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Catatonia is when a person is awake, but he does not move, talk, or react to things around him. The cause is in the nervous system (the brain and nerves). A person with catatonia may act seem to be in a stupor (being mentally numb and in a daze). This problem was first written about in 1874 in Die Katatonie oder das Spannungsirresein.
Catatonia is not named as a separate disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR). (This is a book written by the American Psychiatric Association which lists every problem that is officially called a psychiatric (mental health) disorder). Catatonia is known to happen sometimes with a few different mental disorders. It can be a symptom (or problem caused by) schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and other disorders. Catatonia may also happen when a person abuses illegal drugs or overdoses (takes too much of a drug).
Catatonia can also be caused by many different medical disorders, like infections (such as encephalitis, a brain infection); autoimmune diseases (where the body's own system of defenses attacks itself); focal neurologic lesions (wounds in certain parts of the brain, including strokes); and metabolic problems. A person can also get catatonia from benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, which happens if the person suddenly or quickly stops taking benzodiazepine medications. Catatonia can also be a bad reaction to illegal drugs. Some other medical conditions can cause many of the same symptoms as catatonia. For example, catatonia can look like encephalitis lethargica (a type of brain infection) and neuroleptic malignant syndrome (a serious problem that can happen when a person stops taking neuroleptic (or antipsychotic) medicines).
Doctors can treat catatonia. They usually start with medicines like benzodiazepines. Sometimes, doctors may use electro-convulsive therapy (or "shock therapy", where the patient's brain is given electric shocks). Antipsychotic medicines can also be used, but they must be used carefully, because sometimes they can make catatonia worse or have bad side effects. A group of anesthetic drugs called NMDA antagonists may be helpful when benzodiazepines don't work.
- http://web.archive.org/web/20080209213229/http://www.entwicklung-der-psychiatrie.de/seiten/24.1_kahlbaum_die_katatonie.htm, Archived copy (Internet Archive)
- Rosebush PI; Mazurek MF. (August 1996). "Catatonia after benzodiazepine withdrawal". Journal of clinical psychopharmacology. 16 (4): 315–9. doi:10.1097/00004714-199608000-00007. PMID 8835707.
- Deuschle M, Lederbogen F (January 2001). "Benzodiazepine withdrawal-induced catatonia". Pharmacopsychiatry 34 (1): 41–2. doi:10.1055/s-2001-15188. PMID 11229621.
- Kanemoto K, Miyamoto T, Abe R (September 1999). "Ictal catatonia as a manifestation of de novo absence status epilepticus following benzodiazepine withdrawal". Seizure 8 (6): 364–6. doi:10.1053/seiz.1999.0309. PMID 10512781. http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1059-1311(99)90309-6.
- Fink M, Taylor MA: CATATONIA: A Clinician's Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment, Cambridge U Press, 2003"
- Daniels, J. (2009). "Catatonia: clinical aspects and neurobiological correlates.". J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci 21 (4): 371–80. doi:10.1176/appi.neuropsych.21.4.371. PMID 19996245.