Summary: A neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by one or more of the following essential features: immobility, mutism, negativism (active or passive refusal to follow commands), mannerisms, stereotypies, posturing, grimacing, excitement, echolalia, echopraxia, muscular rigidity, and stupor; sometimes punctuated by sudden violent outbursts, panic, or hallucinations. This condition may be associated with psychiatric illnesses (e.g., SCHIZOPHRENIA; MOOD DISORDERS) or organic disorders (NEUROLEPTIC MALIGNANT SYNDROME; ENCEPHALITIS, etc.). (From DSM-IV, 4th ed, 1994; APA, Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms, 1994)

Top Publications

  1. Fink M, Taylor M, Ghaziuddin N. Catatonia in autistic spectrum disorders: a medical treatment algorithm. Int Rev Neurobiol. 2006;72:233-44 pubmed
    ..Assessing the elements of the syndrome for the presence of depression, psychosis, mania, or catatonia, offers opportunities for systematic intervention...
  2. Yanagawa Y, Miyazaki M. [Case with difficulty in differentiating between transient neuroleptic malignant syndrome and catatonia after neuroleptic analgesia]. Masui. 2010;59:235-7 pubmed
    ..our hospital, she exhibited immobility, mutism, rigidity, and catalepsy, and she was suspected of having lethal catatonia. Infusion of diazepam 10 mg resulted in dramatical improvement of her symptoms...
  3. Stober G, Seelow D, Ruschendorf F, Ekici A, Beckmann H, Reis A. Periodic catatonia: confirmation of linkage to chromosome 15 and further evidence for genetic heterogeneity. Hum Genet. 2002;111:323-30 pubmed
    We earlier reported significant evidence for linkage on chromosome 15q15 in periodic catatonia, a sub-phenotype of schizophrenic psychoses...
  4. Hung Y, Yang P, Huang T. Clozapine in schizophrenia patients with recurrent catatonia: report of two cases. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2006;60:256-8 pubmed
    Prolonged catatonia can be a source of extremely serious morbidity and mortality. Lorazepam is effective in rapidly relieving most cases of catatonia...
  5. Trivedi H, Mendelowitz A, Fink M. Gilles de la Tourette form of catatonia: response to ECT. J ECT. 2003;19:115-7 pubmed
  6. Van Den Eede F, Sabbe B. Catatonia in psychiatric classification. Am J Psychiatry. 2004;161:2327-8; author reply 2328 pubmed
  7. Ito F, Kondo N, Fukushima S, Suzuki K, Awata S, Matsuoka H. Catatonia induced by idiopathic hypertrophic pachymeningitis. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2010;32:447.e7-447.e10 pubmed publisher
    We describe the case of a 63-year-old woman with catatonia induced by idiopathic hypertrophic pachymeningitis (IHP). The patient was treated for IHP with prednisolone for approximately 1 year...
  8. Elia J, Dell M, Friedman D, Zimmerman R, Balamuth N, Ahmed A, et al. PANDAS with catatonia: a case report. Therapeutic response to lorazepam and plasmapheresis. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2005;44:1145-50 pubmed
    ..Hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention improved with lorazepam, suggesting that the attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms could be manifestations of catatonia.
  9. Marra D, Amoura Z, Soussan N, Haroche J, Consoli A, Ghillami Dalbin P, et al. Plasma exchange in patients with stuporous catatonia and systemic lupus erythematosus. Psychother Psychosom. 2008;77:195-6 pubmed publisher

More Information


  1. van der Heijden F, Tuinier S, Arts N, Hoogendoorn M, Kahn R, Verhoeven W. Catatonia: disappeared or under-diagnosed?. Psychopathology. 2005;38:3-8 pubmed
    ..Over the last century, especially during the latter half, the prevalence of the diagnosis of catatonic schizophrenia decreased considerably. Several explanations for this phenomenon have been put forward...
