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The Capgras Delusion story idea

Inspired by The Capgras Delusion to write a short story or chapter about a character who suffers from this psychiatric disorder; however, uses it as a power in some way. The emotional hook is that it is caused by a brain lesion which gives him major headaches. The power goes stronger in exchange for his life force.

“The Capgras delusion (or Capgras syndrome) (pron: kăh′grah IPA:/ka·’grɑ:/)[1] is a disorder in which a person holds a delusion that a friend, spouse, parent, or other close family member has been replaced by an identical-looking impostor. The Capgras delusion is classified as a delusional misidentification syndrome, a class of delusional beliefs that involves the misidentification of people, places, or objects (usually not in conjunction).[2] It can occur in acute, transient, or chronic forms. Cases in which patients hold the belief that time has been “warped” or “substituted” have also been reported.[3]

The delusion most commonly occurs in patients diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, but has also been seen in patients suffering from brain injury[4] and dementia.[5] It presents often in individuals with a neurodegenerative disease, particularly at an older age.[6] It has also been reported as occurring in association with diabetes, hypothyroidism and migraine attacks.[7] In one isolated case, the Capgras delusion was temporarily induced in a healthy subject by the drug ketamine.[8] It occurs more frequently in females, with a female:male ratio of 3:2.[9]

The information gathered from studying people with the Capgras delusion has important theoretical implications for understanding face perception and neuroanatomy in both healthy and unhealthy individuals.[2] It also poses some interesting epistemological questions about the nature of identity and belief.[10]

The Capgras delusion is named after Joseph Capgras (1873–1950), a French psychiatrist who first described the disorder in 1923 in his paper co-authored by Reboul-Lachaux,[11] on the case of a French woman, “Mme M.,” who complained that corresponding “doubles” had taken the places of her husband and other people she knew.[4] Capgras and Reboul-Lachaux first called the syndrome “l’illusion des sosies”, which can be translated literally as “the illusion of ‘doubles’…”[12]

The Capgras syndrome was initially considered a purely psychiatric disorder, the delusion of a double seen as symptomatic of schizophrenia, and purely a female disorder (though we now know this not to be the case[13]) often noted as a symptom of hysteria. Most of the proposed explanations initially following that of Capgras and Reboul-Lachaux were psychoanalytical in nature. It was not until the 1980s that attention was turned to the usually co-existing organic brain lesions originally thought to be essentially unrelated or accidental. Today the Capgras syndrome is understood as a neurological disorder, in which the delusion primarily results from organic brain lesions or degeneration.[14]”

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