Ganser syndrome is a rare dissociative disorder. It has been reported in association with various functional psychiatric disorders and organic states, most often in patients with head injury and stroke, especially those involving the frontal lobes. The present case of Ganser syndrome had features of hysterical dissociation but was found to have haemorrhage in the temporoparietal region of the dominant hemisphere. The complexities of Ganser syndrome in the presence of an organic lesion with an overwhelming emotional component are discussed.
Little is known about this unusual disorder, but it is believed to be a reaction to extreme stress. Another factor that may contribute to Ganser syndrome is a desire to avoid responsibility or an unpleasant situation. There are also physical problems that may cause the symptoms of Ganser syndrome. These include alcoholism, head injury, and stroke.
People with Ganser syndrome have short-term episodes of odd behavior similar to that shown by people with other serious mental illnesses. The person may appear confused, make absurd statements, and report hallucinations such as the experience of sensing things that are not there or hearing voices. A classic symptom of Ganser syndrome is vorbeireden. This is when the person gives nonsense answers to simple questions. In addition, a person with this condition may report physical problems such as an inability to move part of the body, called “hysterical paralysis.” Loss of memory (amnesia) of the events that occurred during an episode is common.
It is difficult to predict whether and when symptoms of Ganser syndrome are likely to go away. This is partly because people with Ganser Syndrome often present with fake symptoms not just simply in response to a stressful event, but because the condition often reflects someone’s limited ability to cope effectively with stresses when they occur.
Supportive psychotherapy (a type of counseling), and monitoring for safety and a return of symptoms are the main treatments for Ganser syndrome. Medication usually is not used, unless the person also suffers from depression, anxiety, or psychosis.
Most people with this condition also have a personality disorder, usually antisocial personality disorder or histrionic personality disorder. Antisocial personality disorder is characterized by irresponsible and aggressive behavior that often involves a disregard for others and an inability to abide by society’s rules. People with antisocial personality disorder are sometimes referred to as “sociopaths” or “psychopaths.” For people with histrionic personality disorder, their self-esteem depends on the approval of others and does not arise from a true feeling of self-worth. They have an overwhelming desire to be noticed, and often behave dramatically or inappropriately to get attention.