Catatonia is a state of stupor or unresponsiveness in a person who is otherwise awake. Catatonia can occur in association with a psychiatric disorder, like schizophrenia, or in association with a medical condition such as encephalitis. In some patients, catatonia may be present without a known cause. Catatonia is usually episodic, meaning that episodes of catatonia come and go. Symptoms that accompany catatonia can include
- posturing, and
Since a person with catatonia cannot give an accurate medical history, it is important in making a diagnosis to determine the specific symptoms from others who have observed the catatonic state. Some causes of catatonic behavior, like nonconvulsive status epilepticus or neuroleptic malignant syndrome, are medical emergencies.
Other causes of catatonia (catatonic behavior)
- Acute Psychosis
- Brain Trauma
- Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome
- Nonconvulsive Status Epilepticus
- Vegetative State
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
Alzheimer's Disease Symptoms & Early Diagnosis
Memory loss and confusion can be signs of normal aging, but also warning signs of Alzheimer's disease. The early stages of...
Alzheimers Disease Quiz: Stages, Symptoms & Signs
Take the Alzheimer's Quiz to discover some of the mysteries behind this cognitive disorder. Learn causes, symptoms, treatments,...
Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms, Testing for Bipolar Depression
Bipolar disorder (once called manic depression) causes extreme mood shifts and can be disorienting. Our experts define bipolar...
Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, and Aging Brains
What is dementia? Learn about dementia disorders such as Lewy Body Dementia, Alzheimer's disease (AD), Vascular (multi-infarct)...
Depression Quiz: Signs & Symptoms
Many people do not recognize the symptoms and warning signs of depression and depressive disorders in children and adults. With...
Meningitis Quiz: Test Your Infectious Disease IQ
What is meningitis and what causes it? Take our Meningitis Quiz to learn the causes, symptoms, treatments, and complications of...
Picture of Huntington's Disease
Huntington's disease is a hereditary disorder caused by a faulty gene for a protein called huntingtin. See a picture of...
PTSD Quiz: Test your IQ of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Can you have PTSD even if you've never been to war? Take the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Quiz to learn about PTSD, who gets it,...
Schizophrenia Quiz: What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a complex psychiatric disorder. Learn more about the challenges of mental illness with the Schizophrenia Quiz.
Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment
What is schizophrenia? Learn about schizophrenia symptoms, signs, and treatment. Read about schizophrenia types such as paranoid...
Stroke Causes, Symptoms, and Recovery
What is a stroke? Learn about stroke symptoms like sudden numbness or weakness, confusion, vision problems, or problems with...
Stroke Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Take the Stroke Quiz to learn about stroke risks, causes, treatment, and most importantly, prevention.
Causes of Catatonia (Catatonic Behavior)
Alzheimer's disease is a common cause of dementia. Symptoms and warning signs of Alzheimer's disease include memory loss, difficulty performing familiar tasks, disorientation to time and place, misplacing things, and more. The biggest risk factor for Alzheimer's disease is increased age. Treatment for Alzheimer's is often targeted toward decreasing the symptoms and progression of the disease.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (in Children and Adults)
Autism in children and adults is a developmental disorder, characterized by impaired development in communication, social interaction, and behavior. Autism is classified as a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), which is part of a broad spectrum of developmental disorders affecting young children and adults. There are numerous theories and studies about the cause of autism. The treatment model for autism is an educational program that is suitable to an individual's developmental level of performance. There is no "cure" for autism.
Bipolar disorder (or manic depression) is a mental illness characterized by depression, mania, and severe mood swings. Treatment may incorporate mood-stabilizer medications, antidepressants, and psychotherapy.
Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors in Adults (Symptoms, Signs, Causes, Treatment Options, Life Expectancy)
Brain and spinal tumor are diseases in which cancer (malignant) cells begin to grow in the tissues of the brain. Tumors that start in the brain are called primary brain tumors. Tumors that start in the brain and spread to other organs are called primary brain tumors. Symptoms may include headaches, personality changes, dizziness, and trouble walking. Treatment depends upon the type and grade of tumor.
Brain Tumor: Warning Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatments, and Cure
A brain tumor can be either non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant), primary, or secondary. Common symptoms of a primary brain tumor are headaches, seizures, memory problems, personality changes, and nausea and vomiting. Causes and risk factors include age, gender, family history, and exposure to chemicals. Treatment is depends upon the tumor type, grade, and location.
