The Truman Show Delusion
The popularity of reality shows have given rise to a new type of mental
illness, dubbed the "Truman Show" delusion, where patients think
that they’re being secretly filmed:
Nicholas Marzano believes he’s the subject of a secret reality
show, and everyone in his town of Hillside, Illinois is in on it. He’s
suing HBO in federal court for, in his words, "filming and broadcasting
a hidden camera reality show depicting the day-to-day activities of
plaintiff" without his consent. His suit, filed in April, alleges
that HBO has hidden cameras throughout his home, installed controlling
devices in his car, enlisted the help of local police, and recruited
actors to portray "attorneys, government and law enforcement officials,
physicians, employers, prospective employers, family, friends, neighbors,
and co-workers," all so that their show about his life can continue.
Marzano also says HBO is keeping him from getting a job or paying his
bills, so that he will be forced to remain on the show.
He appears to be a perfect example of what psychiatrist brothers
Joel and Ian Gold describe, in a paper
published this week in the journal Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, as "Truman
Show" delusion — sufferers believe they are "the ’star’
of a reality television show secretly broadcasting their daily life,
much like the main character in Peter Weir’s film The Truman Show."
Between the movie’s 1998 release and 2006, they saw five patients with
the delusion, and news reports from around the world since then have
turned up even more disturbing cases. With the increasing popularity
of YouTube and reality TV, the Golds think the disorder is on the rise.
"Truman Show" delusion may be the early 21st century’s paranoia
Anna North of Buzzfeed’s SHIFT blog has the story: Link