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Vilayanur Ramachandran on your mind ~23:34 min

Capgras Syndrome (CS) is a misidentification syndrome where a person believes that a close and intimate acquaintance or a close family member, has been replaced by an identical looking imposter. They may imagine that they have been replaced by a clone, MK ultra imposter or occupied by a foreign spirit or any other variation suitable to their beliefs.

The syndrome is named after Joseph Capgras lived 1873-1950 French psychiatrist who first described the disorder in a 1923 paper and used the term ‘illusion of doubles’ to describe a case of woman who had various doubles that had taken the place of people she knew.

This syndrome can be transient, developing after an operation due to some anesthetics, a brain injury, or can take a chronic form where the delusion becomes long standing.

Occasionally Capgras syndrome may include inanimate objects such as chairs and animals or places can be seen as duplicate imposters. They may even misidentify or not recognize mirror images. In some cases, if the Capgras sufferer can be convinced that one person is not an imposter, they will transfer the Capgras delusion with someone else. This is also called Delusional Misidentification Syndrome (DMS)

Capgras syndrome is more commonly associated with neurodegenerative diseases, especially Lewy body disease, where visual hallucinations always coexist. In the absence of a neurodegenerative disease, the onset of Capgras syndrome occurs at a significantly younger age and can be associated with psychiatric disease, cerebrovascular events, and illicit drug use, such as Methamphetamine and other phychotropic drugs that may temporarily or even permanently damage brain connections.

Cases of CS can be identified immediately after methamphetamine (METH) use and even in the context of cocaine overdose, administration of morphine and ketamine due to their neurodegenerative effects.

David's Case of Capgras ~11:24 min

Symptoms of Capgras may occur months after use of neurodegenerative drug use stops. It may appear as a long term effect that may be associated with damage to Medulla neurons. Normal pathways used to connect perception of an individual who is intimately related have been damaged. Though they are recognized a psychological distress occurs with no apparent reason because of this interruption of the normal circuitry of the brain.

The individual gropes for an explanation of why they cannot accept the true identity of the loved one. They subsequently feel relief when they can discount the loss of feeling for the individual as the result of some sort of bizarre removal of the loved one who has been replaced by an imposter.

This may be caused by the subconscious mind attempting to compensate for the degeneration of neurons used in the intimate recognition processing factors of close friends or relatives. The brain reaffirms an important relationship with parents or loved ones through a process of recognition and confirmation giving the individual a sense of security and satisfaction through the release of endorphins. This primal process requires signals to travel from one part of the brain where recognition takes place to other parts of the brain stimulating release. This is basic in all mammals which raise their young. It may be an acutely fundamental and essential process in Homo Sapiens.

The interruption of this primal recognition process can create extreme frustration and anxiety. When the completion of the process is not realized by endorphin release the mind will construct an alternate excuse for missing confirmation. The connection to parent and siblings or intimate loved ones is more than memory and touch. It is a primal foundation of all beliefs, perceptions and understanding. When it is left uncompleted or cut off the need for a connection to something else, a replacement affirmation becomes more intense.

This frustration may be so intense and deeply held that the individual will cling to a replacement delusion created by the subconscious mind to rationalize the anxiety that is produced in the mind. The new bonds may even be more intense than the drug that may have caused the initial disconnect.

Since this affirmative pathway is at the core of our first experience as a child with fear and reassurance the interruption cause by damage to the brain may induce feelings of terror, primal panic and anxieties. The individual may absolutely reject any confrontation or attack on the delusion out of fear of a return to the state of mind where recognition goes unsatisfied.

The only truly successful treatment is to restructure the thinking process to navigate the mind around the damaged tissue by creating new pathways from recognition to emotional intimacy. This is called mental reconstruction.

The individual still remembers the loved one and all those relational events the confirmed the intimate bond but they cannot go from recognition to satisfaction. What is needed is patient renewal through interaction and reaffirming that relationship until the mind is trained to move from point A (recognition) to point C (Satisfaction).

Another result of neuron damage may manifest as Fregoli delusion, or the delusion of doubles. It is a rare disorder in which a person holds a delusional belief that different people are in fact a single person who changes appearance or is in disguise. The syndrome may be related to a brain lesion or neuron degeneration from drug use. There may be paranoid nature delusion where a person believes themselves persecuted by the person they think is in disguise as someone else.

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