Journal of Health and Medical Sciences

ISSN 2622-7258

Published: 22 July 2020

Delusional Misidentification Syndromes: Psychopathology and Culture

Kevin Volkan

California State University Channel Islands, Community Memorial Health System

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10.31014/aior.1994.03.03.124

Pages: 288-301

Keywords: Capgras Syndrome, Fregoli Delusion, Prosopagnosia, Alien Hand, Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Abstract

Delusional misidentification syndromes constitute a number of disorders that involve a myriad of delusions related to the identity of self or other. The forms of delusion range from misattribution of identity related to self, other, as well as parts of the body. Although rare, these syndromes are encountered in a number of different forms by medical and psychiatric personnel, as well as other types of mental health workers. This is especially true since many of the syndromes have organic etiology and are treated via medical rather than psychological intervention. Nevertheless, delusional misidentification syndromes often co-exist with psychiatric issues which can be helped by concurrent psychological treatment. Given that identity is central to human beings and their cultures, it is not surprising that delusional misidentification is represented in a number of cultural beliefs. Some cultural expressions of delusional misidentification may function as coping mechanisms for anxiety over loss of identity or the trauma of infant mortality.

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