Personality disorder with psychopathic tendencies They were scratching at each other's backs. They were tearing each other's eyes out. The nurse had to intervene and put a stop to it. He eventually diagnosed the twins with psychopathic personality disorder and advocated sending them to Broadmoor, England's famed maximum-security facility for the criminally insane.
The story of the silent twins is quite amazing but also tragic. It began in 1872 when two pregnant women were brought to the hospital by their husbands who wanted to be sure that they both survived the birth of their children. The girls were identical but only one of them was alive when she was born. The other died soon after without ever waking up.
Their names were Mary Ann Geoghegan and her sister Annie Jones. When they grew up, they went through life as if they didn't know anyone else existed. They didn't talk to people, don't remember any family, never worked. Instead, they lived off the money they stole from old people who had been assigned to look after them. After being in prison for several years, they escaped but were caught again a few months later. This time they did serve some time before being released again.
They continued to steal and were finally arrested yet another time. This time they did get sent to Broadmoor Hospital where doctors could study how they were affected by the sight of blood. Because they took such good care of themselves, they lived more than 100 years old.
The twins began experimenting with drugs and alcohol in their late adolescence. The girls were brought to Broadmoor Institution, a high-security mental health hospital, in 1981 after committing a variety of offences, including vandalism, petty theft, and arson. They had been exercising control over their environment by locking themselves in their room and refusing to eat or drink anything except for milk during morning visits from psychiatric nurses.
Their mother told police that she believed her daughters were trying to communicate with them through their locked door. She said that she had heard voices inside the room that didn't sound like her daughters talking. She also reported that the twins had started burning items in their room with matches or lighter fluid around the time they began exhibiting these behaviours.
The girls were found dead in their room at age 19. Police investigating the case concluded that the cause of death was asphyxiation due to air pressure caused by repeated opening and closing of the twin's doorbell button during episodes of auditory hallucination.
Their father was committed to an asylum several years before their death and was never charged with any crime related to the case.
There have been other deaths among the offspring of twins - especially identical ones - but none as well documented as those of the Chan family.
As a result, if the only cause of any mental ailment is an inherited deficiency, both identical twins will always exhibit the same sort of mental problem. A large-scale study of twins revealed that, with a few exceptions, such as Huntington's chorea, this is not the case. The researchers concluded that most mental disorders are caused by factors other than genetics.
The majority of mental illnesses have a combination of genetic and environmental causes. This means that while some people are born with a predisposition to having a nervous system that is more likely to produce mental illness symptoms, others take in life experiences that trigger the onset of these conditions. Twins who have never met face-to-face can still experience mental illness due to shared experiences between them, for example if one twin has a friend who goes on a crime spree, this will also be true for the other twin.
There are several examples of mental disorders that can occur together in multiple family members. For instance, depression and bipolar disorder are both characterized by extreme changes in mood, so they would be expected to co-occur often. What isn't predicted is that so many other families would also contain individuals with either condition. Statistics show that up to 20% of all siblings report experiencing mental problems at some point in their lives, which suggests that these disorders are also common among cousins and friends of patients.
It is possible for twins to have different mental disorders.