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The living being dead: Cotard syndrome presenting as a dead spirit

Authors:

Miyuru Chandradasa ,

University of Kelaniya, Ragama, LK
About Miyuru
Faculty of Medicine
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P. K. D. H. J. L. De Silva Rajaratne,

National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo, LK
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Chirantha Kuruppuarachchi,

Sir John Kotelawala Defense University, Colombo, LK
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K. A. L. A. Kuruppuarachchi

University of Kelaniya, Ragama, LK
About K. A. L. A.
Faculty of Medicine
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Abstract

Jules Cotard described a syndrome with melancholic anxiety, delusions of possession, ideas of suicide and, thoughts of the non-existence of their own body and/or soul. ‘Perethaya’ is a greedy dead spirit recognized in Sri Lankan culture who expresses a dangerous longing for food until their subsequent incarnation. A 68-year-old female previously diagnosed with depressive disorder stated she is deceased and turned to a ‘perethaya’. She ate from garbage bins and attempted to consume water from toilet bowls as a ‘perethaya’ would do. A 42-year-old male diagnosed with recurrent depression stated he has died and is now a ‘perethaya’. He believed any person who would talk to him is dead as well. These reports present a culturally unique way of Cotard syndrome in Sri Lanka.
How to Cite: Chandradasa, M., De Silva Rajaratne, P.K.D.H.J.L., Kuruppuarachchi, C. and Kuruppuarachchi, K.A.L.A., 2020. The living being dead: Cotard syndrome presenting as a dead spirit. Sri Lanka Journal of Medicine, 29(2), pp.83–85. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljm.v29i2.197
Published on 15 Dec 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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