How Common Is Ganser Syndrome?
Ganser syndrome is very rare. It is more common in men than in women and most often occurs in the late teens and early adult years.
How Is Ganser Syndrome Diagnosed?
Diagnosing Ganser syndrome is challenging, not only because some measure of dishonesty is involved but also because it is very rare. In addition, doctors must rule out any possible physical problems, such as stroke or head injury, as the cause of the symptoms before considering a diagnosis of Ganser syndrome.
If the doctor finds no physical reason for the symptoms, he or she may refer the person to a psychiatrist or psychologist, mental health professionals who are specially trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses. Psychiatrists and psychologists use specially designed interviews and assessment tools to evaluate a person for a factitious disorder. The doctor bases his or her diagnosis on the exclusion of actual physical or mental illness and his or her observation of the patient's attitude and behavior.
How Is Ganser Syndrome Treated?
The first goal of treatment is to be sure the person does not hurt himself or herself, or others. The person may need to be hospitalized if the symptoms are extreme and/or if the person could be dangerous. 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 certain kinds of personality disorders.
What Is the Outlook for People With Ganser Syndrome?
The likelihood for recovery from Ganser syndrome can vary greatly depending on whether the symptoms arose suddenly in response to a stressful experience or reflect a more long-term pattern of maladaptive behavior related to an underlying personality disorder.