My Body Is Rotting: A case report of Cotard’s syndrome in a postpartum woman

  • 1 Psychiatry Student Research Group I Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Early Intervention, Medical University of Lublin
  • 2 I Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Early Intervention, Medical University of Lublin
  • 3 Department of Psychiatric Nursing, Medical University of Lublin


Introduction: Cotard's syndrome (CS) is a rare set of psychopathological symptoms, the main symptom of which is nihilistic delusions concerning the negation of the existence of internal organs or the entire body

Aim, material and methodology: The aim of the study is to present a case of a patient treated for postpartum depression who developed Cotard's syndrome. The patient's symptoms began immediately after her daughter. The clinical picture was dominated by anxiety and apathy, nihilistic delusions about the atrophy of the urethra and other lower abdominal organs, and olfactory hallucinations - she could smell rot.

Discussion: The available literature on Cotard’s Syndrome does not allow us to indicate a certain reason for its development. Perhaps the birth of the first child - the woman doubted herself as a mother, she was afraid that she would hurt the cause of the disorders observed and described by us was transient ischemia of the CNS during delivery.

Conclusions: Cotard's syndrome can develop in the course of many mental and somatoform disorders. The described case is, to our knowledge, the first description of Cotard’s Syndrome in the deprivation period. Difficulties in establishing the etiopathogenesis and pathophysiology of Cotard’s Syndrome translate into therapeutic problems. It has been suggested that the treatment of the underlying disorder on the basis of which CS is developed remains the most effective method of therapy.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • 1. Dieguez S. Cotard Syndrome. Front Neurosci. 2018; 42: 23-34. doi: 10.1159/000475679.

  • 2. Cipriani G, Nuti A, Danti S, Picchi L, Di Fiorino M. “I am dead”: Cotard syndrome and dementia. International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice. 2019;1–8. doi:10.1080/13651501.2018.1529248

  • 3. Międzynarodowa Statystyczna Klasyfikacja Chorób i Problemów Zdrowotnych; 2008. Available from:

  • 4. First MB, Reed GM, Hyman SE, Saxena S. The development of the ICD-11 clinical descriptions and diagnostic guidelines for mental and behavioural disorders. World Psychiatry. 2015;14(1):82–90. doi: 10.1002/wps.20189.

  • 5. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 5. Washington, DC; 2013 Google Scholar

  • 6. Leis K, Gapska D, Aleksiewicz T, Litwin K, Miętkiewicz K, Gałązka P. Cotard’s syndrome – a review. Psychiatria i psychologia kliniczna. 2018; 3: 320–324

  • 7. Yalın S, Varol Taş F, Güvenir T. The coexistence of Capgras, Fregoli and Cotard’s syndromes in an adolescent case. Noro Psikiyatr Ars (Archives of Neuropsychiatry) 2008; 45: 149–151.

  • 8. Debruyne H, Portzky M, Van den Eynde F, Audenaert K. Cotard's syndrome: A review. Current Psychiatry Reports. 2009;11: 197– 202. doi:10.1007/s11920-009-0031-z

  • 9. Sahoo A, Josephs KA. A neuropsychiatric analysis of the Cotard delusion. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2018; 30: 58–65

  • 10. Berrios GE, Luque R. Cotard's syndrome: analysis of 100 cases. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. 1995; 91: 185–188. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0447.1995.tb09764.x

  • 11. Enoch D, Ball H. Cotard's syndrome (Le délire de négation). In Uncommon Psychiatric Syndromes. 2001; 4:155–178. London: Arnold.

  • 12. Soultanian C, Perisse D, Révah-Levy A, Luque R, Mazet P, Cohen D. Cotard's syndrome in adolescents and young adults: A possible onset of bipolar disorder requiring a mood stabilizer? Journal of Child & Adolescent Psychopharmacology. 2005;15: 706–711. doi:10.1089/cap.2005.15.706

  • 13. BC Reproductive Mental Health Program & Perinatal Services BC. British Colombia Best Practice Guidelines for Mental Health Disorders in the Perinatal Period; 2014. Google

  • 14. Lindén T, Helldén A. Cotard’s syndrome as an adverse effect of acyclovir treatment in renal failure. Journal of the Neurological Sciences. 2013; 333, e650. doi:10.1016/j.jns.2013.07.2255

  • 15. Charakterystyka produktu leczniczego. Urząd rejestracji Produktów Leczniczych, Wyrobów Medycznych i Produktów Biobójczych; [from 18th of March 2011] Available from: http://

  • 16. Takahashi T, Yamazaki I, Harada Y, Osada R, Yui S, Tanabe H et al. Case reports of Cotard's syndrome in Japan: a review. Psychogeriatrics; 2020. doi:10.1111/psyg.12536


Journal + Issues