  2. Consoli A, Benmiloud M, Wachtel L, Dhossche D, Cohen D, Bonnot O. Electroconvulsive therapy in adolescents with the catatonia syndrome: efficacy and ethics. J ECT. 2010;26:259-65 pubmed publisher
    In child and adolescent psychiatry, catatonia is infrequent, but it is one of the most severe syndromes, characterized by the coexistence of psychic and motor symptoms...
  3. NISWANDER G, HASLERUD G, Mitchell G. EFFECT OF CATATONIA ON SCHIZOPHRENIC MORTALITY. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1963;9:548-51 pubmed
  4. Malur C, Pasol E, Francis A. ECT for prolonged catatonia. J ECT. 2001;17:55-9 pubmed
    Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is highly effective for acute catatonia but its use in prolonged catatonia is not well established. We report three cases of prolonged catatonia with medical complications or comorbidities treated by ECT.
  5. Detweiler M, Mehra A, Rowell T, Kim K, Bader G. Delirious mania and malignant catatonia: a report of 3 cases and review. Psychiatr Q. 2009;80:23-40 pubmed publisher
    Delirious mania is often difficult to distinguish from excited catatonia. While some authors consider delirious mania a subtype of catatonia, the distinction between the two entities is important as treatment differs and effects outcome...
  6. Saba G, Rocamora J, Kalalou K, Benadhira R, Plaze M, Aubriot Delmas B, et al. Catatonia and transcranial magnetic stimulation. Am J Psychiatry. 2002;159:1794 pubmed
  7. Pruett J, Rizvi S. A16-year-old girl with excited catatonia treated with low-dose oral Lorazepam. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2005;15:1005-10 pubmed
    ..girl, who carried a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, presented with symptoms consistent with excited catatonia/delirious mania. We believe this is the first report of excited catatonia in a child under the age of 18...
  8. England M, Ongur D, Konopaske G, Karmacharya R. Catatonia in psychotic patients: clinical features and treatment response. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2011;23:223-6 pubmed publisher
    The authors report clinical features and treatment response in 25 patients with catatonia admitted to an inpatient psychiatric unit specializing in psychotic disorders...
  9. Lachner C, Sandson N. Medical complications of catatonia: a case of catatonia-induced deep venous thrombosis. Psychosomatics. 2003;44:512-4 pubmed
  10. Fink M, Taylor M. Catatonia: subtype or syndrome in DSM?. Am J Psychiatry. 2006;163:1875-6 pubmed
  11. Dursun S, Hallak J, Haddad P, Leahy A, Byrne A, Strickland P, et al. Clozapine monotherapy for catatonic schizophrenia: should clozapine be the treatment of choice, with catatonia rather than psychosis as the main therapeutic index?. J Psychopharmacol. 2005;19:432-3 pubmed
  12. Arora M, Praharaj S. Butterfly glioma of corpus callosum presenting as catatonia. World J Biol Psychiatry. 2007;8:54-5 pubmed
    b>Catatonia can occur with functional psychiatric disorders as well as organic conditions. In this case report, catatonia occurred with a butterfly glioma originating from the corpus callosum with bilateral medial frontal extensions...
  13. Chalasani P, Healy D, Morriss R. Presentation and frequency of catatonia in new admissions to two acute psychiatric admission units in India and Wales. Psychol Med. 2005;35:1667-75 pubmed
    There are no modern cross-cultural comparative studies of the frequency and clinical presentation of catatonia in a Western country and India using standardized rating instruments and diagnostic criteria.
  14. Koussa S, Nasnas R. Catatonia and Parkinsonism due to extrapontine myelinolysis following rapid correction of hyponatremia: a case report. J Neurol. 2003;250:103-5 pubmed
  15. Weder N, Muralee S, Penland H, Tampi R. Catatonia: a review. Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2008;20:97-107 pubmed publisher
    To write an up-to-date review paper on catatonia using published literature.
