The Truman Syndrome

The Truman Syndrome is a delusion that seems to be appearing with greater frequency. People are convinced that their lives are being secretly taped and played back in a reality TV show.

Researchers named the syndrome after the 1998 movie The Truman Show. Star Jim Carey discovers that every moment of his life has been broadcast as entertainment.


(Jim Carey in The Truman Show)

"The question is really: Is this just a new twist on an old paranoid or grandiose delusion ... or is there sort of a perfect storm of the culture we're in, in which fame holds such high value?" said Dr. Joel Gold, a psychiatrist affiliated with New York's Bellevue Hospital.

Within a two-year period, Gold said he encountered five patients with delusions related to reality TV. Several of them specifically mentioned "The Truman Show."

Gold and his brother, a psychologist, started presenting their observations at medical schools in 2006. After word spread beyond medical circles this summer, they learned of about 50 more people with similar symptoms. The brothers are now working on a scholarly paper.

From To some psychiatric patients, life seems like TV.

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