Saturday, June 5, 2010
Doctor, the werewolf in bed 4 wants to talk to you.
After careful assessment, I have concluded a certain patient is not the werewolf they claim to be. Clinical lycanthropy is a rare psychiatric problem, but a very cool one which I have yet to see (for those who assumed I was purely vampire obsessed, guess again). In a nutshell, it is a psychiatric disorder where the person's delusions have them convinced they are or can change into an animal. Lest you think this is limited to alpha creatures like wolves, there is a case report of a patient who thought they were a bumble bee (and the list of creatures just gets odder from there). While many in my profession rightly chalk this behavior up to the delusion, I take an extra minute to reflect. I have read enough medicine to know the rational explanation is usually correct, but enough history and mythology to know the world is a strange place. A part of me is on the lookout for the outlier, the patient who may be beyond the scope of medical science and in the realm of the paranormal. I will likely never encounter this. The brain is a fascinating and sometimes terrifying organ, creating chaos where none exists. I spend my days helping people heal a troubled mind knowing somewhere out there is a person haunted by demons which are not merely a distortion of the minds eye. Medicine and time does not heal all wounds.