  16. Lee J, Schwartz D, Hallmayer J. Catatonia in a psychiatric intensive care facility: incidence and response to benzodiazepines. Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2000;12:89-96 pubmed
    This study was performed to establish the incidence of catatonia in a psychiatric intensive care unit, to test the Bush-Francis Catatonia Screening Instrument (BFCSI) and to assess the response of catatonic signs to benzodiazepines...
  17. Stoppelbein L, Greening L, Kakooza A. The importance of catatonia and stereotypies in autistic spectrum disorders. Int Rev Neurobiol. 2006;72:103-18 pubmed
    ..Yet, individuals with ASD may also be at the risk for catatonia. Although not as frequent as stereotypies, up to 17% of older adolescents and adults with autistic disorder may ..
  18. Northoff G, Pfennig A, Krug M, Danos P, Leschinger A, Schwarz A, et al. Delayed onset of late movement-related cortical potentials and abnormal response to lorazepam in catatonia. Schizophr Res. 2000;44:193-211 pubmed
    b>Catatonia is a psychomotor syndrome with an inability to execute and terminate movements completely, leading consecutively to akinesia and posturing, which both respond almost immediately to benzodiazepines, i.e...
  19. Lee J, Teoh T, Lee T. Catatonia and psychosis associated with sibutramine: a case report and pathophysiologic correlation. J Psychosom Res. 2008;64:107-9 pubmed
    ..Moreover, as sibutramine may be used for weight management in patients on antipsychotic medications, the implications on psychotic symptoms need to be explored further. We also discuss possible pathophysiologic underpinnings...
  20. Duggal H, Singh I. Drug-induced catatonia. Drugs Today (Barc). 2005;41:599-607 pubmed
    b>Catatonia is a heterogeneous syndrome that varies in etiology, presentation, course and sequelae...
  21. Dhossche D, Reti I, Wachtel L. Catatonia and autism: a historical review, with implications for electroconvulsive therapy. J ECT. 2009;25:19-22 pubmed publisher
    Current autism research is historically separated from catatonia and other childhood psychotic disorders, although catatonia and autism share several common symptoms (mutism, echolalia, stereotypic speech and repetitive behaviors, ..
  22. Deuschle M, Lederbogen F. Benzodiazepine withdrawal-induced catatonia. Pharmacopsychiatry. 2001;34:41-2 pubmed
  23. Peralta V, Cuesta M. Motor features in psychotic disorders. II. Development of diagnostic criteria for catatonia. Schizophr Res. 2001;47:117-26 pubmed
    Existing diagnostic criteria for catatonia have been based exclusively on theoretical assumptions. The present study aimed to develop empirical criteria for diagnosing catatonia...
  24. Tsai J, Yang P, Yen J, Chen C, Yang M. Zotepine-induced catatonia as a precursor in the progression to neuroleptic malignant syndrome. Pharmacotherapy. 2005;25:1156-9 pubmed
    A 39-year-old man with schizophrenia developed severe catatonia, hyperthermia, muscle rigidity, tachycardia, leukocytosis, and elevated muscle enzyme levels while receiving zotepine therapy...
  25. Lahutte B, Cornic F, Bonnot O, Consoli A, An Gourfinkel I, Amoura Z, et al. Multidisciplinary approach of organic catatonia in children and adolescents may improve treatment decision making. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2008;32:1393-8 pubmed publisher
    b>Catatonia is an infrequent but severe condition in young people. Organic diseases may be associated and need to be investigated though no specific recommendations and guidelines are available...
  26. Luchini F, Lattanzi L, Bartolommei N, Cosentino L, Litta A, Kansky C, et al. Catatonia and neuroleptic malignant syndrome: two disorders on a same spectrum? Four case reports. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2013;201:36-42 pubmed publisher
    ..neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) after antipsychotic treatment, focusing on the relationship between NMS and catatonia. In all cases, the administration of antipsychotics has been suspended as soon as fever and autonomic ..
