How Common Is Capgras Syndrome?
Capgras syndrome is a condition that causes a person to believe someone close to them has been replaced by an identical impostor. So, how common is capgras syndrome? It’s also called Capgras delusion or Capgras syndrome. The syndrome usually first occurs in middle age or later in life and is more common in people with psychosis and schizophrenia than in the general population. A person with Capgras syndrome may think a relative or spouse has been replaced by an exact replica, while others think they see doubles of friends and acquaintances who look similar but are not exactly alike. Symptoms typically come on suddenly and last anywhere from several weeks to months, although some people may experience them for years before seeking treatment. If you’re worried about how common capgras syndrome is and what causes it—and what you can do about it—read on! We’ll cover all these topics below:
How common is capgras syndrome
- What is the incidence of Capgras syndrome?
Capgras syndrome is not well-known, but it has been estimated that 1-5% of patients with schizophrenia have this condition. Other reports have estimated a much higher rate, up to 20%. The disorder tends to be rare in the general population, as mentioned before, and more common among people with dementia or other psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia. In some cases, the individual undergoing the delusion might believe an animal, object, or even a home is an impostor.
It was named after the French neurologist Jules Capgras, who first described it in 1923.
Capgras syndrome is rare, affecting just one in 1,000 people.
- Schizophrenia is the most common condition associated with Capgras syndrome.
- However, it has also been reported in people with dementia and brain injuries.
- It can also occur as a result of infections or tumors in the brain.
Capgras syndrome causes
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The cause of Capgras syndrome is not known. It’s thought to be a problem with how information is processed in your brain, but why it happens is still a mystery. This condition isn’t contagious, and it’s not a form of schizophrenia or any other mental disorder—it’s just a rare condition that affects some people.
The syndrome usually first occurs in middle aged individuals
- Rare. The syndrome is relatively rare, occurring in about 1% of people with schizophrenia and other types of psychosis.
- Not contagious. There’s no evidence that capgras syndrome is contagious—you can’t get it from someone else or pass it on to someone else by touching them or being near them.
- Not life-threatening. Capgras syndrome isn’t a threat to your health or life; it most often leads to disorientation and confusion rather than physical harm.
- Not a mental illness. Capgras syndrome isn’t considered a mental illness because there are no observable changes in personality or behavior associated with the condition, but it can be very distressing for both patients and caregivers who witness its effects firsthand
Capgras syndrome is more common in people with psychosis and schizophrenia.
It’s important to note that capsgras syndrome isn’t always a sign of a mental health condition. The following situations can also cause this phenomenon:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Epilepsy (in rare cases)
Capgras may impact anyone, but this is more common among the female population. In unusual situations, children may be affected as well.
Diagnosis often requires a neurological evaluation.
A diagnosis of Capgras syndrome is often based on a detailed history of the patient and their symptoms. To confirm this diagnosis, a physical examination, neurological evaluation, brain scan (CT or MRI) or other tests may be performed.
Treatment may include medication and therapy.
Because further study is needed, there is currently no suggested treatment strategy for individuals with Capgras syndrome. However, there are treatments that can substantially alleviate the discomfort. The treatment that is available may include medication, therapy and psychosocial rehabilitation. Medication can be used to treat any underlying disorders that might be contributing to the symptoms of Capgras syndrome.
A number of drugs have been found to work in treating Capgras syndrome, including:
- Aripiprazole (Abilify)
- Clozapine (Clozaril)
- Olanzapine (Zyprexa)
- Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (Cholinesterase inhibitors)
In addition to medication, therapy is also important for people with Capgras syndrome. Treatment options include cognitive-behavioral therapy and psychotherapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps people learn coping skills so they can maintain a healthy lifestyle outside of treatment sessions with their therapist or psychiatrist.
Capgras syndrome is a rare condition that can be difficult to diagnose. Individuals suffering from this syndrome will have an irrational fear that someone they know or recognize has now been substituted by an impostor. They might, for instance, suspect a spouse of impersonating their actual partner.
A head trauma that causes cerebral abnormalities may cause Capgras syndrome in rare circumstances. That’s most common when the damage happens in the right hemisphere’s back, which is where our brain perceives face recognition.