A woman in Belgium was recently found in her garden by her brother clucking like a chicken and appeared to be utterly convinced she was indeed a chicken. The brother watched the woman blow up her cheeks as she built up what looked like a cackle, and then she started to crow like a rooster. Obviously thinking this was something beyond odd, he decided to rush her to the hospital emergency ward.
The unidentified 54-year-old married woman was examined by doctors as she expressed how strongly she believed she was a chicken and that she was feeling a new sensation in her legs. This was then followed by a generalised seizure. After her seizure subsided, the woman suddenly snapped out of her chicken identity and felt embarrassed after being told what happened. She had no recollection of the incident.
The records stated the woman had no history of alcohol abuse nor was she under the influence of drugs before the unusual episode took place. Upon further evaluation of her case, the woman was said to have been married for two decades and had a stable job working in a pharmacy when the death of a family member forced her to take leave from work for a year. She has since returned to work prior to her strange episode.
However, it would seem that the woman had been suffering from depression over her loss and it was found to be a common case among her relatives.
Psychiatrists cited the woman's case as an example of an under-reported mental health disorder linked to cases of psychotic depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. This particular case is known to researchers at KU Leuven University, Belgium as clinical zoanthropy- a mental condition where afflicted individuals have delusions and believe they are animals.
According to the case report, diagnosis of such cases have not been paid much attention to as patients have difficulty explaining their thoughts and feelings. About 56 medical and historical cases of zoanthropy have been recorded between the period of 1850 - 2012. Patients claimed to be a vast variety of animals ranging from a dog, cat, frog, rabbit, horse, bird, bee, snake, gerbil, goose, hyena, shark, lion, tiger, crocodile, and a rhinoceros.
The symptoms of this mental condition usually lasts from one hour to as long as several decades and have been most prevalent in rural areas. Although the authors of the report are still quite in the dark about this condition as it is still considered to be quite rare, the disorder may also be caused by underlying structural and functional disorders of the brain that would require further brain scanning and imaging.