Catatonia is a very severe psychiatric condition which is variously characterized by a general absence of motor activity (in catatonic stupor) or violent, hyperactive behaviour (in catatonic excitement). It is most often associated with schizophrenia.
This psychiatric symptom is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It is indicative of other conditions such as schizophrenia (catatonic type), bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, encephalitis lethargica, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, depression and other mental disorders, as well as drug abuse and/or overdose. There are a variety of treatments available, and depending on the case, one or more drugs may be used, including antipsychotics and benzodiazepines.
Catatonia is not a mental disorder in itself, but it is a symptom of other mental disorders. There is a subtype of schizophrenia called "catatonic schizophrenia" in which the patient experiences an extreme loss of motor ability or constant hyperactive motor activity. The catatonic will sometimes hold rigid poses for hours and will ignore any external stimuli.
Catatonic stupor is a motionless, apathetic state in which one is oblivious or does not react to external stimuli. Motor activity is nearly non-existent. Individuals in this state avoid bathing and grooming, make little or no eye contact with others, may be mute and rigid, and initiate no social behaviors.
Catatonic excitement is state of constant agitation and excitation. Individuals in this state are extremely hyperactive (although the activity seems to lack purpose) and often violent towards themselves or others.
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