Cotard’s syndrome, also referred to as walking corpse syndrome or Cotard’s delusion, is a psychiatric disorder, rare, characterized by delusions, where the patient believes they do not exist, or they are already dead.
Named after the French neurologist Jules Cotard, the syndrome was first discovered in 1880s, when Cotard realized patients with symptoms of nihilistic delusions.
The condition being rare, only a few records are available, however, statistics show it is commonly seen in patients with a history of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and severe depression.
Cotard’s syndrome occurs both in men and women, however more cases have been reported in adults than children.
Although Cotard’s syndrome symptoms can differ from patient to patient, they frequently include a profound sense of despondency and nihilism, as well as the conviction that one is dead or has lost their internal organs.
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Hallucinations, grandiose or persecuting delusions, and suicidal thoughts might be experienced in more intense cases.
There is no established treatment for Cotard’s syndrome, patients are typically managed with a mix of medication and psychotherapy, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants may be used to treat symptoms.
Psychotherapy has also been proven to impact the treatment journey, by managing the delusions through teaching patients coping mechanisms.
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