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Fregoli Syndrome Vs Capgras Syndrome - Causes + Symptoms

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Vikas Deshmukh 88% (85 ratings)
MBBS, M.D Psychiatry , Diploma In Psychological Medicine
Sexologist, Navi Mumbai  •  13 years experience
Fregoli Syndrome Vs Capgras Syndrome - Causes + Symptoms

Fregoli syndrome and Capgras syndrome are psychological disorders which cause the patients to develop delusions regarding the people around him and his social interaction. They are called delusional misidentification syndromes (DMs). Both conditions are extremely rare and are believed to develop in patients who already have other psychiatric disorders. The two conditions can be compared in the following ways:

  1. Nature of the disease: Patients with Fregoli delusion believe that the many people around him or her are actually the same person in many different disguises. Capgras syndrome, on the other hand, causes the patient to think that someone who he or she interacts with on a daily basis has been replaced by an impostor.
  2. History: Fregoli syndrome was discovered in 1927 in a woman who thought her favorite actresses were disguising themselves as her friends, her employers and even strangers. The doctors named the condition after Italian entertainer Leopoldo Fregoli who did excellent impersonations of contemporary political figures. Less than 50 cases of the disorder have been reported worldwide since then.

Capgras syndrome was discovered in 1922 by French psychiatrist Joseph Capgras. The patient claimed that identical impostors had taken the places of her husband and some of her friends. This disorder is seen more commonly in women than in men and has more reported cases than Fregoli syndrome.

What causes it?

Fregoli delusions can be caused by severe injury to the temporal and parietal areas of the brain or other neural pathways.

Capgras syndrome has more complicated neuroanatomical causes. It is often seen in patients of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and sometimes in patients of bipolar disorder and paranoia.

Symptoms behind them
The symptoms of Fregoli syndrome are delusions, visual and auditory hallucinations, cognitive defects, problems in visual memory and motor functioning.

Capgras syndrome is characterized by delusions, lack of emotional response to a familiar face, constant anxiety and depression.

Treatment
Antipsychotic medication is generally used to treat Fregoli delusions. Anti-seizure drugs and anti-depressants are prescribed to combat other symptoms of the disorder. The family members of the patient are also counselled so that they do not feel insulted by the patient's behavior.

Individualized cognitive therapy is much more beneficial in case of Capgras syndrome than medication. Habilitation therapy is a form of treatment where the patient is not repeatedly contradicted and corrected. Usually the patients' family members are made to talk to them about their mistakes gently without arguing with them. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a psychiatrist.

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