By Nsunjo Erica
A 54-year-old Belgium woman who was found by her brother in her garden clucking and crowing like a rooster told doctors she thought she was a chicken and described feeling a sudden change in her legs.
However, according to scientists, this condition is called Zoanthropy.
A report by The Guardian showed researchers at KU Leuven in Belgium also referred to the condition as madness involving the delusion of being an animal, believing oneself is not human, following any forms of stress.
According to reports, the married woman whose name was not revealed had no history of any drug or alcohol abuse before the sudden change of behavior to chicken-like. The report further showed her brother found her in her garden blowing out her cheeks and crowing like a rooster before he decided to take her to hospital.
While at the hospital, the woman told doctors she believed she was a chicken and described feeling a new sensation in her legs. It was only when she suffered a seizure that she appeared to snap out of the delusion.
After the seizure, the woman regained her normality and later had little memory of acting like a chicken and was embarrassed when her family told her what had happened and her wired behavior.
According to sources, the woman had for a long time been suffering from depression since the death of a family member which explains her change of character and weirdness.
According to researchers from a university in the Flemish city in the Tijdschrift Voor Psychiatrie medical journal, such cases of zoanthropy have gone unreported. Clinical zoanthropy, or the conviction of having turned into an animal, is a rare delusion,’ researchers wrote.
Researchers added that this delusion can occur with an underlying psychiatric disorder, but it can also be secondary to structural or functional disorders of the brain. There have been 56 examples of the illness in medical and historical literature between 1850 and 2012.
Doctors say that some patients have described thinking they are a dog, lion, tiger, hyena, shark, crocodile, frog, bovine, cat, goose, rhinoceros, rabbit, horse, snake, bird, wild boar, gerbil, and a bee and many other creatures.
The condition has been linked to underlying psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, psychotic depression, and bipolar mood disorder. Symptoms can typically last from one hour to several decades with delusions more common in rural and non-industrial areas.
The most common symptoms of depression are sadness, fatigue, and disinterest, however, some rare few victims tend to lose their humanity completely by assuming the identity of an animal.