It's generally accepted that crazy is a universal phenomenon. No matter where you live in the world, you're still just a human with a human brain, and it makes sense that all brains malfunction in the same way. Sure, one guy hallucinates aliens while another sees demons, but it comes down to the same illness. But what's awesome (and terrifying) about the brain is all of the ways it defies explanation.
For instance, there is a long list of absolutely bizarre mental disorders that are extremely common in one place, and only one. Some of the weird-ass mental disorders that have popped up over time include ...
After World War I, Germany experienced a period of ridiculous inflation so rapid that, reportedly, the value of a cup of coffee could double during the time it took to drink it. This also meant that everyday goods could suddenly be priced at millions or billions of marks (with salaries changing just as fast), turning price tags into utter nonsense. As a result of the sudden confusion and anxiety that accompanied every purchase ("Is 50,000 marks a lot for a can of beans?" "Well, you can get a cup of coffee for 35,000 marks -- oh, wait, they changed it again ..."), Germany saw the rise of a brand new and unique mental disorder specific to that place and time: zero stroke.
Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-00193 / CC-BY-SA
This is a million-mark bill. Being used as notepaper.
Because the value of the German currency was plummeting at such an absurd rate, everyone had to attempt to learn advanced mathematics just to calculate the cost of a loaf of bread (which at the height of the troubles could have cost thousands of billions of marks). The effect was that people actually began to grow so dizzy from all the zeros they had to write down every day that it drove them slightly crazy. Imagine being unable to sleep at night because your brain is compulsively counting dozens of zeros and you can't stop.
Cashiers, bookkeepers, and bankers were most prone to this affliction. Besides a compulsion to write endless strings of zeros, individuals who suffered from this condition would reportedly become confused when referring to numbers and would state that they were 10 billion years old or had 40 trillion children.
"Hey, you 3 sextillion kids back away from my money bricks! Those are for repairing the roof."
That's right; some people will be driven clinically insane if forced to do too much math.
You wouldn't think it due to its struggles with overpopulation, but China has somewhat of a sexual repression problem. Cultural anxieties about sex were compounded when the communists took over with even more prudish rules about how men and women could interact with each other, and by the 1980s and '90s, thousands of people were flooding Chinese hospitals complaining of a condition called shenkui -- being so sexually frustrated that they could barely function.
"This is my O-face and my regretting-an-O-face!"
Traditionally, the Chinese believe that sexual intercourse is risky, because losing semen leads to a decrease in yang, a kind of life essence. Lose too much of it, and you might as well have lost a pint of blood. If you were ever concerned about how much you masturbated as a teenager, spare a thought for the Chinese, who may live in fear that the next wet dream could kill them. Anxiety over how much they're whacking it leads to shenkui, or semen-loss syndrome, which manifests as dizziness, back pain, fatigue, weakness, insomnia, frequent dreams, and sexual dysfunction.
Time to get rid of some yang.
Of course, you might think that this is just a silly superstition and it's all in their heads. But before you click away to the porn site that we know you have open in another tab right now, consider India. The Indians have another culturally specific syndrome that they call dhat, which is also brought on by anxiety about how much seed they're wasting into a box of tissues. The symptoms? You guessed it -- weakness, fatigue, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction.
So ... we guess what we're saying is that if you masturbate so often and so vigorously that it actually causes physical fatigue, dizziness, and back pain, please see somebody. Even if your country doesn't have a name for the disorder, it doesn't change the fact that your genitals are mere flesh and blood and have their limits. Hell, if you smack around any part of your body hard enough and long enough, you'll eventually pay the price.
It's pretty easy to guess where you'd have to be living to fall victim to Arctic hysteria. Known to the Eskimo people as pibloktoq, incidences of this particular madness occur predominantly during winter in the coldest places on Earth, and can sometimes reach epidemic proportions. Attacks of Arctic hysteria may last for only a few minutes, but in that time, sufferers are known to start screaming incomprehensibly, strip naked and run around on the ice, and attempt superhuman feats like walking on the ceiling. And sometimes, for some reason, they eat their own poop.
Hey, we've all been there ... right?
They'll often wake up later with no memory of the whole thing, presumably wondering why their breath smells so bad. It's such a common occurrence among Eskimos for members of their tribe to start acting like they're possessed by poop-loving devils that they just leave the victims to their own devices until they snap out of it.
"Just stay in the ice circle and eat your poo, Nanook."
Although the women of the tribe have been found to be most at risk, cases of Arctic hysteria have also been recorded among stranded European explorers. There are even reports of dogs coming down with it, although we don't know how they could tell, since being naked and eating poop is not exactly unusual for dogs.
"Help! These dogs are either sick or perfectly normal!"
Natives tend to believe that the condition is a result of witchcraft, but some researchers have suggested that Arctic hysteria may be linked to an overdose of vitamin A. The Eskimo diet contains a large amount of vitamin A, and apparently the symptoms of overdoing it can be pretty similar to a case of pibloktoq. The poop eating is just a bonus.