From the Editor

Stop blaming ‘demons’ for bizarre delusions or behavior!

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References

  • Capgras syndrome (one perceives a familiar person as an imposter)
  • Fregoli syndrome (one perceives that a familiar person is repeatedly disguised to change appearance)
  • intermetamorphosis (one perceives that a person changes his external appearance and personality or identity)
  • lycanthropy (one delusionally misidentifies one’s self as an animal—eg, a wolf, rabbit, or snake, and behaves accordingly)
  • Ekbom syndrome (delusional belief of being infested with parasites )
  • delusion of hermaphroditism (one has merged in the same body with another person of the opposite sex)
  • delusion of sexual transformation (one has changed to the opposite sex)
  • delusion of being the Antichrist.

Delusional misidentification syndrome can develop after the onset of focal or diffuse brain pathology, such as right hemispheric stroke, multiple sclerosis, hyperparathyroidism, traumatic brain injury, dementia, and schizophrenia. In several studies, researchers have reported an increased risk of violence in delusional misidentification syndromes.11


Neurological, not diabolical!
A disruption in brain anatomy, neurodevelopment, or circuitry/interconnectivity can produce odd beliefs and bizarre behavior that might prompt a lay observer to believe that a demon or an evil spirt is responsible for the incomprehensible symptoms. I have one response to the “blame-the-devil” proponents: It’s the brain pathology, stupid!

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