Psychiatrists interested in the intersection of mental illness, culture and society have named a new form of delusion after the 1998 Jim Carey movie The Truman Show.
Truman Show Delusion involves psychosis surrounding the internet, climate delusion and fear of the modern world.
For instance, you think your every move is being filmed for a reality television show starring you, and that everyone in your life is an actor. Or you think you are under surveillance by the government, or you refuse to drink water because you fear you will deplete the world’s water supply.
Psychiatrists in the United States and Britain describe a small but growing number of psychotic patients who describe their lives as mirroring that of Truman Burbank, the main character in the film, who leads a mundane existence in the suburbs until he becomes aware that he is being filmed for a documentary television show he cannot escape.
The question is, is Truman Show delusion, or Truman Syndrome, simply a modern example of classic paranoia fed by the current cultural landscape, or is there something about media like reality television and the Internet that can push people over the sanity line?
In other words, does reality TV and the internet kill?!?!?
“Most likely these people would be delusional anyway,” said Dr. Joel Gold, a psychiatrist at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York. “But the more radical view is that this pushes some people over the threshold; the environment tips them over the edge. And if culture can make people crazy, then we need to look at it.”