  27. Mishima T, Tsuboi Y, Higuchi M, Tsugawa J, Obata T, Yamada T. [Diazepam-responsive malignant catatonia in a patient with an initial clinical diagnosis of neuroleptic malignant syndrome: a case report]. Brain Nerve. 2011;63:503-7 pubmed
    We report a case of malignant catatonia initially diagnosed as neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) that responded successfully to diazepam administration...
  28. Sienaert P, Rooseleer J, De Fruyt J. Measuring catatonia: a systematic review of rating scales. J Affect Disord. 2011;135:1-9 pubmed publisher
    Despite a growing scientific and clinical interest in catatonia, its precise definition remains debated.
  29. Carroll B. Kahlbaum's catatonia revisited. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2001;55:431-6 pubmed
    Modern psychiatric nosologies separate catatonia along the lines of presumed etiology: bipolar, major depression, schizophrenia and due to a general medical condition...
  30. Rosebush P, Mazurek M. Catatonia and its treatment. Schizophr Bull. 2010;36:239-42 pubmed publisher
    Psychiatric diagnoses are currently categorized on a syndromic basis. The syndrome of catatonia, however, remains in a diagnostic limbo, acknowledged predominantly as a subtype of schizophrenia...
  31. Ungvari G, Caroff S, Gerevich J. The catatonia conundrum: evidence of psychomotor phenomena as a symptom dimension in psychotic disorders. Schizophr Bull. 2010;36:231-8 pubmed publisher
    To provide a rational basis for reconceptualizing catatonia in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition), we briefly review historical sources, the psychopathology of catatonia, and the relevance of catatonic ..
  32. Kritzinger P, Jordaan G. Catatonia: an open prospective series with carbamazepine. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2001;4:251-7 pubmed
    In view of reports in the literature that catatonia responds well to benzodiazepines, and the possible association between catatonia and seizure disorders, an open prospective study was conducted to explore the possibility that catatonia ..
  33. Ungvari G, Kau L, Wai Kwong T, Shing N. The pharmacological treatment of catatonia: an overview. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2001;251 Suppl 1:I31-4 pubmed
    Over the past two decades, catatonia, particularly its acutely emerging akinetic-hypokinetic (stuporous) variant, has gradually regained its importance in descriptive psychopathology...
  34. Thakur A, Jagadheesan K, Dutta S, Sinha V. Incidence of catatonia in children and adolescents in a paediatric psychiatric clinic. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2003;37:200-3 pubmed
    To investigate the incidence and phenomenology of catatonia in a child and adolescent population.
  35. Dhossche D, Shah A, Wing L. Blueprints for the assessment, treatment, and future study of catatonia in autism spectrum disorders. Int Rev Neurobiol. 2006;72:267-84 pubmed
    The blueprints for the assessment, treatment, and future study of catatonia in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), which are submitted in this chapter aim to increase early recognition and treatment of catatonia in ASDs, show the urgency ..
  36. Lee J. Cycloid psychosis, catatonia, and periodic catatonia. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2004;38:975-6 pubmed
  37. Perisse D, Amoura Z, Cohen D, Saintigny P, Mekhloufi F, Mazet P, et al. Case study: effectiveness of plasma exchange in an adolescent with systemic lupus erythematosus and catatonia. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2003;42:497-9 pubmed
    b>Catatonia is a rare but severe condition in adolescents that can be associated with both psychiatric and organic causes...
  38. Northoff G. Catatonia and neuroleptic malignant syndrome: psychopathology and pathophysiology. J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2002;109:1453-67 pubmed
    b>Catatonia was originally described as a psychomotor syndrome in the 19th century by Kahlbaum including motor, affective and behavioral symptoms...
  39. Greenhalgh J, Knight C, Hind D, Beverley C, Walters S. Clinical and cost-effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy for depressive illness, schizophrenia, catatonia and mania: systematic reviews and economic modelling studies. Health Technol Assess. 2005;9:1-156, iii-iv pubmed
    To establish the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for depressive illness, schizophrenia, catatonia and mania.
