Catatonic schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by alternating states of stupor and agitation, with characteristic signs of schizophrenia present. During an attack accompanied by stupor, a person freezes in a certain position for a long time. When excited, behaves inappropriately, and their actions are often destructive.

Catatonic Schizophrenia

Catatonic form of Schizophrenia

The catatonic form of schizophrenia is a complex of mental and motor disorders. This is a rare form of schizophrenia that develops between the ages of 16 and 25. At the forefront of such a disorder is a violation of musculoskeletal functions, while there are also characteristic signs of a schizophrenic disorder.

The exact cause of this form of schizophrenia has not been elucidated. Experts believe that muscle tension can be caused by brain damage, and uncontrolled use of certain groups of medications. Other alleged reasons for the breach:

  • Dysfunction of the central nervous system;
  • Violation of metabolic processes;
  • Cerebral hypoxia;
  • Autoimmune pathologies;
  • Infection of the brain tissue;
  • Cranial trauma;
  • Severe intoxication;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Autism.

 

Symptoms of Catatonic Schizophrenia

A characteristic clinical manifestation of the pathology is motor dysfunction. In this case, the patient either falls into a stupor or a state of excitement. Stupor can at any time turn into excitement or vice versa.

The symptoms of catatonic schizophrenia are:

  • Stupor. During an attack, a person freezes for an indefinite time in one, not always comfortable position. The time spent in a stupor is delayed from several hours to several days. When the patient does not move for many days, bedsores form on the body. In addition, there is a violation of the nerve conduction of tissues and blood circulation. Consciousness is preserved in a state of stupor. Patients see and hear everything, but will not be able to take part in what is happening. In a stupor, the patient may see hallucinations and rave.
  • Excitation. Often characterized by inadequate, aggressive human behavior. During this state, the patient performs impulsive, destructive actions that do not have specific goals. At the same time, a man or woman can harm not only others but also himself. Therefore, in a state of excitement and uncontrolled aggression, patients are hospitalized.
Typical symptoms of catatonic syndrome:
  • Air cushion symptom. A person, lying on a flat surface, keeps his head elevated as if a pillow was placed under it. It is noteworthy that he remains in this position during sleep.
  • Hood symptom. The patient wants to hide his head, covering it with a veil, clothing, or other items.
  • Trunk symptom. Basic reflexes appear – grasping, sucking.
  • Mutism. During an attack, the patient remains completely silent, while he understands the speech of others.
  • Negativism. The person categorically refuses to fulfill any requests.
  • Echolalia. It is characterized by copying the actions, facial expressions, and words of others.

In catatonic schizophrenia, several symptoms may appear simultaneously. The patient’s condition is depressed, during an attack aggressiveness is manifested, not the perception of others. Patients also suffer from hallucinations and delusions.

 

Signs of Catatonic Schizophrenia

Signs of catatonic schizophrenia depend on which form develops:

  • Lucid catatonia – A simple, less severe form in which spatial, temporal, and personal orientation is preserved. Lucid catatonia is characterized by musculoskeletal dysfunction – stupor or agitation. At the time of the attack, consciousness is clear, and aggression, delirium, and hallucinations are absent.
  • Oneiroid catatonia – This is a more severe form, in which a person becomes unsafe not only for others but also for himself. At the time of the attack, the patient is not able to orient himself in space and be aware of his personality and actions. Often, with the oneiroid form, a person is in a state of aggression, and anger, while productive signs appear – impaired consciousness, delirium, hallucinations. The actions of patients in such cases are destructive, so urgent hospitalization is required.

 

Catatonic Schizophrenia in Men

Catatonic schizophrenia in men often develops before the age of 30 years. The main components of the syndrome in a man:

  • Excitation;
  • Impulsive behavior;
  • Stupor.

Often these disorders replace each other, accompanied by delusions, and hallucinations. As the disease progresses, personality degradation is observed. During an attack, a person can remain silent or start making noise, screaming, or fighting. At the moment of arousal, the behavior of a man becomes ridiculous, he can grimace, and show different gestures. In addition, there is increased salivation, impaired cardiac activity, and increased pressure. The patient can, without any special purpose, feel objects, open and close doors, pursue others, and snatch objects from their hands.

