Ganser Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Ganser Syndrome

Ganser syndrome is a very uncommon and controversial diagnosis. Siegbert Ganser was the first to describe it in 1898, and it is frequently referred to as “prison psychosis” since it was initially noticed among inmates.

When a person has this disorder, they act as though they are suffering from a medical or mental disease when they are not actually sick. People with ganser syndrome act in ways that are similar to those who have a mental disorder, such as schizophrenia.

People with factitious diseases behave in this way because they have an inner desire to be perceived as sick or damaged, rather than for a concrete advantage, such as financial gain.

They are even prepared to go through unpleasant or hazardous examinations and surgeries in order to gain compassion and particular attention for those who are genuinely sick. Because they are linked to significant emotional issues, factitious diseases are classified as mental illnesses.

Read: Hoarding Disorder

Ganser syndrome symptoms

Short-term bouts of strange behavior are common symptoms of ganser syndrome, and comparable to those seen in people with other significant mental disorders. The person may seem puzzled, make irrational comments, and describe hallucinations such as perceiving things that aren’t there or hearing voices.

Vorbeireden is a typical sign of ganser syndrome. This occurs when a person responds to simple inquiries with nonsensical replies. In addition, a person with this illness may experience bodily issues such as “hysterical paralysis,” which is the inability to move a part of the body. It’s not uncommon for people to lose track of what happened during an episode (amnesia).

What causes ganser syndrome?

The cause of this uncommon illness is unknown, although it is thought to be a reaction to severe stress. Physical issues such as alcoholism, a brain injury, or a stroke can potentially produce the symptoms of ganser syndrome.

The majority of persons with this disease also have a personality disorder, most often antisocial or histrionic personality disorder. Antisocial personality disorder is marked by reckless and violent conduct, which frequently includes a disdain for others and a failure to follow social standards.

Antisocial personality disorder patients are sometimes known as “sociopaths” or “psychopaths.” Self-esteem in persons with a histrionic personality disorder is based on other people’s approval rather than a genuine sense of self-worth. They have a strong need to be recognized and will frequently act out in dramatic or inappropriate ways to do so.

Read: Delusional Parasitosis

How common is ganser syndrome?

Ganser syndrome is quite uncommon. It is more prevalent in males than in women, and it usually develops in late adolescence or early adulthood.


Ganser syndrome is difficult to diagnose. Before evaluating the syndrome as the source of the symptoms, doctors must rule out any significant medical issues, such as stroke or brain damage, as well as any psychiatric illnesses.

If the doctor cannot identify a medical cause for the symptoms, the patient may be referred to a psychiatrist or psychologist, who are mental health specialists and specialized to diagnose and treat mental disorders.

To examine a person for mental disorders, psychiatrists and psychologists utilize specifically prepared interviews and evaluation instruments. The doctor’s diagnosis is based on the use of these instruments, as well as the elimination of other medical or mental diseases and the patient’s attitude and conduct.

Read: Hysteria Disorder

What is the treatment for ganser syndrome?

It’s impossible to say whether or not the symptoms of ganser syndrome will go away and when they will. This is partially due to the fact that persons with this syndrome frequently exhibit false symptoms not just in response to a stressful incident, but also because the disease frequently reflects someone’s inadequate capacity to cope well with stress when it occurs.

The main therapies for ganser syndrome are supportive psychotherapy (a form of counseling) and monitoring for safety and a recurrence of symptoms. Medication is rarely utilized unless the person additionally suffers from depression, psychosis or anxiety.


It’s impossible to say whether or not the symptoms of ganser syndrome will go away. Whether the symptoms emerged quickly in reaction to a stressful incident or are part of a longer-term pattern, the chances of recovery from this syndrome vary significantly.

Read: Diogenes Syndrome

Is it possible to prevent ganser syndrome?

There is currently no known way to avoid this illness.