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A curious case of a woman who believed she was receiving email directly into her body near to where a diamond teddy bear was residing, published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry:

We report the case of an elderly lady with no experience of using a personal computer or internet technology, whose delusional experiences included the direct personal receipt of email. Ms T, an 84-year old female with a 40-year history of schizoaffective disorder, presented with a delusional belief that something precious and of value ‘for all people’ had been inserted into her body by a doctor in Germany in the 1950s.

She had sought medical help because she believed that an abdominal operative procedure would be necessary to remove a ‘‘rat and a teddy bear made of diamonds’’ that she believed had grown within her. Following admission, she remained highly guarded, distressed and preoccupied with the need of urgent surgery, which she demanded every time she met her medical team.

When asked about the origins of this belief and her desire for surgery, she said that she had gained knowledge about this from a friend, whom she had seen last in 1945. She explained that she received emails from this friend. These arrived in her mind, exactly like electronic mail, but were managed without a computer. Rather than receiving messages in text form, she received what she described as ‘an impression in my mind’, which conveyed an unequivocal meaning to her.

She also believed that her friend had some valuable information for the medical team and that he would be able to contact the senior physician by a similar mechanism. Following 4 weeks of treatment with risperidone 1.0 mg bd her mental state improved to the point where she stopped receiving the emails, gained insight into her primary belief and told us that she was satisfied that surgery was no longer needed.

Link to PubMed entry for case study.

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