I’ve been really busy with a class I am taking, so I haven’t had time to put together the posts. I hate it because I really like looking up all of these different weird things and posting. My class is finishing up soon, so I hope to be back to posting every other day or so by August.
The Cotard delusion or Cotard’s syndrome or Walking Corpse Syndrome is a rare neuropsychiatric disorder in which people hold a delusional belief that they are dead (either figuratively or literally), do not exist, are putrefying, or have lost their blood or internal organs. In rare instances, it can include delusions of immortality.
The syndrome is named after Jules Cotard (1840–1889), a French neurologist who first described the condition, which he called le délire de négation (“negation delirium”), in a lecture in Paris in 1880. He described the syndrome as having degrees of severity that range from mild to severe. Despair and self-loathing characterize a mild state.
In this lecture, Cotard described a patient, referred to as Mademoiselle X, who denied the existence of God, the Devil, several parts of her body, and her need to eat. Later she believed she was eternally damned and could no longer die a natural death. She later died of starvation.
Modern cases of Cotard’s Syndrome have been linked to depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. There is no standard treatment, but antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anti-psychotic medications and electroconvulsive therapy have all been used with some success.