catatonia disorder, its causes, symptoms and treatment

Catatonia disorder

Have you ever heard of catatonia disorder , rigidity, or rickets? Perhaps this name came to your mind without knowing the symptoms of catatonia, and the reasons for its occurrence, especially since it is a rare mental illness. Catatonia belongs to the category of complex mental disorders that turn a person into inanimate, while he is alive.


My story with Catatonia disorder 

I had ketosis; I no longer know what happened to me during that ailment. I feel as if my soul has left my body and I am not aware of those around me, and I stand still and still, as if I were a wax statue. What happened to me? Can I get my soul and myself back again?!


The summary of this disease is that it is the decision of a person who has lost a sense of safety in his home, with his family, and even his friends, in the street, at work, and everywhere he goes.


At this time a person’s mind makes a very strange decision, which is to go back in time. He continues to return for a year or two, and it is permissible to go back for 20 years until he reaches the last time when he felt safe, and his mind stood there and lived in it..


It was possible that this was the time when he was 10 years old, for example, so we find his behavior suddenly turned into a 10-year-old child.. all of that while he did not reach “catatonia”. All that above this can be treated.


And in a time that is not often long, but the most difficult and ugliest is when a person keeps going back in time and does not find any period of his life in which he feels safe.. not in his adolescence, nor in the period of puberty, nor even in his childhood. Then his mind inadvertently decides that he is turning into a corpse.


A real corpse, he did not commit suicide or hang himself, for example, but he decided to isolate himself from the outside world with all his shocks, ugliness and all the painful problems he went through in his life.. Can you imagine that he is living as if he was dead.. silent he could not even Not by uttering a word, and also losing control of his movement and his body, and everything indicates that he is alive.


It turns into an inanimate matter that has no role. There are many reasons for man to reach this disease, such as that someone brought him to this state from all those around him, that he is a failure and will never succeed in anything, or that someone told him words that hurt him and he was unable to face it and continue his life after that. We must be careful with every word we say to anyone because we can simply be a pain to anyone.


Therefore, we present this article to review together everything you want to know about catatonia disease, and its symptoms, and to learn about its different types, in addition to methods of diagnosis and treatment, so be with us.


What is catatonia disorder?

The term Catatonia is of Greek origin, meaning the corpse, and Catatonia, known as “cataract”, is a rare psychomotor disease, affecting 1 in 10 people who suffer from mental illness.


It also affects the movement ability of the affected person, so the person feels that his limbs are stiff while he is alive but cannot control his body, and what is worse is that if you move him in a certain direction, he remains fixed on the same pattern, and this disease belongs to schizophrenia.


Catatonia disorder causes the patient to detach from reality, and lose contact with others as if he is in another world. It is considered an escape for the injured to involuntarily as a reaction to the traumas and setbacks they have experienced.


The patient feels as if his hands and feet are tied and he cannot move, and if someone moves him in a certain direction, he remains in the same pattern.


Catatonia disorder is one of the types of schizophrenia, and it may be an accompanying symptom for many schizophrenics, so it is also called “katatonic schizophrenia”.


But some studies classify Catatonia as a stand-alone disorder, and it occurs as a result of some disorders and not schizophrenia.


Types of Catatonia disorder  

Catatonia is divided into:

  1. 1. kinetic catatonia
  2. 2. fervent catatonia
  3. 3. malignant catatonia
  4. 4. cyclic catatonia

catatonia disorder


  • 1- Kinetic Catatonia

Catatonia is the most common type of catatonia, also known as catatonia, in which the sufferer stares into space and does not respond to any stimuli, in addition to adopting a fixed and unfamiliar posture.


  • 2- Excited Catatonia

We note that the patient has very excessive energy, and this type is characterized by the patient making impulsive movements as if a warrior is fighting. Therefore, the patient suffers in this type of “delirium”, imitating the sounds and movements of those around him, and may even harm himself.


  • 3- Malignant catatonia

It is known as the most serious type of catatonia disorder; This is because the injured suffers from several symptoms, and health problems that may destroy his life.


