Living zombies. What disease causes people to pretend to be dead? | Healthy life | Health

In Ecuador, a woman who was declared dead woke up in a coffin, which frightened her relatives preparing for the funeral a lot. Such cases, when people who do not show signs of life for several days, suddenly come to life, happen periodically. The cause is an unusual disease called catalepsy. She has other striking manifestations, where patients act like zombies.

About a strange disease and related stories told Chairman of the Moscow City Scientific Society of Therapists, Professor Pavel Vorobyov.

What Happens When the Brain “Fools”

Catalepsy is a severe brain disorder. Initially, it is attributed to one of the variants of schizophrenia. But it can also be of an organic nature, in particular, it can develop with strokes. Therefore, it is not surprising that a woman had a stroke and then catalepsy developed. Is it possible. There are also hysterical options (meaning hysteria as a form of mental disorder).

The brain ceases to regulate muscle movements. Why and how, no one really knows. What happens there is shrouded in mystery. But outwardly, this is surprising to everyone, because patients can be in completely unimaginable positions for a long time. For example, a person himself cannot move, but you can raise his hand, and he will keep it in this position for days, maybe months. A person can be placed in an arc, and for some time he will stand in this given position.

What is known about these patients?

There are many amazing stories associated with catalepsy. Before the Great Patriotic War, we have in the First Honey (now Sechenov University – approx. order.) there was a whole division of cataleptics. When the evacuation was announced, they all stood up together and went to evacuate. And when they were brought to the place, they lay down in the same positions in which they lay in Moscow. This is the legend that I heard as a student. We were told about this at the Department of Psychiatry.

The second story is rather unpleasant, also connected with the war. The fact is that patients with catalepsy in some extreme situations suddenly begin to actively move. For example, a cataleptic could run after a tram. Suppose he was being led, suddenly it was necessary to catch up with the tram, and he ran. And this became the reason for accusing people of simulation, they were shot as deserters. Although in fact it is a variant of the disease.

Why are the Cataleptics declared dead?

If a person does not move, his breathing becomes superficial, almost indistinguishable, he is in the position in which he was placed, then it is difficult to understand that he is still alive. They laid him in a coffin – and lies like a woman from Ecuador.

Can catalepsy be cured?

Treatment has not yet been developed. Psychiatrists are trying to find methods of influencing the psyche, drugs. But, firstly, different diseases can lead to catalepsy – stroke, schizophrenia, hysteria, and everyone needs their own approach. Secondly, the effectiveness of therapy, apparently, is not very high.

How do zombies become?

Risk factors for catalepsy include schizophrenia, hysterical reactions, heredity, and genetic disorders.

I will suggest that the development of catalepsy may also be associated with infections. Psychiatric illness is a functional failure in the body. But we know that morphological changes in the structures of the body are behind the dysfunctions. In particular, inflammation can lead to thrombovasculitis (inflammation of the walls of small vessels with the formation of blood clots). It is possible that psychiatric syndromes may be related to inflammatory diseases. In any case, among psychiatrists today, the inflammatory origin of functional diseases is often discussed.

And what is then a lethargic dream?

I do not rule out that catalepsy and lethargy are very close things. After all, catalepsy can happen spontaneously, without any strokes. So lethargic sleep can also be a variant of catalepsy. Although lethargy as a disease is not described in scientific medicine, it occurs only in works of art.

By the way, there is also such a phenomenon as sleepwalking. It is also a completely incomprehensible situation: why do people walk in their sleep, how do they succeed, how do they not fall. In general, a person is a big mystery.


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