Catatonia is a syndrome of psychic and motoric-disturbances. In the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV) it is not recognized as a separate disorder, but is associated with psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia (catatonic type), bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other mental disorders, as well as drug abuse and/or overdose. It may also be seen in many medical disorders including infections (such as encephalitis), autoimmune disorders, focal neurologic lesions (including strokes), metabolic disturbances and abrupt or overly rapid withdrawal from benzodiazepines. It can be an adverse reaction to prescribed medication. It bears similarity to conditions such as encephalitis lethargica and neuroleptic malignant syndrome. There are a variety of treatments available, and depending on the case, one or more drugs may be used, including antipsychotics and benzodiazepines.
Etymology of Catatonia
Patients with catatonia may experience an extreme loss of motor skills or even constant hyperactive motor activity. Catatonic patients will sometimes hold rigid poses for hours and will ignore any external stimuli. Patients with catatonic excitement can die of exhaustion if not treated. Patients may also show stereotyped, repetitive movements. They may show specific types of movement such as waxy flexibility, in which they maintain positions after being placed in them by someone else, or gegenhalten (lit. “counterhold”), in which they resist movement in proportion to the force applied by the examiner. They may repeat meaningless phrases or speak only to repeat what the examiner says.
While catatonia is only identified as a form of schizophrenia in present psychiatric classifications, it is increasingly recognized as a syndrome with many faces. It appears as the Kahlbaum syndrome (retarded catatonia), malignant catatonia (neuroleptic malignant syndrome, toxic serotonin syndrome), and excited forms (delirious mania, catatonic excitement, oneirophrenia). It has also been recognized as grafted on to autistic spectrum disorders.
According to the DSM-IV, the “With catatonic features” specifier can be applied if the clinical picture is dominated by at least two of the following:
- motor immobility as evidenced by catalepsy (including waxy flexibility) or stupor;
- excessive motor activity (purposeless, not influenced by external stimuli);
- extreme negativism (motiveless resistance to all instructions or maintenance of a rigid posture against attempts to be moved) or mutism;
- peculiarities of voluntary movement as evidenced by posturing, stereotyped movements, prominent mannerisms, or prominent grimacing
- echolalia or echopraxia.
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 make little or no eye contact with others and may be mute and rigid. One might remain in one position for a long period of time, and then go directly to another position immediately after the first position.
Catatonic excitement is a state of constant purposeless agitation and excitation. Individuals in this state are extremely hyperactive although the activity seems to lack purpose.
Fink and Taylor developed a catatonia rating scale to identify the syndrome.  The diagnosis is verified by a benzodiazepine or barbiturate test. The diagnosis is validated by the quick response to either benzodizepines or ECT. While useful in the past, barbiturates are not commonly used any more in psychiatry; thus the choice of either benzodiazepines or ECT.
Initial treatment is aimed at providing relief from the catatonic state. Benzodiazepines are the first line of treatment, and high doses are often required. A test dose of 1-2 mg intramuscular lorazepam will often result in marked improvement within half an hour. In France, zolpidem has also been used in diagnosis and response may occur within the same time period. Ultimately the underlying cause needs to be treated.
Electroconvulsive therapy is an effective treatment for catatonia as well as for most of the underlying causes (e.g. psychosis, mania, depression). Antipsychotics should be used with care as they can worsen catatonia and are the cause of neuroleptic malignant syndrome, a dangerous condition that can mimic catatonia and requires the immediate discontinuation of the antipsychotic.
Keywords: homeopathy, homeopathic, treatment, cure, remedy, remedies, medicine
Homeopathy treats the person as a whole. It means that homeopathic treatment focuses on the patient as a person, as well as his pathological condition. The homeopathic medicines are selected after a full individualizing examination and case-analysis, which includes the medical history of the patient, physical and mental constitution, family history, presenting symptoms, underlying pathology, possible causative factors etc. A miasmatic tendency (predisposition/susceptibility) is also often taken into account for the treatment of chronic conditions. A homeopathy doctor tries to treat more than just the presenting symptoms. The focus is usually on what caused the disease condition? Why ‘this patient’ is sick ‘this way’. The disease diagnosis is important but in homeopathy, the cause of disease is not just probed to the level of bacteria and viruses. Other factors like mental, emotional and physical stress that could predispose a person to illness are also looked for. No a days, even modern medicine also considers a large number of diseases as psychosomatic. The correct homeopathy remedy tries to correct this disease predisposition. The focus is not on curing the disease but to cure the person who is sick, to restore the health. If a disease pathology is not very advanced, homeopathy remedies do give a hope for cure but even in incurable cases, the quality of life can be greatly improved with homeopathic medicines.
The homeopathic remedies (medicines) given below indicate the therapeutic affinity but this is not a complete and definite guide to the homeopathy treatment of this condition. The symptoms listed against each homeopathic remedy may not be directly related to this disease because in homeopathy general symptoms and constitutional indications are also taken into account for selecting a remedy. To study any of the following remedies in more detail, please visit the Materia Medica section at Hpathy.
None of these medicines should be taken without professional advice and guidance.
Homeopathy Remedies for Catatonia :
Cic., cortico., cur., rauw.
- ^ 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 883570.
- ^ Deuschle M, Lederbogen F (January 2001). “Benzodiazepine withdrawal-induced catatonia”. Pharmacopsychiatry 34 (1): 41–2. PMID 11229621.
- ^ a b c d Fink M, Taylor MA: CATATONIA: A Clinician’s Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment, Cambridge U Press, 2003″
- ^ Dhossche D et al: Catatonia in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2006
Dr. Manish Bhatia
BHMS, BCA, M.Sc. Homeopathy (UCLAN, UK), CICH (IACH, Greece)
Dr. Manish Bhatia is the Founder Director of Hpathy.com, world’s leading homeopathy portal, serving homeopathy to more than half a million people every month. He is also Editor of Homeopathy for Everyone.
He runs a consultation office at Jaipur (Asha Homeopathy) and is one of the most well known Indian homeopaths globally. He has been practicing since 2001 and is helping Autism and other psychiatric patients since 2006. He was awarded Rajasthan’s foremost Raja Pajvan Dev Award For Excellence in the field of Medicine in 2015.
He has been working as an Asso. Professor of Organon of Medicine at S. K. Homeopathic Medical College since 2002. He was awarded with the prestigious APJ Abdul Kalam State Level Teacher’s Award in 2016. He has also given seminars and webinars in several countries of Europe, Americas and Australia.
He is the author of Lectures on Organon of Medicine Vol. I & II (English, Bulgarian, German editions), which are approved by the Central Council of Homeopathy (India) for BHMS and MD (Hom) syllabus. He is a contributing author to the book “Homeopathy and Mental Health Care: Integrative Practice, Principles and Research” and co-editor of “The Fireside Book of Homeopathy Tales.”