Truman Show Disorder

Montreal psychiatrists Joel and Ian Gold are studying the Truman Show Delusion, a mental illness they've identified where individuals are convinced that they are the stars of imaginary reality TV shows. By the way some people act on Flickr and YouTube, I'd say that this disorder, with varying severity, may be more common than we realize. From

While (Joel) Gold says they could have easily called their new disorder the EDtv Delusion or the Matrix Delusion — both films that refer to an unreal existence– three of the five patients he treated at the storied mental health hospital directly likened their plight to The Truman Show, the 1998 film about Truman Burbank, an affable suburbanite who slowly becomes aware that his every movement is broadcast 24/7 to voyeuristic viewers around the world.

The five patients Dr. Gold treated were white men between the ages of 25 and 34, the majority of whom held university degrees. "I realized that I was and am the centre, the focus of attention by millions and millions of people," explained one patient, an army veteran who came from an upper-middle-class upbringing.

"My family and everyone I knew were and are actors in a script, a charade whose entire purpose is to make me the focus of the world's attention…."

"The wish for fame is a form of grandiosity, and the fear of threats such as surveillance can bring about paranoia," said the Montreal-based (Ian) Gold, 46, who specializes in delusion.

"New media is opening up vast social spaces that might be interacting with psychological processes."

Truman Show Delusion (, thanks Lyn Jeffery!)