Imagine you couldn’t recognize your best friend. No, better yet, imagine you couldn’t recognize your own parents. Even though this may be difficult for you to fathom, some people actually struggle to recognize the faces of people, even those extremely close to them! They do not suffer from memory loss issues, impaired vision, or even learning disabilities.
Prosopagnosia, also termed face blindness, is a disorder wherein the individual suffers from impairment in face recognition of facial identity.
These individuals have difficulty identifying those close to them and struggle to recognize their own faces. Quite often, they use substitute routes to recognize people. Although this may be, these methods may lack efficiency.
Studies suggest that 1 in 50 people suffer from prosopagnosia, and quite often, people lead regular lives without realizing they suffer from the same.
The disorder is considered to be caused due to abnormalities, damage, or impairment in a region of the brain called the fusiform gyrus.
This region of the brain plays a crucial role in the coordination of the neural systems, which affect memory and perception. Furthermore, prosopagnosia can also be caused due to a stroke, neurodegenerative diseases or direct injury to the brain. In many cases, people born with the disorder make it a congenital disorder. In some instances, there may also be a genetic link.
Face blindness can also be a symptom of autism and is more common among those who suffer from autism than the general population.
The symptoms of prosopagnosia are as follows.
The most obvious one is the inability to recognize or differentiate between faces. This leads to forming relationships to be highly challenging since identifying faces is being put to the test.
The individuals who suffer from minor prosopagnosia also tend to struggle to identify or differentiate the faces of strangers or those they do not know well.
Prospagonic people with moderate disorder may struggle to recognize the faces of people they regularly see, including their family and friends.
In extremely severe cases of prosopagnosia, they may fail to recognize their own face. This can often lead to depression or social anxiety.
To this day, there is no known cure for face blindness. The treatment methods that have been developed primarily focus on helping individuals with the condition identify coping mechanisms to better identify and recognize other people.
People could be asked to focus on specific visual or verbal cues which can help them identify a person. For example, this can include taking note of brown, curly hair or a deeper than normal voice, etc. Then again, these cues can always be confused between people. Interestingly, certain mannerisms can also be noted, such as walking extremely slow, or people using more than usual hand gestures, etc.
Researchers are still working on comprehending the causes of the condition and the treatment possibilities for the same.
Coping with face blindness can be a task, as the disorder may lead to clinical depression or anxiety. This can often interfere with personal and professional relationships. If suffering from face blindness, consulting a therapist can help individuals better connect with people and manage social anxiety or depressive symptoms. Furthermore, it also helps build stronger interpersonal relationships.