What Is the Walking Corpse Syndrome?



Cotard delusion — commonly known as the “walking corpse syndrome” was first described by neurologist Dr. Jules Cotard in 1882. It’s a mental disorder that covers a series of psychotic delusions, ranging from a person’s belief that they’ve lost all their internal organs, to their certainty that they’re actually dead. There’s a common theme with the walking corpse syndrome: all of part of your body is dead or decaying. It’s not clear how many people suffer from this baffling disorder, but it’s definitely not common. The exact cause of Cotard delusion is unknown. So, how is this disorder treated. The most common treatment option is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). People who undergo ECT are put under general anesthesia, after which doctors pass electric currents through the brain, triggering a brief seizure that causes changes in brain chemistry that can quickly reverse symptoms of certain mental health conditions. Since ECT can be risky, other treatment options may be considered first, such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and behavioral therapy.