What Would Mental Disorders Look Like as Houses?

· April 26, 2018

If mental disorders were houses, depression would be the loneliest one. Anxiety would be a suffocating prison. Insomnia would be a home inhabited by clocks without any minute or second hands because time would stand still.

At least that’s what Federico Babina thought. Babina is an Italian architect who wanted to show the world what it’d look like if our minds suddenly become prisons.

Anyone who has ever suffered from any of these mental disorders will undoubtedly identify with this interesting but impressive artwork. But actually you don’t need to experience it for yourself in order to understand it. Because anyone will understand if they’ve ever interacted with someone with Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder, a phobia, chronic insomnia, etc.

“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also harder to bear.”
-C. S. Lewis-

Making the metaphor that mental disorders are like places where people get trapped, isolated, or lost is not uncommon. However, regardless of how obvious it may seem to most, others still can’t see it or comprehend it. Mental disorders, whether we like it or not, are still taboo in our society.

That said, everybody’s mind has thick walls separating it from the world. That’s what Federico Babina believes. He wanted to use his art to represent the difficulty of these mental illnesses and disorders. The project is called Archiatric, and it’s worth a look.

Mental disorders: Depression

First of all, we have depression, one of the most common mental disorders. In fact, the WHO (World Health Organization) considers it an epidemic and in the next few years, it might become one of the most common causes of disability.

A lot of people don’t know that depression increases a person’s risk of heart disease, diabetes, even substance abuse. It’s a serious reality and greatly affects one’s quality of life, practically consuming everything…


What depression would look like as a house.

2. Anxiety

Anxiety is, for Federico Babina, a house chained up and fenced in with barbed wire, imprisoning and suffocating its inhabitants. As you can see, the artist represents anxiety as a house with no windows or doors. Anxiety closes you in and leaves you with no way out…

What anxiety would look like as a house.

3. Schizophrenia

Next, schizophrenia: a serious mental disorder involving progressive psychological deterioration where skills associated with reasoning, information processing, perception, willpower, and emotions are diminished.

The mind is fragmented, disorganized, and begins falling apart in an irreparable and terrible way. Federico Babina represents it well with this image: you can see how the inhabitant is hanging from a crumbling house.

We cannot forget that schizophrenia is also an early type of dementia. Additionally, something a lot of people don’t know is that people with this disorder usually end up passing away prematurely.

What Schizophrenia would look like as a house.

4. Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the saddest mental disorders. It has a huge impact on the family of the patient and today there is still no way to reverse it. If this illness was a house, it would be a decaying building. A home that was once beautiful but now has cracks, rotting and slowly dissolving…

What Alzheimers disease would look like as a house.

5. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Lastly, we have autism spectrum disorder, a developmental neurobiological disorder. Just as the medical terminology suggests, each patient is situated on a certain point on the wide spectrum. No two children or two adults have the same characteristics. Each individual will have somewhat repetitive behaviors but widely varying intellectual potential and use of language.

Nevertheless, something many people on the ASD have in common is social isolation. Thus, if this condition were a house, it would actually be a house within another house. In other words, it’s like a psychological maze.

What Autism spectrum disorder would look like as a house.

In conclusion, as you can see with Federico Babina’s work, a person could represent mental disorders in many different ways but they all have one thing in common: suffering and isolation. People with these disorders, individuals with names and personalities, sometimes find the walls of their own house closing in on them.

Finally, if any of our readers want to check out more of this architect’s works and his project Archiatric, watch the video below.