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This is a rare but serious condition that can occur in severe and untreated cases of Schizophrenia, Brief Psychotic Disorder, Schizophreniform Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, and Bipolar I Disorder, and also in some neurological diseases such as encephalitis. 

Catatonia is not usually classified as a form of psychosis, but it is listed in this section because it only occurs in those psychiatric conditions where psychosis can also be present.

According to the DSM-IV-TR, a diagnosis of catatonia requires symptoms form at least 2 of the following categories:

    Catatonic immobility:  The person appears to be in a stupor and as if totally unaware of their surroundings and completely immobile.  They may remain in the same immobile posture for some time.  If the position of a part of their body is moved for them, such as an arm being raised, the person may then maintain this new posture for some time, which is a condition called waxy flexibility.   

    Catatonic excitement:  The person becomes agitated and hyperactive, making excessive and purposeless movements that do not seem to be in response to anything going on around them. 

    Negativistic behaviors:  The person will resist and ignore all instructions for no clear reason, or will assume a rigid body posture and resist attempts to be moved, or will remain mute.

    Bizarre (stereotypic) behaviors:  The person may assume bizarre or inappropriate body postures usually for long periods of time, or may display bizarre grimaces and facial expressions or repetitive movements and mannerisms.

    Echophenomena:  The person will automatically repeat words and phrases that they hear (echolalia), or imitate movements and actions that they see others performing (echopraxia).

Confusion and disorientation are also very common symptoms of catatonia.


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Psychotic Disorders