  • 4. Rotating catatonia

It is katatonia associated with bipolar disorder, as the symptoms of katatonia vary between stupor and silence, and between excessive movement.


Periodic episodes of catatonia occur in periods when the patient transitions from depression to mania.


Causes of catatonia disorder 

Catatonia is not a result of day and night, nor does it appear as a stand-alone disease; This is because it is a symptom of some other diseases, such as:


  • Neurological disorders, such as: strokes, encephalopathy and inflammation.


  • Disruption of the neurotransmitters that carry dopamine, glutamate, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, which causes abnormal brain activity.


  • The genetic factor is one of the factors that must be taken into consideration.


  • Parkinson’s disease, which attacks the nervous system.


  • Autoimmune diseases.


  • Drug and alcohol abuse.


  • Excess calcium in the blood.


  • Vitamin B12 decreased at a significant rate.


  • Having some mental illnesses, such as: severe depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.


Factors that increase the risk of developing catatonia

Studies show that the incidence of catatonia is higher among psychiatric patients. However, there are also some factors that increase the likelihood of developing this disorder, such as:


  • 1. psychiatric disturbances

Such as: psychosis, depression, bipolar disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, and autism.


  • 2. nervous disorders

Several theories have proven that catatonia symptoms appear as a result of trauma to the brain, or the appearance of brain bumps. As for the neurological diseases that are accompanied by symptoms of catatonia disorder, they are: epilepsy, parkinsonism, atherosclerosis, and encephalitis.


  • 3. immune diseases

Such as: rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus erythematosus.


  • 4. Metabolic disorders

Such as: kidney failure, liver failure.


  • 5. Pharmacological reasons

When clozapine is abruptly discontinued, the patient’s risk of developing ketoacidosis increases.


  • 6. patient’s gender

The incidence of infection in women increases – especially as they age


Theories about the relationship of neurotransmitters to catatonia disease 

Symptoms of catatonia appear as a result of changes in brain chemistry. Scientists have identified three neurotransmitters responsible for this disorder, namely:


  • 1. deficiency of gamma-butyric acid in the right posterior parietal cortex and right lateral side of the brain; Which explains the movement and emotional imbalance of the patient.


  • 2. Increased release of glutamate in the basal ganglia of the brain, a stimulating neurotransmitter; Which explains hyperkinetic catatonia.


  • 3. lack of dopamine secretion; This explains the deterioration of a patient with psychotic catatonia if he takes dopamine agonists, such as haloperdol.


Who is most at risk of contracting the disease?

The people most at risk of developing ketoacidosis are the age group of 18-25 years.


Females are also more likely than males to have cataracts.


Symptoms of catatonia disorder

  • The patient is in a daze, as if staring at something.


  • He has no ability to speak or move.


  • In addition to the waxy elasticity, that is, if it moves its limbs in a certain direction, it remains in the direction for a long time, as a result of malnutrition and dehydration.


  • Another symptom of negative catatonia is a failure to respond to any stimuli


  • Silence and not speak.


  • Resist people trying to adjust his body.


  • Imitation of speech and the movements of another person is repetitive, seemingly meaningless.


  • The patient’s face has strange and fixed expressions.


Other symptoms of hyperkinetic catatonia include:

  1. Insomnia.
  2. rampage.
  3. Excessive movement without a clear goal.
  4. Tendency to aggressive behaviors that hurt him.

The most prominent symptoms of malignant catatonia are:

  1. Muscle stiffness.
  2. rapid heart rate;
  3. Hypertension.
  4. heavy sweating;
  5. Rave.
  6. have a fever


Studies and statistics about the disease

  • Many statistics indicated that catatonia affects women more than men by 50%, especially with age.


  • An estimated 10% of psychiatric patients suffer from catatonia.


  • Some studies have also indicated that 45% of catatonia patients suffer from mood disorders.


