- syndrome of subjective doubles
- Also referred to as syndrome of doubles of the self. Both terms were introduced in or shortly before 1978 by the Greek psychiatrist George N. Christodoulou to denote a subgroup of the *misidentification syndrome in which the affected individual is under the illusory or delusional impression that one or more others have taken over his or her physical characteristics. In the original article on the subject, Christodoulou describes an 18-year-old woman who reported that "a female neighbour had succeeded, by means of elaborate transformations, in acquiring physical characteristics identical with her own ('same face, same build, same clothes, same everything'). She believed that this woman had used special makeup, a wig, and a mask, and characterized this transformation as a 'metamorphosis'." According to Christodoulou, the woman claimed that she had seen at least two females being transformed into her own self. A subdivision of the syndrome of subjective doubles yields a 'Capgras type' (characterized by the delusional conviction that unseen doubles are active in the affected individual's environment), an 'autoscopic type' (in which doubles of the self are perceived, 'projected' onto other people or objects, as in * pareidolia), and a 'reverse type' (in which the affected individual believes to be an impostor or to be about to be replaced by someone else). The syndrome of subjective doubles is associated with various psychiatric disorders (notably the group of so-called * schizophrenia spectrum disorders) and neurological disorders (notably disorders of the right parieto-temporal lobe). Conceptually and phenomenologically, the syndrome of subjective doubles constitutes the counterpart ofa syndrome called *mirrored self-misidentification, in which the affected individual is unable to identify his or her mirror image as oneself. The syndrome of subjective doubles also displays certain similarities to Frégoli's phenomenon, the Doppelgänger ,and autoscopic phenomena (autoscopy).ReferencesChristodoulou, G.N. (1978). Syndrome of subjective doubles. American Journal of Psychiatry, 135, 249-251.Enoch, D., Ball, H. (2001). Uncommon psychiatric syndromes. Fourth edition. London: John Wright & Sons.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.