Graham was once an ordinary teenager, living a life like every boy his age, until the day he awoke from a suicide attempt feeling as though his brain were dead. Graham was then diagnosed with the rare mental disorder, cotard’s delusion. "I loss my sense of smell and taste. I didn't need to eat, speak, or do anything," Graham explains. "I ended up spending time in the graveyard because that was the closest I could get to death." The doctors explained his condition like no other. CT scans showed his brain completely intact but his brain activity looked as if he had been in a coma. This is a usual case for victims suffering from this strange disorder.
Cotard's delusion, also known as the walking dead or cotard's syndrome was named after a man named Jules Cotard, a French neurologist who was the first to describe this condition. He found the symptoms which start with depression and suicidal thoughts, then develop into the idea their body doesn't exist, is already dead, they are immortal, they have no blood or internal organs, or their body is rotting. The sufferer imagines that they are decomposing, dead, or non-existent. The disease is more often found in older patients with depression; or patients who suffer from disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, brain injury, brain atrophy, seizure disorders, depression, brain tumors and much more. Women are more likely to suffer from the disease than men. Some patients have died from this disease because they starved themselves to death since they no longer believed they needed food/water to survive.
There are three different stage; germination, blooming, and chronic stage. In the Germination stage, the patient shows characteristic features of depressive mood, extreme worry of unwellness and excessive fear of one’s illness. Blooming stage consists of the patient experiencing true features of the syndrome (delusion of being dead or immortal); this stage is often associated with anxiety and negativism. Lastly the Chronic stage is where the individual shows severe depression due to emotional disturbances.
Diagnosing cotard’s syndrome is based on the patient's history and symptoms. Blood tests, CT scans, MRI’s, SPECT’s, and electroencephalogram are all the different types of tests that are used to exclude other conditions as well as to diagnose associated diseases.