Cotard Syndrome

in #health7 years ago

In this world there are strange and surprising things, which surpass human logic, mysteries that hide our organism that produce even chills. A clear example of this is a mental illness considered the rarest in the world that makes you feel that you are dead.

The idea, even if it seems drawn from a Stephen King movie, exists, and is known as Cotard Syndrome or delirium of denial or nihilistic delirium. It is a mental illness related to Hypochondria and causes the person to question their own existence thinking that their vital organs are paralyzed.

It is a very strange mental disorder that has several levels of severity, as well as diverse forms of manifestation: some think that their heart does not work and that their internal organs are in putrefacción. They suffer hallucinations where they see themselves as corpses, they feel and smell as if it were true. They even have tactile hallucinations, feeling that they have worms gliding on their skin.

"My heart stopped working, I feel like my liver and stomach are getting sick, they stopped working. I do not feel my body from the inside. I have no heart. "An 18-year-old woman suffering from Cotard's syndrome.


This strange disease was first discovered in 1880 by Jules Cotard, a French neurologist and psychiatrist who based his study on a 43-year-old patient known as "Mademoiselle X" and described by the psychiatrist as follows:

"Mademoiselle X states that she has no brain, no nerves, no chest, no stomach, no intestines; Which only possesses the skin and bones of a decaying body. It has no soul, for it God does not exist and neither does the Devil. He says that he does not need to eat to live and that he can not die naturally. It will only cease to exist eternally if it is burned. The fire will be their only salvation. "

She blindly believed that it was only made of skin and bones, and that she was dead, according to she was not really alive for what she did not need to eat, so she stopped consuming food taking her to the point of dying from starvation.

Although Cotard never reached a definitive conclusion of the causes that cause this strange mental phenomenon, it is assured that the syndrome depends quite a lot of other mental illnesses related to psychotic or delirious depressions and that they also manifest severely, in addition, of dementia, schizophrenia or psychosis.


The cases of this syndrome are poorly documented, but recently Belgian neurologist Steven Laureys of the University of Liege commented on his experience with a patient with this syndrome and said:

"I've been analyzing PET readings for 15 years and I've never seen anyone standing up, interacting with people, with such an abnormal scan result. Its brain function resembles that of a person during anesthesia or sleep. Seeing this pattern in someone who is awake is quite unique. "

Similarly the Mexican psychiatrist Dr. Jesús Ramírez, affirms that the patients who suffer this disease: "they have lost the rational and logical apparatus that we all have".

Another patient tragically famous for this disease is the Filipina "Lady L", named after the researchers, recently declared after emigrating to the United States that he smelled rotten meat and that he wanted to go to the cemetery to be with other dead people. Mrs. L admitted suffering from despair, low self-esteem, drowsiness and no appetite.


What causes this rare disease?

It is a complete mystery so far, why people get the disease, but researchers believe in the claim that people who have suffered from schizophrenia, parkinson's, brain diseases, psychotic depression or brain infections are more likely to suffer from disease.

However, there is no specific indicator to certify the causes of the development of the syndrome in people with mental illness.

Max Coltheart, a professor of cognitive science, brings us a little closer to the possible causes, with his hypothesis based on research done at Macquarie University, Australia; In which it affirms that there are two main factors that can generate the suffering:

  1. Degradation of the brain that prevents a person from reacting normally in his daily life, his body or his identity.

  2. Deterioration of the logical mechanisms of the brain that gives rise to the loss of rationality and the identity of being.

Currently due to the few studies that have been done, there is no concrete and effective treatment against this disease, but there are procedures that can improve the patient's condition, allowing him to lead a more normal life.

One of the first things to do to be sure that the patient does not suffer any other disease, such as Parkinson's, and if so, try to treat it first. In addition interpersonal therapies and psychotherapy can be done, as well as medicines and electroconvulsive therapy can be provided. What has worked well in patients with Cotard.

"Can you imagine you're dead? Can you imagine feeling like your body starts to be rotten? Can you imagine believing that you do not exist? Something truly Disturbing. "


  • It's an English translation of my Article!


Ese síndrome es muy raro amigo @carlos-cabeza, mejor veré películas de PIXAR jajaja

the movie Synecdoche New York deals with the syndrome very interestingly. @carlos-cabeza

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