Instructor: S. Jone
November 7, 2011
The Walking Dead Syndrome
The Walking Dead syndrome is considered a rare disease. I believe everyone in this existence has a purpose on this vast place we call earth. However, there are people diagnosed with a syndrome who believe they have no soul or convinced themselves they are dead. The “Walking Dead Syndrome” is also commonly known as “Cotard’s Syndrome”. In this paper, I will refer this syndrome as “Cotard’s syndrome”. Cotard’s syndrome is linked with other mental illnesses which could explain a person’s state of mind of feeling non-existent in society. I will further discuss eight aspects of this syndrome: defining the Walking Dead Syndrome, defining mental illness, description of several mental illnesses associated with this syndrome, classifications of Cotard’s syndrome, analysis of patients, diagnosis of syndrome, and types of treatments available for patients. Defining Walking Dead Syndrome or Cotard’s Syndrome
Many people I discussed this topic with never heard of the “Walking Dead Syndrome”. The Walking Dead Syndrome was first created by French neurologist, Jules Cotard, hence, named the “Cotard’s Syndrome”. He was a French neurologist who first described this psychiatric condition. First reference to the syndrome was made in the year 1880, when Jules Cotard gave a lecture in Paris. In this lecture, he described various degrees of the syndrome, while he said that a person who resorts to despair and self-hatred begins in the early stages of this disorder. With deterioration, the person might go to the extent of denying the very existence of himself or herself. There are detached from the sense of existence of self (“Cotard Syndrome” 2010). Patients portray themselves similar to the concept of “zombies”. Hollywood has portrayed horror and science fiction based movies on “zombies” or the “walking dead”. In the movies, zombies are typically mean and fond of human flesh, they groan and cannot talk, have incredible strength, and display rotting flesh. A zombie is physically identical to a normal human being, but completely lacks conscious experience. If we suddenly lost our minds, or consciousness our bodies might continue to run on for a while, our hearts might continue to beat, we might breathe while asleep and digest food. But without the contribution made by minds, behavior could not show characteristically human features. In the Urban Dictionary, 1999-2011, a zombie is defined “as deceased human being who has partially returned to life due to undeterminable causes. The brain retains base facilities, namely gross motor function. In its near-mindless state, it grasps no remains of emotion, personality, or sensation of pain. In rare cases, some of the reanimated have reflexively preformed routine activities from their past lives”. The people diagnosed with Walking Dead Syndrome have similar portrayals including not having internal organs and smelling of rotting flesh. A hypothetical analogy can be explained when most of us have woken up after a really good night out. Our first drive in the morning was motivated by a desire for food and coffee. If we as a society experience a chemical or radiological contamination, we might be experiencing the hangover from hell. Our higher thought would be destroyed, the neural system would be degraded, and leave just the body running on its primary functions. Defining Mental Illness
Since the beginning of man, I think there has been mental illness, and chemical imbalance generates a huge part, and some people just do not have the ability to use parts of their brain for reason and logic.
According to to Sorrentino, Wilk, and Newmaster (2009), a mental illness can be: “caused by a combination of genetic, biological, personality, and environmental factors, is a disturbance in a person’s ability to cope with or adjust to stress; the person’s thinking, mood, and...