Cotard Syndrome

The Cotard Syndrome (also known as Cotard delusion or Walking Corpse Syndrome) is named after a French neurologist, Jules Cotard, who first described the syndrome in 1880. It is a rare mental disorder in which patients holds the delusional belief that they are already dead, do not exist, are putrefying or have lost their all of her blood or internal organs[1].

In early stages of the problem patients exhibit psychotic depression, schizophrenia and hypochondrial symptoms. In the end patients suffer from severe delusions and chronic depression. The question remain if it should be considered as an distinct disorder or rather as a morbidity of other mental disorders.

The symptoms of Cotard Syndrome are rather similar to the ones from some other related syndromes: [1] Capgras Syndrome, [2] Fregoli Delusion, [3] Intermetamorphosis and [4] the Syndrome of subjective doubles.
[1] Capgras syndrome (also known as Capgras Delusion) is a disorder in which a patient holds a delusion that a spouse, parent or friend has been replaced by an identical-looking imposter. This syndrome is named after the French psychologist Joseph Capgras, who first described the condition in 1923.
[2] Fregoli Delusion (also known as the delusion of doubles) is a disorder in which the patient believes that various people he of she meets are actually the same person in disguise. The syndrome is named after the Italian actor Leopoldo Fregoli, who was renowned for his ability to make quick changes of appearance during his stage act.
[3] Intermetamorphosis is a disorder in which the patient is believing that he or she can see others change into someone else both external appearance and internal personality.
[4] The syndrome of subjective doubles is a rare disorder in which a patient is experiencing the delusion that he or she has a double or doppelgänger with the same appearance, but usually with different character traits and leading a life of its own.

[1] Van der Eynde et al: Het syndroom van Cotard: Een overzicht in Tijdschrift voor de Psychiatrie - 2008 (pdf here)

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