Complications of catatonia disorder 

Catatonia is one of the most difficult mental illnesses that requires immediate medical intervention, in order to avoid some severe complications, such as:

  • self harming.
  • Alcoholism and drug abuse.
  • Experiencing some suicidal thoughts of the victim.
  • Depression.
  • Hygiene problems and lack of attention to
  • external appearance.
  • Non-epileptic seizures.
  • Sleep disorders and sleepwalking.
  • dysfunction of social relations.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Hunger and dehydration due to the inability to eat.
  • The patient’s life may be lost if malignant cataracts are untreated.
  • Increased risk of pulmonary embolism, which may lead to death.


Diagnosis of catatonia disorder 

Diagnosing catatonia disorder is a problem and a doctor has difficulty identifying and diagnosing the disease. This is because cataract symptoms overlap with some other health and psychological conditions, so there are no tests to diagnose this disorder.


The doctor works hard to evaluate the symptoms, determine their causes and rule out any other conditions that may cause this disease, with a series of medical examinations and psychological evaluations.


Among the most important medical examinations that the doctor performs:


  • Conducting a physical examination and knowing the medical history, and ruling out physical health conditions, such as: memory loss, sleep disturbance, and head injuries.


  • Psychological examination to find out the thoughts and behaviors hidden inside the patient.


  • Electroencephalogram (EEG), to check for abnormal brain wave patterns.


  • Laboratory tests, to find out if the patient is addicted to drugs or alcohol.


  • Blood tests, in order to ascertain the presence of pathological causes that motivate catatonia.


  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).


  • DSM-5.


Catatonia disorder treatment

After the doctor evaluates the condition of the person with katoniasis, he determines the feasible method of treatment for him, knowing if the cause of that disorder is purely psychological or related to a health condition that you suffer from, such as Parkinson’s disease. Treatment for ketoacidosis includes the following:


1- Benzodiazepine drug therapy

The physician turns primarily to the benzodiazepine family; This is because it is the most common treatment in these cases. This is due to the effectiveness of benzodiazepines in raising gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, which gives calming effects to the brain and body.


Among the most prominent medicines belonging to this family are:


Diazepam and zolpidem are medicines that are used as an alternative to lorazepam, but in higher doses, and the success rates of these medicines are 70%.


2- Electroconvulsive therapy

It is one of the most effective ways to treat cataracts in the event of failure of drug therapy.


It is worth noting that if the patient suffers from malignant catatonia, electrocution sessions are the first and best option to save the patient.


The doctor anesthetizes the patient before placing the two ends of the device on the brain; Then a one-minute seizure occurs in the brain, which alters the level of neurotransmitters in the brain.


It is worth noting that some doctors follow a treatment plan using benzodiazepines with electrophoresis sessions, for greater effectiveness and improvement.


3- Anti-glutamate therapy

Although it has not been used much, it has shown success in treating cataracts, including:



4- Dopamine antagonist therapy

Examples include:

Aripiprazole, such as Abilify.
Olanzapine, such as Zyprexa.
clozapine, such as Leponex.


5- Anti-epileptic treatment

For example: carbamazepine “Tegretol” or valproate.


How do you deal with a catatonia patient?

Dealing with a catatonia patient must be carried out according to psychological and behavioral medical plans, because it is a symptom of a psychological disorder that the person suffers from, so you must:


  • Provide health care and attention to the symptoms of the disorder and complications for your patient.


  • Provide healthy foods that are packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals.


  • Do exercises that help you relax and meditate.


  • Get enough rest in the day, and not get too stressed.


  • Communicate with the doctor immediately in the event of poor management of seizures.



  • Catatonia or schizophrenia usually occurs in patients with bipolar disorder, which causes the person to switch between low and excessive motor activity.


  • It can be treated with sedatives and shock therapy sessions.


  • There is no doubt that catatonia is one of the most dangerous and difficult mental illnesses, but the patient has no trick; He is bereft of willpower.


  • Here lies the role of those around us; They must provide a healthy psychological environment for the patient, with the need to monitor him well so that he does not harm himself or others.
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