What is the Cotard Delusion?

C. Daw

The Cotard delusion is an extremely rare neuropsychiatric disorder that affects the normal thought patterns of the person afflicted. The person believes that they are either dead, that their blood or organs have been removed, or that they are slowly decomposing. In very rare instances, people with this medical condition also think that they are immortal. Cotard delusion, also known as the Walking Dead Syndrome or Walking Corpse Syndrome, has various different symptoms that can be associated with it, and there are a few treatments that a medical professional may attempt in order to cure it.

Many people that are self proclaimed vampires or zombies are actually victims of the Cotard delusion.
Many people that are self proclaimed vampires or zombies are actually victims of the Cotard delusion.

The symptoms most commonly associated with this condition, are that the patient has a feeling of being dead. They will make various references to diseases and illnesses that could have done this to them, and they truly believe that they are actually dead. Most of these cases can be attributed to various different brain trauma incidents, which goes along with the idea that this condition is based from the sections of the brain that control face recognition and the emotions that are associated with it. This makes them believe that they are not truly in the world of the living, because they have no recognition, or feelings, for anybody that is around them.

Many people that are self proclaimed vampires or zombies are actually victims of this condition. They have serious delusions about who or what they are, and so they go along with the notion that they have become a part of the undead underground. This notion is perpetrated through various sources, including cults and groups that can be found throughout the world. Even though this is not the case, people with Cotard delusion actually believe the thoughts and ideas that run through their heads.

No true cure for Cotard delusion conditions have been found to date. Many doctors will try antidepressants because they seem to have some effect, as well as electroconvulsive shock treatments. These are the only two options available as treatment plans for people that have the Walking Dead Syndrome. Some treatments also include therapy sessions in order to try and work the delusional thoughts out. Trained therapists need to extract the information that they need. In this way, the medical community hopes to be able to help people with this medical condition with proper medications and advanced therapy techniques.

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Discussion Comments


I need to know the short term and long term prognosis for this disease. If I can get that, it would be great and helpful. Thank you!


I have chosen this topic for my college research paper and I found this article incredibly insightful and informative but in order to use it I would have to prove the author's credentials (and probably the editor's too). If it's just "psych undergrad" or something like that it would be incredibly helpful, thank you.

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