Capgras syndrome also known as imposter syndrome is a less-known problem but has the deadliest mental impact on people who are suffering from it. Patients with this problem have a belief that someone whom they know or recognise has been replaced by an imposter.
A patient is sure that familiar face or someone very close to them is replaced by a double-faced person and they start distrusting everyone around them. For the person suffering from it, two versions of one person exist.
They experience this delusion even within their house, pets, or objects present in their house. According to HealthLine, this syndrome can affect anyone, but women are more likely to suffer from it. This psychological condition was first discovered by ‘Joseph Capgras’ and ‘Reboul Lachaux’ in the early 1920s.
Dr Rajiv Sharma who is a clinical Psychiatrist and the Director of ‘A Beautiful Mind’ Clinic said, “This disorder seems very painful even to the family members of patients as they do not recognise them.”
How do patients feel?
Dr Rajiv also expressed, “In some cases, patients feel that the imposter has gone through plastic surgery so that they can look like their family members.” He added that patients go through this delusion and feel that imposter has done plastic surgery so that they could kill the patient, take over the charge of their property and harm them in any way.
Causes of Capgras Syndrome?
Patients who come across this psychological disorder have an effect on their memory and sense of reality. It is mostly recognised with dementia.
Schizophrenia is also a psychiatric issue, which causes distortion of reality and hallucinations. People having schizophrenia can also experience episodes of Capgras. It can also happen because of brain injury specifically injury in the back of the right hemisphere. Capgras syndrome can also be caused by a disconnection between the visual part of the brain and the area that processes facial familiarity.
Symptoms of Capgras Syndrome
A person with Capgras syndrome stays normal, except the time when they feel some of the familiar faces are imposters. Patients may also become addicted to finding the real person. In some cases, they become violent against whom they consider an imposter and do not believe their words.
Treatment of Capgras Syndrome
There is no authentic treatment available for this condition, as there is a need for more research. Although doctors prescribe to cure its underlying issues such as schizophrenia.
Patients suffering from Capgras develop trust issues due to specific conditions. Therefore it is very important to create a safe environment around such patients so that they feel welcomed and positive.
Validation therapy is another treatment where patients' opinions are supported and not rejected, for example, if they state wherever they are staying is not their house you can accept it and move out with them for some time. This will help patients to reduce panic and anxiety.
Reality orientation should be given by the caregiver to the patient, such that they should be reminded of real location and time. Most importantly, when you notice symptoms of Capgras syndrome, kindly seek professional help soon.
How to care for someone with Capgras Syndrome?
Try to understand the terrifying feelings of patients and interpret their point of view. Ask them about their needs and make them feel safe and secure. Acknowledge their feelings and if it is possible, ask the person they consider an imposter to leave the room.
For lack of sensitisation, many people believe that the patient who is suffering from such an issue is possessed by evil. Such superstitions must be rejected and patients should be dealt with care and medical expertise.