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Catatonic Schizophrenia

Catatonic Schizophrenia Causes

The exact cause of catatonic schizophrenia or of schizophrenia in general is not known. However, most researchers attribute the condition to problems in early brain development. Meanwhile, other theories point to the following factors: genetics, viral infections, womb malnutrition, and emotional stress or inadequate childhood environments.

Catatonic Schizophrenia Definition

Catatonic schizophrenia is a subtype of chronic mental illness known as schizophrenia, which is characterized by altered perception of reality, behavior, and thinking. Patients with catatonic schizophrenia are typically extremely inactive or display minimal movements that seem disconnected from their surroundings. These episodes, known as catatonic episodes, may last for mere minutes or as long as a few hours.

Catatonic Schizophrenia Diagnosis

A complete diagnostic workup is often required to diagnose catatonic schizophrenia, including general psychiatric and medical assessments. A diagnosis of catatonic schizophrenia indicates that the catatonic symptoms are dominant in the patient, although he/she may also have other symptoms of schizophrenia that cannot be attributed to other disorders.

Catatonic Schizophrenia Symptoms and Signs

Catatonic schizophrenia has distinguishing psychotic symptoms that include: physical immobility for long periods of time; catatonic stupor in which the patient seems to be completely aware of his/her environment; excessive mobility such as frenzied pacing or flailing; extreme resistance to any communication or instruction; peculiar movements such as odd postures or unusual mannerisms; as well as mimicking movement and speech of another person.

Catatonic Schizophrenia Treatment

There is no specific cure for catatonic schizophrenia. However, certain medications may be prescribed along with coordinated mental health care to help manage symptoms in patients. Treatments of choice include sedatives, antipsychotic medications, and electroconvulsive therapy combined with psychotherapy and social or vocational training.

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