Bollywood actress Shenaz Treasury and Hollywood actor Brad Bitt recently revealed about them being diagnosed with Prosopagnosia, a medical condition that makes it a challenge for them to recognise faces of people that they’ve met before. Both the actors talked about being in embarrassing situations as a result of not being able to recognise known faces and acknowledge their presence. This has led to misunderstandings, causing other people to interpret them as rude, arrogant, and high-brow and nurture a negative impression about them. So, the next time someone passes by you without showing any recognition, it need not be that the person is being rude. It could also mean that the individual is suffering from face blindness or prosopagnosia.
Dr. Kaustubh Mahajan, Consultant Neurologist, SL Raheja Hospital, Mumbai, explains the causes, symptoms, and available treatment methods for Prosopagnosia.
What Is Prosopagnosia?
Prosopagnosia is a disorder in which one is not able to identify a person. They are unaware or do not have the ability to remember or recollect known faces and, hence, their brain acts indifferent towards the ones they know. Some may even not be able to recognise their own face. While this may sound bizarre, the condition is not rare and affects *two per cent of people. Also, it is known that *one in 50 people suffer from some level of prosopagnosia.
3 Possible Causes Of Prosopagnosia
In this disorder, a part of the temporal lobe is affected. This part of the brain is used for facial memory and perception. This condition is not caused by memory loss, vision loss or any other disability.
Prosopagnosia is caused due to the following reasons:
- A block in the brain
- Injury that caused damage
- A result of abnormalities
7 Possible Symptoms Of Prosopagnosia
While the most common symptom of prosopagnosia is the inability to recognise known faces, there are different levels at which the person’s ability to identify people might differ.
Symptoms Of Minor Face Blindness
Someone who is affected with minor face blindness might find it difficult to identify or even differentiate between faces they know against the ones they have never seen before.
Symptoms Of Moderate To Severe Face Blindness
The individual with moderate to severe prosopagnosia may not recognise faces of their family members, co-workers, neighbours, etc. – faces they see regularly.
- When you see or meet someone, you try to remember their distinctive feature rather than the face
- You wait for a person to wave or greet first, even if you have plans of meeting them as you are not able to put a face to the name
- Approach strangers thinking you know them
- One can become withdrawn in public places
- Not able to enjoy a movie or show as unable to follow the plot of characters
- Find it difficult to make friends
- Feel withdrawn at work, school, college etc. but confident at home
Read: 9 Signs Your Mental Health Needs To Be Prioritised, According To A Psychologist
3 Treatment Methods For Prosopagnosia
There is no specific treatment or cure for prosopagnosia. However, in certain conditions the symptoms of the condition can be reversed or brought under control. These method re as below:
1. Treatment In Cases A Clot Or Injury Has Resulted In Prosopagnosia
If an individual has a clot in the brain or an injury that has resulted in the medical condition, this clot or injury can be reversed. In that case, there are chances that the person can be cured of the condition.
2. Training Programs
However, for others, there are some training programs that can help one recognise faces, like remembering their voice, a specific feature of their face, tattoo on their body etc.
Also, due to the condition, it is likely that the condition will impact personal relationships. This, in turn, will affect the patient’s mental health. Hence, they tend to suffer from depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions. Therefore, they may be recommended for counselling and support.
As this condition might occur due to an injury or health issues, there is no prevention. However, one can seek medical help and opt for necessary techniques needed that would help him/her identify people and help improve their mental health.
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