Dementia is defined as a significant loss of intellectual abilities such as memory capacity, severe enough to interfere with social or occupational functioning. There are several different types of dementia, including cortical, subcortical, progressive, primary, and secondary dementias. Other conditions and medication reactions can also cause dementia. Dementia is diagnosed based on a certain set of criteria. Treatment for dementia is generally focused on the symptoms of the disease.
Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. The principal types of depression are major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disease (also called manic-depressive disease).
Depression in the Elderly
Depression in the elderly is very common. That doesn't mean, though, it's normal. Treatment may involve antidepressants, psychotherapy, or electroconvulsive therapy.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection left untreated causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Still incurable, AIDS describes immune system collapse that opens the way for opportunistic infections and cancers to kill the patient. Early symptoms and signs of HIV infection include flu-like symptoms and fungal infections, but some people may not show any symptoms for years. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the standard treatment for HIV infection. These combination drug regimens have made HIV much less deadly, but a cure or vaccine for the pandemic remains out of reach. HIV is usually transmitted through sexual contact or sharing IV drug needles, but can also infect someone through contact with infected blood. Sexual abstinence, safe sex practices, quitting IV drugs (or at least using clean needles), and proper safety equipment by clinicians and first responders can drastically reduce transmission rates for HIV/AIDS.
Huntington's disease is the result of degeneration of neurons in areas of the brain. Huntington's disease is an inherited disorder. Early symptoms include mood swings, apathy, depression, and anger uncharacteristic of the individual. Judgement, memory, and other cognitive functions may become impaired. Presymptomatic testing is available for individuals who have a family history of Huntington's disease. Treatment includes medication and therapy for symptoms.
Parkinson's disease is a slowly progressive neurological disease characterized by a fixed inexpressive face, a tremor at rest, slowing of voluntary movements, a gait with short accelerating steps, peculiar posture and muscle weakness, caused by degeneration of an area of the brain called the basal ganglia, and by low production of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Most patients are over 50, but at least 10 percent are under 40.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric condition, can develop after any catastrophic life event. Symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, sweating, rapid heart rate, detachment, amnesia, sleep problems, irritability, and exaggerated startle response. Treatment may involve psychotherapy, group support, and medication.
Psychotic disorders are a group of serious illnesses that affect the mind. Different types of psychotic disorders include schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform disorder, brief psychotic disorder, shared psychotic disorder, delusional disorder, substance-induced psychotic disorder, paraphrenia, and psychotic disorders due to medical conditions.
Schizoaffective disorder is a mental illness that features schizophrenia and a mood disorder, either major depression or bipolar disorder. Symptoms include agitation, suicidal thoughts, little need for sleep, delusions, hallucinations, and poor motivation. Treatment may involve psychotherapy, medication, skills training, or hospitalization.
Schizophrenia is a disabling brain disorder that may cause hallucinations and delusions and affect a person's ability to communicate and pay attention. Symptoms of psychosis appear in men in their late teens and early 20s and in women in their mid-20s to early 30s. With treatment involving the use of antipsychotic medications and psychosocial treatment, schizophrenia patients can lead rewarding and meaningful lives.
Schizotypal Personality Disorder
Schizotypal personality disorder is characterized by odd behaviors, feelings, perceptions, and ways of relating to others that interfere with one's ability to function. Medication and psychotherapy can help the sufferer to manage their symptoms.
A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain caused by either a blood clot (ischemic) or bleeding (hemorrhagic). Symptoms of a stroke may include: weakness, numbness, double vision or vision loss, confusion, vertigo, difficulty speaking or understanding speech. A physical exam, imaging tests, neurological exam, and blood tests may be used to diagnose a stroke. Treatment may include administration of clot-busting drugs, supportive care, and in some instances, neurosurgery. The risk of stroke can be reduced by controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and stopping smoking.
Examples of Medications for Catatonia (Catatonic Behavior)
- aripiprazole (Abilify, Aristrada)
- carbamazepine, Tegretol, Tegretol XR , Equetro, Carbatrol, Epitol, Teril
- chlorpromazine - oral, Thorazine
- chlorpromazine-injection, Thorazine
- clonazepam (Klonopin)
- clozapine (Clozaril, Fazacio ODT, Versacloz)
- fluphenazine (Permitil, Prolixin)
- haloperidol (Haldol)
- lithium (Lithobid)
- lorazepam (Ativan)
- midazolam - oral syrup, Versed
- midazolam injection, Versed (discontinued brand)
- olanzapine (Zyprexa, Zydis)
- quetiapine (Seroquel)
- risperidone, Risperdal; Risperdal Consta, Risperdal M-TAB
- thiothixene - oral, Navane
- ziprasidone (Geodon)
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.