. Moreover, children are encouraged to use mnemonic techniques to help them recall information quickly. For example, the names of the five lakes—Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior- are associated with the mnemonic HOMES.

Environmental Therapy:

These children require extra attention. Hence, giving them time during oral discussions helps them formulate more eligible responses.

2. Dissociative Identity Disorder

Dissociative Identity Disorder was once known as multiple identity disorder. It is one of the rare mental disorders, among others.


Symptoms include:
Dissociative identity disorder severely affects the person alongside those close to them. That’s because it might be tough to explain to someone what’s happening. Moreover, a person may stay in one personality for months before transitioning into another.


Firstly, psychotherapy is typically the mainstay of treatment. People who receive therapy can better understand their conditions. Additionally, it can assist in identifying and integrating their split personalities.

Secondly, medication becomes an option. Many DID sufferers battle other mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, anxiety, or depression. Some antidepressants or antipsychotics may assist with the symptoms.

3. Depersonalization/DeRealization Disorders

DDD is one of the rare mental disorders that causes sufferers to experience an external sense of self. It may also involve the impression that nothing around them is real.


Typical signs include:
People with DDD are aware of their feelings, unlike those with psychotic disorders. The criteria for DDD meet by about 2% of individuals who have had a dissociative episode.


Treatments help lessen and even eliminate some symptoms. Furthermore, when individuals address their underlying stressors, their chances of recovery increase. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps overcome obsessive thinking. Techniques for grounding individuals help them associate with reality.

Moreover, traumatic memories and awareness can benefit from EMDR, also known as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.

4. Illness Anxiety Disorder

The hallmark of illness anxiety disorder is excessive worrying about having an unidentified medical disease. People who suffer from illness anxiety disorder worry excessively about being sick and are convinced they have or will develop severe disease. It is one of the rare mental disorders. It also results in behavioral issues like getting medical evaluations and treatments that could be dangerous to one’s health.


Symptoms include:


Cognitive behavioral therapy helps overcome health anxiety and orients the person towards daily routine tasks. Furthermore, oral antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors also help treat illness anxiety disorder.

5. Factitious Disorder

A person suffering from this disorder lies about being sick. They may also pose a child as ill. In mild cases, a person may exaggerate the symptoms. However, the person may inflict self-harm, mutilation, or tamper with medical records in severe cases. This disorder is the most painful mental illness.


Symptoms of factitious disorders include:


The factitious disorder results from past traumas, feelings of abandonment in childhood, or a weak sense of self-awareness. These disorders are rare mental disorders. Early diagnosis and treatment, however, are crucial in this disorder. This condition may pose a threat to the patient’s life. It is especially harmful if the patient is a child. Treatment includes counseling sessions that help change the patient’s thinking and behavioral patterns.

6. Rumination Disorder

Rumination disorder is diagnosed by regurgitating swallowed food. The intention of doing so is to take the food back in again or just throw up. Rumination is a common disorder in infants and children. 

However, it is one of the rare mental disorders and can affect older teens and adults, especially people suffering from anxiety or depression.


Symptoms of rumination disorder include:


There is no definite treatment for this condition. However, a behavioral psychologist may help in teaching diaphragmatic breathing. This technique helps in faster digestion of food. Rumination disorders are rare mental disorders.

7. Pica

Eating things that aren’t generally edible, for example, glue, soap, cement, clay, and cigarette ashes, is called pica syndrome. It can be the most painful mental illness as it causes severe lead poisoning.

While children are more likely to suffer from Pica, adults can also experience it. Sometimes, cravings associated with pica occur in pregnant women who are iron or zinc deficient.


Pica can cause health problems, including:


Pica is a rare mental disorder. Although many kids, who have pica, gradually outgrow it, some patients require medical attention. Examining the underlying problems affecting these cravings or compulsions is crucial in treating pica.

According to Healthline, multivitamin therapy helps treat Pica. In most cases, the doctor treats the patient symptomatically first.

8. Kleptomania

It is one of the rare mental disorders. People with this disorder have an extreme urge to steal things. They suffer an extensive anxiety episode before stealing the object and a feeling of happiness and contentment afterward. The objects they may crave to steal do not have any significance or monetary value.


Symptoms of kleptomania include:


Treatment for kleptomania involves psychotherapy and medications. Sometimes doctors recommend joining therapy groups. Other times, drugs like Naltrexone help lower the urge to steal in Kleptomania. Whereas SSRIs, which are antidepressants, are also effective. A patient might have to take a combination of medications to keep kleptomania under control.

9. Histrionic Personality Disorder

Having weak self-esteem is a symptom of histrionic personality disorder. People with this condition want to be the center of attention. They rely on other people for affirmation, self-worth, and acceptance. To gain attention, they frequently act irrationally or dramatically.


This condition is one of the rare mental disorders and is more common in women than in men. Typical signs include:


Histrionic disorders are rare mental disorders. Treatment involves group therapy, behavioral therapy, and supportive therapy. A doctor may prescribe oral medications if he sees signs of OCD as well.

10. Inhalant-Use Disorder

Inhalant-use disorder characterized by an addictive disorder. In this disorder, a person gets constant urges to smell volatile substances. The petrol or paint fumes can cause severe nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.

In extreme cases may lead to a fainting spell or even death. This condition is one of the rarest mental disorders.


Symptoms include:


Inhalant-use disorders are the rarest mental disorders. Medications aren’t required to treat this disorder. However, behavioral therapies and family therapies are the mainstays of the treatment. Activity and engagement programs also help in keeping the patient busy.

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