ANSWERS: 1
  • The causes of catatonia are largely unknown although research indicates that brain structure and function are altered in this condition. While this and other information point to a physical cause, none has yet been proven. A variety of medical conditions also may lead to catatonia including head trauma, cerebrovascular disease, encephalitis, and certain metabolic disorders. NMS is an adverse side effect of certain antipsychotic drugs. A variety of symptoms are associated with catatonia. Among the more common are echopraxia (imitation of the gestures of others) and echolalia (parrot-like repetition of words spoken by others). Other signs and symptoms include violence directed toward him/herself, the assumption of inappropriate posture, selective mutism, negativism, facial grimaces, and animal-like noises. Catatonic stupor is marked by immobility and a behavior known as cerea flexibilitas (waxy flexibility) in which the individual can be made to assume bizarre (and sometimes painful) postures that they will maintain for extended periods of time. The individual may become dehydrated and malnourished because food and liquids are refused. In extreme situations such individuals must be fed through a tube. Catatonic excitement is characterized by hyperactivity and violence; the individual may harm him/herself or others. On rare occasions, isolation or restraint may be needed to ensure the individual's safety and the safety of others.

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