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The Cotard delusion or Cotard's syndrome, also known as nihilistic or negation delusion, is a rare neuropsychiatric disorder in which a person holds a delusional belief that he or she is dead, does not exist, is putrefying or has lost his/her blood or internal organs. Rarely, it can include delusions of immortality.
Additional recommended knowledge
In this lecture, Cotard described a patient with the moniker of Mademoiselle X, who denied the existence of God, the Devil, several parts of her body and denied she needed to eat. Later she believed she was eternally damned and could no longer die a natural death.
Young and Leafhead (1996, p155) describe a modern-day case of Cotard delusion in a patient who suffered brain injury after a motorcycle accident:
Neurologically, Cotard's is thought to be related to Capgras's Syndrome, and both are thought to result from a disconnect between the brain areas that recognize faces (fusiform face areas) and the areas that associate emotions with that recognition (the amygdala and other limbic structures). This disconnect creates a sense that the face that's seen is not the person's it purports to be because although it is identical with the face it purports to be, it lacks the familiarity it should have. If it is a relative's face, it is experienced as an imposter's (Capgras); if it is mine, I conclude that because I don't have the usual emotional context of self-familiarity associated with the face, I am dead (Cotard).
Treatment is difficult, and tricyclic and serotoninergic antidepressant drugs have shown little efficacy. Electroconvulsive therapy has shown greater promise, "curing" Cotard's sufferers in five studies of its efficacy with that treatment.
External links and references
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Cotard_delusion". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.