Catatonic Schizophrenia Symptoms: What You Need to Know

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Catatonic Schizophrenia Symptoms: What You Need to Know

Catatonic Schizophrenia Symptoms: What You Need to Know
Catatonic Schizophrenia Symptoms: What You Need to Know

There are many types of schizophrenia types, but catatonic schizophrenia may be one of the most difficult to understand and recognize at first.

That is because it is not always associated with other schizophrenia symptoms, like auditory or visual hallucinations, or disorganized speech or behavior.

In fact, catatonic schizophrenia might not even be considered in someone’s diagnosis until it is suggested by doctors or family members after extensive observation of their patterns of behavior and speech over time.

The Different Forms of Catatonic symptoms in schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is not a one-size-fits-all diagnosis. It is possible for a person to have catatonic symptoms but no psychosis, or no mood disorders like depression or anxiety.

The CATSS Catatonia Rating Scale (a type of tool) for Psychosis and Schizophrenia can help you determine how much catatonic behavior your loved one exhibits.

If your loved one is experiencing two out of three symptoms, they are likely dealing with catatonic schizophrenia.

How Common Is It?

As many as 1 in 100 people will experience catatonia at some point during their lifetime.

It is more common in older adults and women. Schizophrenia, which is diagnosed much more frequently than catatonia, affects about 1% of people at some point in their life.

Catatonic Schizophrenia Symptoms: What You Need to Know
Catatonic Schizophrenia Symptoms: What You Need to Know


It is not entirely clear what causes catatonic schizophrenia, but there are likely a number of factors at play.

Some studies have suggested that it may be due to an imbalance in dopamine, or a genetic component.

Other medical conditions or drug use can trigger symptoms as well, so it is important to rule out other causes before diagnosing catatonic schizophrenia.

Many people with schizophrenia will first experience symptoms in adolescence or early adulthood, although it’s possible for children and older adults to develop catatonic symptoms.

Risk Factors

Schizophrenia usually first appears in late adolescence or early adulthood.

Experts don’t know what causes schizophrenia, but it is believed that both genetic and environmental factors play a role.

People who have close relatives with schizophrenia are more likely to develop it themselves.

Some research suggests that individuals living in urban areas may be at increased risk for developing schizophrenia, although there’s currently not enough evidence to confirm whether city life can trigger psychosis.


Effective treatments can help lessen your symptoms, but there is no cure for schizophrenia.

It’s important that you find ways to cope and manage it, though, because if you don’t treat it effectively, it could affect every aspect of your life.

Make sure you’re getting professional treatment and regularly attend doctor visits so they can monitor your progress and adjust medications as needed.  

You should also consider setting up a regular routine of healthy habits that will help you manage day-to-day stressors.

Exercise frequently or take up a new hobby, such as knitting or reading; having something positive in your life will help boost your mood when symptoms arise.

Treatments and Coping Tips

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with schizophrenia, it’s important to understand how catatonia symptoms fit into your treatment plan.

Studies have shown that schizophrenia itself may be less responsive to treatment, but addressing catatonic symptoms can often help improve overall quality of life and wellness.

If you suspect that you are experiencing symptoms of catatonia, there are several coping tips available. The most common include writing in a journal, attending group therapy sessions, participating in sports activities, taking part in family outings and visiting positive influences such as friends and loved ones.


Sometimes people are not aware about catatonic schizophrenia. They consider it as dramatic. But our first responsibility is to search for any mental health professional who can easily identify this and can start the treatment accordingly.

Who is at risk for catatonic schizophrenia?

If you have a history of schizophrenia in your family, then you are more likely to develop this condition. There are some other factors like drugs and alcohol can contribute catatonic symptoms in some person with schizophrenia.
Depression is also seen as causative factor for catatonia. Certain antipsychotic drugs or other medications that are used to treat an underlying mental disorder, are also sometimes seen as a cause for catatonic symptoms.

Can you recover from catatonic schizophrenia?

People with this disorder usually can not care for themselves, so they need medical care from trained mental healthcare professional. Fortunately, prognosis of catatonia is very good and it is easily treatable.
Most of the person respond very well to the medication. Those person who don’t respond to medication, generally respond to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

How long can a person stay catatonic?

Catatonia can last from a few hours to weeks, months or even years. Some patients also have recurring episodes. 

What are the dangers of catatonia?

Dangers of catatonic symptoms usually occur, when the symptoms lead to other health related problems, like severe fluctuations in blood pressure, body temperature, or breathing or heart rate.
Some patient who is catatonic for a very long time may develop problems like dehydration, blood clots, or kidney failure.

What happens if catatonia goes untreated?

If person with catatonia is left untreated and unrecognized it becomes chronic, and patients may die from complications of immobility, malnutrition, and dangerous behavior.

How common is catatonic schizophrenia?

Cases of catatonic schizophrenia has been reported at a rate of 1 in 1000 in the general population, and usually up to 5% of all new diagnoses of schizophrenia.

What is the first line treatment for catatonia?

The first-line treatment for catatonia is usually benzodiazepines like lorazepam. They work on GABA receptors.

Is catatonic schizophrenia rare?

Though catatonic schizophrenia is a rare mental illness, that were believed to only occur in people with schizophrenia.
But now a days it now been found in people with other types of mental disorders, such as neurodevelopmental, psychotic bipolar, or depressive illnesses.

Is there a test for catatonia?

As such no test is available to diagnose catatonia. Peculiar clinical features are enough to make the diagnosis of catatonia. But still all patients suspected of having catatonia should have EEG testing as a screen for other neurological conditions. 

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