In a state of stupor, a man becomes inhibited. He is completely speechless, muscle tone is increased. Often, patients freeze in unnatural, uncomfortable positions, which can last for several hours or even days.

 

Catatonic Schizophrenia in Women

Catatonic schizophrenia in women in the initial stages of development is similar in symptoms to hysteria. The patient behaves unhealthy, commits uncharacteristic acts, and requires increased attention. The mood becomes changeable, psychological parasitism is observed, and interests and hobbies are completely absent.

As it progresses, the characteristic symptoms of a catatonic disorder develop. In a stupor, a woman becomes inhibited, she does not perceive loud sounds but can respond to a whisper. In addition, there is a violation of the sensitivity of the limbs, when touching a cold or hot object, there is no reaction. Stupor is often accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Increased sweating;
  • A sharp decrease in blood pressure;
  • Increased muscle tone;
  • Swelling of the lower extremities.

In the moment of excitement, a woman screams, swears, throws herself at others, laughs for no reason, and breaks dishes. In some cases, consciousness is preserved, but hallucinations and delusions are more common.

 

Catatonic Schizophrenia in Children

Catatonic schizophrenia in children can manifest from 5 to 6 years of age. Symptoms during attacks are characteristic of a schizophrenic disorder. Small children can lick, sniff different objects, and repeat the words and movements of adults.

At the age of 10 – 12 years, a child can behave like a one-year-old baby – babble, make incomprehensible sounds, drool, suck fingers and other objects, and not respond to the words of others. And in adolescents, the symptoms are already more pronounced and vivid, such as in adult women and men. The processes that occur in the brain tissues in catatonic schizophrenia negatively affect the work of all organs and systems of the patient, which leads to irreversible consequences.

 

Treatment of Catatonic Schizophrenia

Treatment of catatonic schizophrenia in the Salvation clinic is prescribed after the diagnosis is confirmed. If contact is maintained during an attack, the doctor talks with the patient, ask questions and conducts testing. In the absence of a reaction, anamnestic data are obtained from relatives. First of all, the doctor needs to determine the causes of the pathology, therefore, after the initial examination, a referral is given for such diagnostic examinations:

Be sure to appoint laboratory tests that will help assess the general condition of the body, and diagnose a latent disease that can cause the development of a catatonic form of schizophrenia.

If the diagnosis is nevertheless confirmed, treatment is prescribed, which is carried out in our psychiatric clinic under the supervision of a team of highly qualified specialists. Here, modern, effective, safe methods are used, with the help of which it will be possible to stop the progression of the pathology and return the patient to a normal, workable life.

Psychiatrists at the Salvation clinic use the following methods of therapy for catatonic schizophrenia:
  • Medical treatment – Helps to smooth out the clinical manifestations of the disease. If a catatonic attack is accompanied by a state of excitation, neuroleptics, and tranquilizers are used. With catatonic stupor, sedatives and nootropics, neuroleptics will help to alleviate the condition. The intensity of the use of medications and dosage depends on the degree of progression of the disease and the general condition of the patient’s body.
  • Electroconvulsive therapy – It is prescribed in extreme cases when medical treatment does not give positive results. The essence of the procedure is the effect of current on the structures of the brain. Electroconvulsive therapy is carried out only in a psychiatric clinic and under the supervision of experienced professionals. If the patient is diagnosed with cardiovascular pathologies, diseases of the respiratory and digestive systems, and acute infectious processes, the procedure is contraindicated. After electroconvulsive therapy, patients continue to take medication.

During treatment, the patient is regularly examined using high-precision diagnostic methods. This allows you to determine the effectiveness of treatment, and adjust the therapeutic regimen.

The psychiatric clinic is equipped with modern, high-precision equipment, which can be used to diagnose catatonic schizophrenia in the early stages, which significantly improves the prognosis for recovery. Thanks to an integrated approach, today this psychopathological disorder is not a sentence. In our center, each patient is constantly monitored, if necessary, doctors will provide first aid, advise relatives, and give advice on how to behave with a sick relative. If catatonic schizophrenia is diagnosed promptly, then with adequately selected therapy and rehabilitation, it is possible to achieve a stable improvement in the condition, reduce the manifestation of symptoms of the disease, prevent relapses and return a person to a normal, healthy, active life.