Definition of Cotard's Syndrome

Reviewed on 7/16/2020

Cotard's syndrome: Delusions of non-existence concerning one's own body characterize this rare neuropsychiatric condition. These may progress to the extent of having delusions of immortality or feeling that they are dead or never existed. The exact cause of Cotard's syndrome is not well understood, but it has been associated with severe depression, as well as a number of emotional and physical disorders. Other symptoms can include

  • negation of mind, brain, and intellect;
  • denial of pregnancy;
  • denial of existence of various aspects of body or self;
  • denial of being alive;
  • denial of self-movement; or
  • denial of capacity to eat (self-starvation).

Those affected may also deny the existence of the world, marriages, parents, or children. Cotard's syndrome is also known as walking corpse syndrome or nihilistic delusion.

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References
Grover, et al. "Cotard's syndrome: Two case reports and a brief review of literature." J Neurosci Rural Pract 5(Suppl 1) Nov. 2014: S59-S62.

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