  40. Dose M. Neuroleptic-induced pseudo-catatonia. Pharmacopsychiatry. 2001;34:262-4 pubmed
  41. Carroll B, Lee J. Catatonia is a risk factor for neuroleptic malignant syndrome. J Clin Psychiatry. 2004;65:1722-3 pubmed
  42. Cornic F, Consoli A, Tanguy M, Bonnot O, Perisse D, Tordjman S, et al. Association of adolescent catatonia with increased mortality and morbidity: evidence from a prospective follow-up study. Schizophr Res. 2009;113:233-40 pubmed publisher
    ..b>Catatonia is one of the most severe psychiatric syndromes in adolescents...
  43. Fink M, Shorter E, Taylor M. Catatonia is not schizophrenia: Kraepelin's error and the need to recognize catatonia as an independent syndrome in medical nomenclature. Schizophr Bull. 2010;36:314-20 pubmed publisher
    b>Catatonia is a motor dysregulation syndrome described by Karl Kahlbaum in 1874. He understood catatonia as a disease of its own...
  44. Espinola Nadurille M, Ramirez Bermudez J, Fricchione G. Pregnancy and malignant catatonia. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2007;29:69-71 pubmed
    The occurrence of malignant catatonia in pregnancy is a psychiatric emergency...
  45. Moskowitz A. "Scared stiff": catatonia as an evolutionary-based fear response. Psychol Rev. 2004;111:984-1002 pubmed
    b>Catatonia, long viewed as a motor disorder, may be better understood as a fear response, akin to the animal defense strategy tonic immobility (after G. G. Gallup & J. D. Maser, 1977). This proposal, consistent with K. L...
  46. Paparrigopoulos T, Tzavellas E, Ferentinos P, Mourikis I, Liappas J. Catatonia as a risk factor for the development of neuroleptic malignant syndrome: report of a case following treatment with clozapine. World J Biol Psychiatry. 2009;10:70-3 pubmed publisher
    b>Catatonia is characterized by the predominance of psychomotor abnormalities and shares many clinical, biological and treatment response features with the neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS), a rare adverse reaction to psychoactive ..
  47. Duggal H, Gandotra G. Risperidone treatment of periodic catatonia. Can J Psychiatry. 2005;50:241-2 pubmed
  48. Dhossche D, Song Y, Liu Y. Is there a connection between autism, Prader-Willi syndrome, catatonia, and GABA?. Int Rev Neurobiol. 2005;71:189-216 pubmed
  49. Zaw F. ECT and the youth: catatonia in context. Int Rev Neurobiol. 2006;72:207-31 pubmed
    ..One particular indication is of the use in catatonia, a motor syndrome that could occur with affective disorders, schizophrenia or medical conditions, in which it is ..
  50. Fink M, Taylor M. The catatonia syndrome: forgotten but not gone. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009;66:1173-7 pubmed publisher
  51. Dhossche D. Autism as early expression of catatonia. Med Sci Monit. 2004;10:RA31-9 pubmed
    Reports indicate that catatonia often occurs in autism. The association lacks a conceptual basis. Modern classificatory schemes define autism and catatonia separately and are not conducive to study areas of overlap...
  52. Lee A, Glick D, Dinwiddie S. Electroconvulsive therapy in a pediatric patient with malignant catatonia and paraneoplastic limbic encephalitis. J ECT. 2006;22:267-70 pubmed
    ..We present a case of an 11-year-old girl who was successfully treated with electroconvulsive therapy for a catatonic state associated with paraneoplastic limbic encephalitis caused by an ovarian teratoma...
  53. Tsao C, Nusbaum A. Successful ECT course for catatonia after large pulmonary embolus and placement of inferior vena cava filter. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2007;29:374 pubmed