What is Catatonic Schizophrenia?
If you have you noticed yourself or your loved ones experiencing long periods without any bodily movements, or excessive bodily excitement, combined with other odd behaviors, such as strange postures and mimicking others. If this is the case, these may be symptoms of catatonic schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that causes alterations to mood, perceptions of reality, and physical functions. Catatonic schizophrenia is a subset of the disorder that causes drastic changes to human motor functions. In a study of 568 patients with schizophrenia, 43 demonstrated the catatonic variety; women and men have an equal chance of developing the condition, says HealthResearchFunding.org.
Signs and Symptoms of Catatonic Schizophrenia
TheFreeDictionary.com provides the following catatonic schizophrenia definition: a type of schizophrenia characterized by marked psychomotor disturbance, which may include immobility, excessive motor activity, extreme negativism, mutism, echolalia, echopraxia, and peculiar voluntary movements such as posturing, mannerisms, grimacing, or stereotyped behaviors. There are several catatonic schizophrenia symptoms that you are your loved ones may experience, including:
- Physical immobility, including not being able to speak.
- Waxy flexibility: if the affected person’s body parts are repositioned by another individual, they will remain that way for a long period.
- Excessive mobility: excited movements and sounds with no real purpose.
- Non-compliance: resisting efforts to be moved, or ignoring them all together.
- Odd movements: unusual postures, mannerisms and facial expressions.
- Unusual behavior: repeating words, following strict rituals, etc.
- Echolalia and echopraxia: mimicking the words and gestures of others.
Risk Factors of Catatonic Schizophrenia
The cause of the disorder is unknown, but there are multiple theorized factors that may put you or your loved ones at risk for developing catatonic schizophrenia. Genetics, fetal viral infections and general unhealthiness, as well as environmental factors are the most widely considered potential causes of the disorder.
If you have a family member who has catatonic schizophrenia symptoms, it is more likely that you will develop it at some point in time. There is a 10% chance that you will have the mental disorder if you have a parent who suffers from it; the likelihood for the general population is one percent, notes MedicalNewsToday.com.
As well, fetal complications can give rise to the development of this type of schizophrenia. If you or your child was exposed to a viral infection or malnutrition during the fetal stage, it is more likely that the disease will occur.
Additionally, if one faced adverse environmental conditions during childhood, the likeliness of having catatonic schizophrenia increases. Childhood abuse, exposure to societal threats, etc. may act as a catalyst.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Catatonic Schizophrenia
In order to receive an official diagnosis for schizophrenia of the catatonic subtype, you must meet specific standardized criteria. You must exhibit:
- Inability to move and speak
- Stillness for long periods of time without changing positions
- Excessive, aimless excitability
- Resistance to movement and instructions
- Strange postures, odd movements and abnormal facial expressions
After a professional has confirmed that your symptoms are inline with the standard catatonic schizophrenia definition, multiple treatment options are available. Different kinds of antidepressants, antipsychotics, and benzodiazepines (anxiolytics) may be prescribed in various combinations to control some of the symptoms. As well, different psychotherapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, may be suggested. If these treatments are not sufficient, your doctor may advise that you undergo electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
Catatonic schizophrenia is a subtype of schizophrenia that affects physical motor functions. If you think that you or someone you know may have catatonic schizophrenia symptoms, consult a professional so that a formal assessment can be conducted. Once diagnosed, there are medical treatments available through prescription or through schizophrenia medical trials in Los Angeles. Those that choose the latter route can get free medication, free doctor care, as well as compensation for their participation.
If you are interested in participating in a Los Angeles clinical trial for schizophrenia, contact the Pacific Institute for Medical Research, which is an independent clinical research site specializing in psychiatry since 1982. Visit us online or call us at (310) 208-7144.