Psychogenic death is a terrible condition,which occurs when a person refuses to live. It is important to note that this is not suicide and the condition itself is in no way associated with depression. In fact, this is an act of giving up life, which usually occurs within a few days or weeks and is a real state. Scientists believe that psychogenic death is often associated with severe trauma. So, there are cases when people died three days or three weeks after a serious injury that made them radically reconsider their desire to live. This syndrome is known as “voodoo death” to the general public, as it has often been observed in some tribes where people believed that they were cursed. Today, scientists distinguish five stages that accompany psychogenic death, and in 2018 the world's first study of this phenomenon saw the light of day. According to the results obtained, while in a state of psychogenic death, a person perceives the desire to die as a rational act. But how is this possible? Is it really possible to die simply by losing the desire to live?
It turns out you can. At least this conclusion was made by scientists from the University of Portsmouth in the UK in a study according to which, severe trauma can lead to disruption of the anterior cingulate cortex in some people. As the lead author of the study explained in an interview for Big Think, motivation to live is necessary in order to cope with life's difficulties, but if this fails, apathy is almost inevitable.
However, even if you are in a conditionpsychogenic death, it is not necessary to die: for example, physical activity can give a person the feeling of regaining choice and control over what is happening and can help break the terrible cycle that can lead to death. It’s all because of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with a sense of reward and pleasure that is produced during sports.
Voodoo magic - A complex of witchcraft and magical practices based on the traditional beliefs of African Aborigines.
Psychogenic death was first described in 1942psychologist Walter Cannon of Harvard University, who noticed that this condition is often caused by fear of supernatural forces because of violated generally accepted rules. So, people who were cursed and especially in front of everyone - for this the shaman only had to wave his wand - often really died in a few days. Cannon believed that the victim could notto determine the classic reaction of the body to danger - hit or run, which led to death. It is important to note that psychogenic death syndrome is not recognized by some scientists.
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The stages of voodoo death
Dr. Leach has identified five stages of progressive psychological decline, which leads to death:
- Social withdrawal, usually follows an emotional shock, because of which a person thinks that there is no reasonable way out of this situation. This is a very passive state. characterized by a departure from social interaction, insensibility, indifference and self-centeredness. Very often this condition is observed in the formerprisoners of war immediately after capture. If you do nothing, then death occurs on average three weeks after the first stage, but it can happen earlier.
- Apathy - a person in this condition suffers seriousmelancholy and lack of energy. He no longer cares about self-preservation and instead plunges into a deep demoralizing melancholy - a painfully depressed state, a spleen.
- Abulia occurs when a person not only lacks motivation, but also almost no emotional reaction, and to such an extent that no desire to talk. A person in a state of psychogenic death becomes extremely withdrawn, does not want to help himself and other people.
- Mental akinesia - this condition is achieved when a personis conscious, but is in such a deep apathy that even severe pain, like from a blow, will not cause any reaction. A person in mental akinesia not only does not wash, but often simply lies in his own waste, the researchers found out.
- In the final stage, psychogenic death includes complete rejection of life. It is believed that those who have reached this stage,they can lie in their own excrement and nothing - neither talk, nor the use of force, nor prayers will make a person want to live. As you know, when prisoners in concentration camps reached the last stage, they took out a hidden cigarette to smoke. Because cigarettes were extremely valuable and could be exchanged for food, the smoking man was looked at as the one who really gave up. Death usually occurred within a few days.
What do you think, is psychogenic death real or are there other explanations for death from unwillingness to live? Share your answer in the comments on this article and with the participants in our Telegram chat.
About whether euphoria really awaits us before death, read in this article