Cotard's syndrome is a neuropsychiatric disease characterized by a variety of nihilistic delusions, commonly associated with several psychotic and major affective disorders, and neurological diseases, including stroke, dementia, and mental retardation. A 39-year-old male with mental retardation developed Cotard's syndrome, following an important episode of fear. During admission to our neurological unit, the patient underwent an accurate assessment, including neuroradiological, clinical, and neuropsychological examinations. At the psychiatric evaluation, he presented nihilistic delusions, in which he negated the existence of his body parts and the existence of his family members. The neuropsychological assessment ruled out other possible causes of misidentification, including the post-traumatic stress disorder. Thus, since also organic causes of Cotard's syndrome were excluded, the correlation between fear and the syndrome has been postulated and the patient opportunely treated, using a multidisciplinary approach. Our case suggests that in predisposed individuals negative emotions, including fear, may lead to delusional syndromes.
- Intellectual Disability/psychology
- Mental Disorders/etiology