Psychoanalysts are always studying show-cause brain reactions and responses. Those neurotransmitters with a short circuit seem to create new paths down the wrong cycle of functioning. When this occurs, it creates different reactions mentally to a person’s ability to think logically and without illusion to factual perception. The mystifying conduct of the three delusional syndromes “Capgras”, “Cotard” and “Prosopagnosia” seem to be half understood, and half reasoned.
Capgras syndrome cases believe the delusion that people close to them have been replaced by imposters. Other symptoms are seeing double persons, animals and objects. The person understands and knows that their perceptions are false. People usually involved are the ones closest to the ill-minded victim. One man though his father-in-law as rather mechanical in a cyber fashion and went so far as to cut his head off expecting to find memory chips in his head instead of a brain. Another story is of a man waking up and thought his wife was exchanged with an alien, and when questioning the identity of her, she reacted differently, which confirmed in his mind that she was indeed acting oddly.
On the other hand, Cotard’s syndrome sufferers come to believe that they are actually dead. One has the delusions of cotard seems to repeatedly try suicidal attempts due to the fact that they believe they are already immortal beings and can’t be killed. Another symptom one may express is that their limbs or body belong to someone else, so this goes back again to other self harm inflictions. An example is of a man stabbing himself over and over again to prove to others that they are actually already deceased and cannot be harmed.
A significant difference of the two above syndromes seems to be that depression follows with Cotard illness. Both are caused from damage to the right hemisphere of the brain and electroconvulsive therapy seems to help if that part of the brain has not been severely damaged or severed, such as in an automobile accident. Tricyclic antidepressants can help with depression of the sufferers, but has no effect on the delusional treatments. And I am by no means giving any advice on treatment this is up to the medical professionals.
There is an opposite mental illness called prosopagnosia, where such victims are unable to relate faces of a loved one or someone familiar, but still have emotional binds to that person’s name. They become antisocial because of the embarrassment of not being able to recognize people they have met before and should truly know. Such an entrapment in oneself. The three delusional syndromes seemed to be another fascinating value to how complex the brain’s functions are. One could say that the mind will always be a mystery in science that will never be fully exposed or can it be?
author-Carol M DeVries-3/2007