6 Symptoms Of Cotard Delusion

Cotard delusion, also known as walking corpse syndrome, is a rare psychiatric condition that is characterized by a patient’s belief that he or she is dead. It is named after Dr. Jules Cotard, the French doctor who first described the syndrome in the late nineteenth century. Cotard delusion is not explicitly included in the modern DSM-5. However, it is considered to be a type of somatic delusion, which is a DSM-5 diagnosis.

People who suffer from Cotard delusion may believe that they do not exist at all, or they may be convinced that they are missing essential body parts. Sometimes they may also claim to be immortal, even though this obviously contradicts the idea that they are dead. In one famous case, a woman with Cotard delusion believed that she did not need to eat because she thought she was already dead. This woman, referred to in the literature as simply “Mademoiselle X,” ended up starving to death..

The syndrome has been described as having three stages, each with its own set of symptoms: the germination stage, the blooming stage, and the chronic stage. The germination stage usually involves depression and hypochondria. The blooming stage is marked by anxiety and delusional thinking. Finally, the chronic stage is a full-blown Cotard delusion.

Cotard delusion is extremely rare, affecting less than one percent of the population. However, it is also extremely serious. It is imperative that anyone exhibiting symptoms of it seek medical help early, as it can lead to self-harm or death if not properly diagnosed and treated. Treatment is usually done with medications and electroconvulsive therapy and can be very effective. The following are prominent symptoms of Cotard delusion:

1. Feeling Dead

The primary symptom of this disorder is the feeling that one is dead. If you have Cotard delusion, you are likely convinced that your body has died. This can manifest in many different forms with different consequences, depending on the patient. Some patients may deny that they have a physical form at all, even though they are obviously able to walk around and talk. Other patients may not deny that their bodies exist, but they may believe themselves to be in a zombie-like state.

Many patients believe that they have missing organs or that they have no need for food, sleep, or other basic human needs. No matter what form the feeling of death or nonexistence takes, the consequences are severe. The delusion can be so strong that the patient genuinely feels no need to take care of their basic needs. This means that they will not register sensations of hunger, thirst, or fatigue. Not eating or drinking can obviously kill someone, which turns this illness into a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.