What Is Malignant Catatonia Explain? A Comprehensive Guide

What Is Malignant Catatonia Explain

Catatonia that causes an instability of the autonomic nervous system is termed malignant catatonia. Malignant catatonia causes dysautonomia, which is when your autonomic nervous system does not function the way it is supposed to.

A similar aetiology of catatonia and NMS following exposure to antipsychotic medications, including both typical and atypical antipsychotics, has been suggested based on the similar clinical presentations–i.e., increased body temperature, rigidity, delirium, and autonomic nervous system dysregulation.

This clinical presentation is quite close to what has been observed with neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS), which several experts believe is a form of catatonia caused by drugs.

These are more useful in treating the additional symptoms once initial symptoms of catatonia have improved, particularly since antipsychotic medications may lead to the emergence of malignant catatonia, or neuroleptic malignant syndrome.

When catatonia symptoms are present, a mental cause is most likely, but a number of medical etiologies may contribute to catatonia.

Diagnosing catatonia in the context of mental disorders may be difficult, because overlapping features of the two conditions can occur. Psychiatric disorders can mainly manifest as symptoms of catatonia.

About one person in ten people who suffer from serious mental illnesses will experience catatonia at some time. Malignant catatonia can make it difficult to manage hypokinetic catatonia or hyper kinetic catatonia.

Periodic catatonia is recurrent and reported in patients with bipolar disorder, where a patient oscillates between stasis and agitation.

Catatonia Activity Levels While most people think of catatonia as a condition involving little to no movement, this is not always the case.

Catatonia is a psychomotor disorder, which means that it involves a link between mental functions and movement.

Catatonia, a syndrome of altered motor behaviors accompanied by a variety of common and neurological disorders, is a common one, affecting 9.8% of adults admitted to mental health hospital.

However, catatonia often goes unrecognized, leading to a false belief that it is uncommon.

Continued Learning Event Catatonia, Neuropsychiatric Syndrome Characterized by Abnormal Movement, Behavior, and Withdrawal Catatonia, a neuropsychiatric syndrome characterized by abnormal movement, behavior, and withdrawal, is a condition that is most commonly seen with mood disorders, but it may also occur with psychotic, medical, neurologic, and other disorders.

Physical Examination of Suspected Catatonia Suspected catatonia may aid diagnosis and differentiation from other conditions, such as neuroleptic malignant syndrome.

A normal electroencephalogram for a patient unable to follow commands has limited differential diagnoses (e.g., serious neuromuscular weakness, locked-in syndrome, catatonia, neuroleptic malignant syndrome).

Without a particular etiology, experts may point to other conditions that might include catatonia. From the clinical perspective, the differential diagnosis of NMS from malignant or pernicious catatonia is usually challenging because of the similar symptoms.

While akinesia, stasis, and mutism (akinetic mutism) are prevalent in NMS , more complicated motor or behavioral catatonic symptoms, such as actalepsy, waxy pliability,

echolalia, echopraxia, verbigeration, or mitgehen, have not been reported in the context of antipsychotics use (perhaps because such phenomena might be overlooked) and may instead be seen in true catatonia .

Also read: What is zombie ant fungus

What is catatonic schizophrenia?

What is  Malignant Catatonia, Malignant Catatonia

This type of schizophrenia has some particular characteristics that mark it apart from other types of schizophrenia, so it’s important to know what they are if you’re researching your symptoms or helping someone else who may be experiencing this condition.

You can learn more about the main symptoms and conditions related to catatonic schizophrenia on this page, along with other information about how the disease manifests in different people and what you can do to manage it.

Definition of Catatonic Schizophrenia

Catatonia is a movement disorder that can occur as part of catatonic schizophrenia. Symptoms of catatonia include mutism, refusal to change positions, muscular rigidity, and echolalia or echopraxia. They can be classified into four groups:

  • Posturing (standing in awkward positions).
  • Waxy flexibility (rigid muscles with joints still supple enough to be flexed by the examiner).
  • Stupor (wakeful coma).
  • Extreme negativism.

These symptoms often lead to the diagnosis of catatonic schizophrenia.

Catatonic schizophrenia, unlike most other types of schizophrenia, has a low rate of success with drug treatments. Some cases are so severe that a person may need to be hospitalized for treatment.

There is currently no cure for this condition, but there are some factors that can be controlled with treatments and practices such as meditation.

Regarding prevalence and severity, catatonia is considered one of the more serious disorders compared to schizophrenia.

Studies have found that 10-15% of people with schizophrenia present the symptoms in catatonia, while only 3-8% will show the behaviors in any form.

Due to its severity, it’s important to know all you can think about catatonia before understanding how it works and how to treat it.

Causes of Catatonic Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia and manic-depressive illness are the leading causes of disability in developed countries. Causes of schizophrenia may be genetic, neurochemical, or environmental.

Genes that regulate neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin seem to play a role in determining susceptibility to the disease, but research is ongoing.

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that help regulate brain functions such as mood, thinking, sleep and emotion; however, it is unclear how these changes affect the disease’s course.

Environmental factors such as exposure to viruses, malnutrition before birth, alcoholism during pregnancy, and low oxygen levels at birth have increased the risk of developing schizophrenia later in life.

Symptoms of Catatonic Schizophrenia

The list of symptoms of catatonic schizophrenia can vary from person to person, but some of the most common include motor immobility, excessive motor activity, peculiar movements, posturing, agitation, limited range of emotion or expressionless face, and mutism.

The list can go on with unusual facial expressions and involuntary bodily movements.

This disorder may also present personality changes (depersonalization and derealization). This can include feeling like they are outside themselves, observing their body, or in a dream-like state.

These symptoms usually happen periodically and are difficult to control when they do occur. While these episodes might last a few hours at first, they gradually increase in length.

If left untreated, catatonic schizophrenia episodes could last up to weeks at a time.

This mental illness can affect any age group, though it’s more common among young people who are still developing.

It often occurs during adolescence and early adulthood because those periods of life bring about drastic changes that make it hard for people to adjust.


Catatonic schizophrenia is characterized by an extreme lack of movement and social interaction. When a person enters this state, they become very unresponsive to outside stimuli and seem to be in their world.

These symptoms may come and go randomly and are usually more prominent during sleep deprivation or when undergoing medical treatments.

This disorder was once thought to be primarily a form of schizophrenia, but it has since been classified as its mental illness.

People who suffer from catatonic schizophrenia often have delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, and outbursts that are either emotional or aggressive; the exact cause of these symptoms is unknown.

Treatments and interventions

Catatonia, the sign of catatonic schizophrenia, manifests in many ways. Physical stupor, a trance-like state that includes immobility and lack of responsiveness to stimuli or physical movement on command, maybe the most common form.

Often this condition arises after two or more weeks of major stressors and in reaction to overwhelming emotional anguish.

Treatment usually consists of putting the patient on appropriate psychotropic medication, such as antipsychotics, followed by rehabilitation and psychotherapy to address the underlying causes of their catatonia.

Also Read: How to analyze people with dark psychology

If these measures are ineffective, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can be used. ECT has been found to reduce the severity of catatonia symptoms in up to 80% of patients with depression who have not responded well to medications or other treatments. In addition, it has been found to improve the cognitive functioning of some schizophrenic patients.

It is still unclear how exactly ECT works in treating catatonia. There remain significant ethical issues surrounding its use, especially because memory loss following treatment can persist even months later. For this reason, experts recommend alternative treatment methods before resorting to ECT if possible.

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