With the popularity of shows like The Walking Dead and events like annual zombie walks held throughout the country, it’s easy to see that the undead are hugely popular in America right now. But what if I told you that there really is a medical condition that will turn you into a walking corpse?
It’s true. Sort of. It’s a are disorder called Cotard’s Syndrome, or as it’s more widely known, Walking Corpse Syndrome, and a man named Graham is one of the very few people who suffer from it.
The subject in question known only as “Graham” developed full-fledged Walking Corpse Syndrome after a suicide attempt, since that time he has held a deep belief that he managed to kill his brain in the process.
This is not uncommon for those suffering from Cotard’s Syndrome. According to the New Scientist, Walking Corpse Syndrome is described as a disorder where the sufferer believes they or parts of their body suddenly do not exist. Scientific American describes the cause of Cotard’s Syndrome as:
“…misfiring in the fusiform face areas of the brain, which recognizes faces, and also in the amygdala, which adds emotions to those recognitions. The result is a lack of emotion when viewing familiar faces and the result disconnection can result in complete detachment. Viewing one’s own face in this condition can lead to a lack of association between their reflections or projected self and their own sense of self, leading to a belief that one doesn’t exist.”
Aside from being an incredibly bizarre disorder, Walking Corpse Syndrome is also incredibly dangerous for those suffering from its symptoms. Some patients have even died from starvation and neglect, as care for the health of their bodies does not seem like a necessity any longer.
“All the things I was interested in went away. I lost my sense of smell and my sense of taste. There was no point in eating because I was dead,” Graham explained to New Scientist.
Neurologists were shocked at what they found when PET scans were run on Graham.
“Graham’s brain function resembles that of someone during anesthesia or sleep. Seeing this pattern in someone who is awake is quite unique to my knowledge,” neurologist Steven Laureys, told the magazine.
Luckily in recent months with the proper medication and therapy Graham has been able to feel somewhat himself again, and though some of the symptoms still remain, with proper care doctors are hopeful that his Walking Corpse Syndrome will be cured for good.
Therapy is a much nicer solution to the undead than the messy business of removing the head or destroying the brain. I’m sure therapists will have plenty to say about that weird oral fixation too.