Walking Corpse Syndrome

Cotard delusion — also known as “walking corpse syndrome" — is a rare condition marked by the false belief that you or your body parts are dead, dying, or don’t exist. It usually occurs with severe depression and some psychotic disorders. One of the main symptoms of the condition is the belief that nothing has any value or meaning. It can also include the belief that nothing exists. People with walking corpse syndrome feel as if they’re dead, or never existed to begin with. While some people feel this way about their entire body, others only feel it in regard to specific organs or limbs. Researchers aren’t sure what causes Cotard delusion, but there are a few possible risk factors. Several studies indicate that the average age of people who develop the condition is under 25 and are typically women. In addition, it seems to occur more often in people who think their personal characteristics, rather than their environment, cause their behavior. Diagnosing the condition is difficult because most organizations don’t recognize it as a disease. In most cases, it’s only diagnosed after other possible conditions have been ruled out. Treatment options vary widely, but it has been found that electroconvulsive therapy (“electroshock therapy”) is the most commonly used treatment. While it can be hard to get the right diagnosis and treatment, it usually responds well to a mix of therapy and medication.