Phenomenon 16
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Backrooms Psychosis is the label commonly applied to the symptoms of trauma exhibited by people caused by transitioning to the Backrooms (commonly referred to as "No-clipping"). This label embraces a spectrum of severity, from trivial symptoms that do not impair behavior and are only detectable by a trained mental health professional, through symptoms of schizophrenia, ending with suicidal ideation or catatonia. While this can be treated in the earlier stages through medication and counseling, limited resources often require triage to exclude their use in aiding a patient.

NOTE: This is not officially recognized as a mental disorder, inasmuch as there is no way for this to be added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSMD) or International Classification of Disorders (ICD). Health professionals should use this terminology only to distinguish this disorder from recognized mental disorders encountered in the Backrooms.


This disorder is a member of the family of psychological traumas, exhibiting many of the same symptoms, specifically triggers and cues. It differs in that along with the usual symptoms of psychological trauma an alienation from their surroundings in the Backrooms is present, although this symptom may not be obvious in its earliest stages. This alienation progresses from emotional detachment or dissociation combined with a feeling of hopelessness and depression, advancing to transient paranoid ideation, and/or psychotic delusions.1 Sometimes this will present suicide gestures, although rarely expressed through self-harm.2 Unfortunately, some individuals will progress through these stages very rapidly; there are reported cases of this progression culminating in a matter of hours. Extreme cases can result in schizophrenic delusions or catatonia, and the subject will either refuse medical assistance to or be unable to respond to external stimuli.3


Finding oneself in the Backrooms is undeniably a traumatic experience, and even if not subject to immediate danger or risk of life and health, it is widely recognized that some individuals fail to overcome the challenges of their new environment.4 The percentage or even raw numbers of these individuals is not known; a common figure, not based on objective data, is "about half".5

Those who survive the first traumatic incident — namely, recovering from the transition and functioning at an acceptable level to daily challenges — inevitably encounter a second life-threatening (or existence-threatening) indecent, which potentially results in psychological trauma. Individuals who have not previously demonstrated symptoms of Backrooms Psychosis may succumb to this disorder at this point. Some data for the secondary onset of this disorder have been collected, and, while not authoritative, indicate that between one third and one half of the population will succumb at this point.6

Anecdotal evidence suggests that those who avoid succumbing to Backroom Psychosis after two traumatic incidents will never to succumb to it. Nevertheless, they may still be vulnerable to shock, despair, depression, and a sense of emptiness. Both normal psychological trauma as well as Backroom Psychosis, however, respond favorably to counseling, meditation, and some other informal treatments.7

Degree of impairment varies widely, and no correlation between previous mental health and subsequent mental health has been proven. Individuals who were previously high-functioning have been reported to exhibit severe mental impairment; in contrast, a population of individuals who self-report they had been diagnosed with a variety of mental disorders before transitioning to the Backrooms presently exhibit normal ranges of behavior. The psychological effects of "No-Clipping" is an area deserving attention, but due to constraints of trained professionals, budgets, and a paucity of willing subjects, progress in understanding these effects is not expected for the foreseeable future.


Backrooms Psychosis is understood to be similar in many ways to other forms of psychological trauma, and patients presenting these symptoms respond favorably to the same treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy is frequently used to treat this disorder, although prolonged exposure has had mixed success. Use of medication — specifically antidepressants and in severe cases anti-psychotic medications — is also commonly used. In some cases both are used.

The challenge to any treatment is limited resources.8 The vast majority of inhabitants of the Backrooms are not trained mental health professionals. Further, few medicines can be manufactured in the Backrooms, which means their supply is dependent on teams searching for supplies; these medications are rarely recovered. Therefore group therapy without medication is the most common treatment. A non-trivial number of these group therapy sessions are led or hosted by others afflicted with a lesser degree of this disorder; these groups are sometimes humorously labelled "Backroom Anonymous".

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