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Capgras: Syndrome causing people to think their loved one's impostors. [Representational Image]Creative Commons

It is scary to even think of waking up one morning only to find your loved one thinking you're an impostor. It happened for real for a couple in New York, where a man married for 40 years suddenly couldn't recognize his wife. In fact, he thought she was some other woman pretending to be her.

As strange as it may sound, Carol Berman, wife of Marty Berman, was shocked when both of them were out for a stroll and he started yelling at a random woman on the street: "Carol! Carol, come here!"

She looked into his eyes, reassuring him that she was right here. However, he just couldn't acknowledge her as the real Carol, according to a Washington Post report.

Marty was a hard-working patent lawyer for much of his life. The highly intelligent man began to show signs of dementia at 74. Later, he was diagnosed with Capgras syndrome

"The Capgras syndrome was really the breakage of our bond. It's horrible because it's such a disconnect between you and your loved one," Carol said. "He would brush me away, thinking I was an intruder or some stranger who was interfering in his life."

What is Capgras syndrome?

Capgras syndrome is a psychological condition also known as "impostor syndrome" or "Capgras delusion."

According to Healthline, people with the syndrome have an irrational belief that people they know have been replaced by an impostor.

The delusion can also make the person believe an animal, object, or even a home is an impostor.

Causes of Capgras syndrome

The exact cause of Capgras syndrome is not known, but there are a number of theories. Some researchers believe it is caused by problems within the brain such as atrophy, lesions, or cerebral dysfunction. Some others believe that it's a combination of physical and cognitive changes.

However, it is commonly associated with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, affecting memory and the sense of reality. Episodes of Capgras syndrome can also be experienced by people with schizophrenia.

In rare cases, the syndrome can also be caused due to a brain injury especially in the back of the right hemisphere of the brains that processes facial recognition. Also, people with epilepsy may experience the syndrome in rare cases.