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Zombies? Given that HBO's The Last of Us has swept the OTT globe by storm, I'm sure

you've heard of them by now. In the series, they illustrate how a fungus takes over the

human body and turns people into zombies, albeit this is the closest a person can come

to displaying similar traits in reality.

We'll be reading about Cotard syndrome, often known as “The walking corpse

syndrome” which is one of the rarest neurological conditions you'll ever come across.

There have only been 200 cases reported globally, and sufferers have delusions that

they are dead, putrefying, or have lost their blood or internal organs.

The disorder, which can also be thought of as a severe case of depression, hypochondria, or psychosis, is rare and still poorly understood. In his taxonomy and explanations for the disorder,

Jules Cotard, the French physician who first described the disease in 1880, focused on how it differed from traditional persecutory delusions and proposed that it might be a form of

inverted grandiosity. In the disintegration of mental imagery, he hypothesized a psychosensory basis, which he later expanded to a more general psychomotor impairment of volition.

When a two-factor explanation of delusions is taken into account, abnormalities in the

insular cortex and the prefrontal brain may be connected to the emergence of nihilistic

delusions. There are no physical manifestations of this disease and is considered to be

a disorder which along with depression is also associated with severe cases of

schizophrenia. No matter how intriguing it might sound, Cotard's syndrome is merely a


According to a review of 100 cases, melancholy mood (89%), nihilistic illusions about one's own existence (69%), anxiety (65%), delusions of guilt (63%), delusions of immortality (55%), and hypochondriac delusions (58%) are the most common symptoms of Cotard's syndrome.

As Cotard’s delusion usually occurs with other conditions, treatment options can vary widely. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and medications, such as antipsychotics and antidepressants are the primary means of treatment. Along with pharmacological management psychotherapy to help a person understand their delusions and manage them accordingly also helps overcome the condition. Complete recovery may occur as spontaneously and as suddenly as its onset, even in the most severe cases.

Despite the fact that Cotard's syndrome was initially reported more than a century ago,

there are only a few case reports in the literature. Even though the syndrome is

uncommon, more extensive research is required to better understand its

pathophysiologic basis and how it relates to other illusions of misidentification, including

Capgras syndrome. Although promising hypotheses have been developed, they lack

evidence-based support.


So this was it for this blog. I hope you guys liked it and if there are any thoughts you’d

like to share let us know below.

Similar to the walking dead, do you want to know what “locked-in” syndrome is?

Let us know in the comments ⬇️⬇️

Further reading:

1. DOI: 10.1159/000475679

2. DOI: 10.1080/13546805.2019.1676710

3. Debruyne, Hans & Portzky, Michael & Eynde, Frederique & Audenaert, Kurt.

(2009). Cotard's Syndrome: A Review.

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