Understanding the mind can be an incredibly difficult thing. Imagine for a second that you have  grabbed ahold of your glass and you can’t make yourself put it down. Next thing you know, you begin tilting the glass over your head and pouring milk in your hair as if something or someone else is controlling you. This neurological disorder is called Alien Hand Syndrome. Although it is similar to Anarchic Hand, but they are certainly not one in the same.

Doctor StrangeloveCredit: By Directed by Stanley Kubrick, distributed by Columbia Pictures [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Anarchic Hand:

Anarchic Hand disorder is when a person’s body part involuntarily moves or doesn’t move as intended. The condition leaves the individual feeling very frustrated that they are unable to control their own movements. After a great deal of concentration, the person might be able to grasp something or move in the way they desire. Even if some movements are made by the person, most of the motions the affected body part makes are spontaneous.

Alien Hand Syndrome:

There is a core difference between Anarchic Hand and Alien Hand Syndrome. The individual suffering from this condition no longer recognizes their hand as their own. There is an emotional disgust with their appendage as the person sees it as an imposter on their own body. They will recognize the arm as part of their being, but the hand itself is seen to have a mind of its own. The person who is dealing with this syndrome will not even be aware of their movements until it is pointed out to them or their "possesed" appendage does something to gain their attention.


There are certain types of brain surgery in which this condition can be caused. In all instances, it is a result of some form of neurological disturbance. Whether through brain surgery, infections, injury stroke, cancer, or aneurysms, a person is susceptible to this syndrome.


Alien Hand Syndrome can not be cured per say, but there are treatments that can help eliminate unwanted hand movements or restore some control. Giving the alien appendage  something to preoccupy it, such as holding an object can reduce spontaneous motions. Other treatment include teaching the person to focus and training their hand to perform certain grabbing motions.

Many people have some part of their body that they do not like because of appearance. Having a rogue body part that you don’t claim as your own would be unimaginable.