Walking Corpse Syndrome (also known as Cotard’s Syndrome) is a rare neuropsychiatric disorder in which the afflicted person holds the delusion that he or she is dead, missing their soul, organs, blood or other body parts, as well as being in a state of existence denial. Conversely, some patients may have delusions of immortality.
For people with this condition, entertainment like cable TV’s “The Walking Dead” may be too close for comfort.
Studies indicate that the disease is more prevalent in older patients and women with depression. It is also more likely to occur in patients with disorders such as:
- Bipolar disorders
- Brain injury
- Brain atrophy
- Seizure disorders
- Brain tumors
Though it is thought that lesions in the frontal and temporal regions (front and sides) of the right hemisphere of the brain have been associated with the disease, Cotard’s disease is so rare that it is difficult to pinpoint the mechanisms that cause it.
Tests are used to diagnose associated diseases and rule out other conditions. Current treatment for Cotard’s Syndrome involves medication with antidepressants, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers. Electroconvulsive therapy, in combination with medication, has been reported to be more effective than medications alone.
Fortunately, patients with Cotard’s Syndrome can experience a complete recovery, even in severe cases.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.