Catatonia: Definition, Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

Catatonia: Definition, Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

Catatonia results in a disruption of the motor system and mood. It is characterised by periods of passivity and negativity that alternate with sudden excessive motor activity. Read below to learn more about this condition. 

Everything You Need To Know About Catatonia

1. What it is: Catatonia is characterised by significant psychomotor disruption and can occur in the context of various disorders, particularly bipolar and mood disorders (manic episodes) and in some patients with schizophrenia. Catatonia is not uncommon since it affects about 10% of patients hospitalised in psychiatric hospitals. It can occur in both children and adults.

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2. Symptoms: Catatonia is often acute and is characterised by various motor symptoms such as: mutism, negativism (opposition or lack of response to external stimuli), absence of psychomotor activity and interaction, catalepsy (maintenance of imposed postures), adoption of a spontaneous posture defying the laws of gravity, grimaces, repetitive behaviours, automatic obedience, repetition of the words or movements of the person in front of them, sudden agitation without external cause, and body rigidity. 

3. Causes: The causes of catatonia remain relatively unknown, but mood disorders, schizophrenia and post-traumatic shock can all lead to a catatonic state. The origin of the syndrome can also come from a disruption of the frontal brain circuits, encephalitis, brain tumour, epilepsy, head trauma or a cerebrovascular accident (CVA). Certain drugs such as ecstasy or amphetamines can also, in rare cases, plunge the consumer into a catatonic state.

4. Treatments: Catatonia is treated first with benzodiazepines. If it is set up quickly, the treatment is safe and effective and leads to remission in 70 to 80% of cases. When the patient's condition does not improve, electroconvulsive therapy (electroshock method) may be considered.

Will Armstrong
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