Sometimes, people may imagine that they are on TV or are big stars. Now, that feeling is a full blown psychoanalysis. In the age of reality TV, some mental patients and people with disorders are convinced that their lives are just one big reality show. That may seem far fetched, but it is a symptom lifted right out of a Hollywood movie. Researchers in New York and London have discovered the “Truman Syndrome” in which some people believe their lives are being aired on worldwide TV, according to the AP. The Truman syndrome is named after a movie character whose life was indeed, all a reality show, Jim Carrey’s Truman Burbank in The Truman Show.
Ten years ago, The Truman Show was released and won raves for what seemed like a fantasy premise at the time. Carrey played a man whose entire life was broadcast for a reality TV show, as his home was a sound stage and everyone around him, including his wife and best friend, were actors.
Way back in 1998, the premise for such a reality show seemed outlandish, but now The Truman Show is a precursor for the insane, outlandish reality show craze that kicked off just a short time later.
The Truman Syndrome is reflective of that premonition. It was first researched by Dr. Joel Gold, a psychiatrist at Bellevue Hospital, and his brother Ian Gold, a psychologist.
The Golds encountered five mental patients over two years who believed they were reality show stars, much like in The Truman Show. The movie was even mentioned several times by the patients.
After the Golds presented their findings, the Truman Syndrome was discovered in many more people. In London, a man with the Truman Syndrome was profiled in the British Journal of Psychiatry in August.
The Truman Syndrome is not a pleasant delusion for many of the afflicted people, as their paranoia and stress has intensified. The perception that their privacy is being invaded has upset many of the Truman Syndrome patients, while a few others are happy to believe they are famous.
Now the obvious debate begins over pop culture’s role in the Truman Syndrome as it becomes a legitimate affliction. The Truman Show parodied the American culture’s almost disturbing need for reality programming, despite the costs to people like Truman.
But even that movie could not predict how much worse that desire would get over the next 10 years. This made The Truman Show ahead of it’s time, and the Truman Syndrome a byproduct of the reality show future The Truman Show accidentally predicted.
Ian Gold suggested that reality shows, though not directly responsible for the Truman Syndrome, may have accelerated the patients illnesses. Others researching the matter are not quite convinced of that.
The Golds are in the middle of writing a scholarly paper on the Truman Syndrome and their findings.
Associated Press- “To some psychiatric patients, life seems like TV” www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iBsavUp0cQvbcwBgQrVlom0SMYDwD94LLRBG0