The psychotic disorder, known as the Capgras Syndrome, was first described in detail by French psychiatrists Capgras and Reboul-Lascaux in 1923. So, these two psychiatrists recorded the case of a woman who did not know her husband and daughter.
Causes of Capgras Syndrome
When normal people recognize faces, it creates an expression of emotion to their face. This occurs through a connection between the limbic system and the amygdala. If there are some problems in this connection, a person cannot make a natural expression when they see the face and therefore cannot recognize who belongs to the face.
What is Capgras Syndrome?
It is a disorder in which a patient who has lost face recognition ability falsely recognizes the familiar people they’re interacting with. It’s appropriately described as a loss of emotional attachment, and it makes it difficult for patients to tell their loved ones from strangers.
Some patients do not recognize their mother when they see them but have no problem recognizing by talking to their mother on the phone, indicating that there is no problem in the communication between the hearing-related parts (temporal lobe) and the amygdala.
According to a hypothesis put forward by neurologist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran the reason for this syndrome is that the connection between the temporal lobe for recognizing faces and the limbic system that provides an emotional response to recognized faces is damaged in some way. Because of this damage, the patient recognizes the face of the relative, but that face does not trigger the usual emotional response in the patient. (1)
What are the symptoms of Capgras syndrome ?
Hallucinations, delusions, anxiety, and depression are well-known symptoms of Capgras Syndrome. These symptoms are caused by brain changes.
One-third of the cases of Capgras Syndrome is because of head trauma and the majority of these are automobile accidents.
How to Care and Treat
A person with Capgras syndrome can be given the following ways of care:
- Try to enter their virtual world. If you can understand how frightening the situation is for them, this can help your communication.
- Don’t argue with them or try to correct them.
- Try to do whatever is necessary to make them feel safe. If you are not sure what to do, you can consult them.
- Tell them you understand their feelings.
- If possible, have the deceptor leave the environment. If you are this person, try to arrange someone else as a carer.
- Use your voice. If someone you know has Capgras Syndrome, make sure he hears you before he sees you.