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  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: January 2010

21 - The Ganser syndrome

from Part III

Summary

This chapter discusses the Ganser syndrome and gives a brief account on its clinical features. A significant number of clinicians in Europe continued accepting Ganser's basic postulates that the patients showed significant memory disorder and 'answers towards the question' within the framework of traumatic or reactive hysteria. In elderly patients, Ganser type symptoms may be indicative of the onset of dementia. Ganser syndrome raises the question of the interaction between concepts, ideology and clinical observation. The clinician must be aware that a misdiagnosed case of Ganser-type hysteria may result in lawsuits, unnecessary surgical interventions, inappropriate use of minor and major tranquillizers, and social consequences that may be destabilizing for the patient and family. Positive results in the organic investigation should lead to a firm diagnosis and disconfirmation of Ganser syndrome. Persistent negative results and dramatic improvement should tend to confirm the diagnosis.