Catatonic schizophrenia is a subtype of schizophrenia that experts now consider obsolete. Experts no longer recognize it as a specific condition, and instead, attach catatonia as an additional feature when diagnosing schizophrenia. Catatonia is sometimes dangerous, but is usually very treatable with medication or other methods.
What is catatonic schizophrenia?
“Catatonic schizophrenia” is a subtype of schizophrenia that includes catatonia as a key feature. Experts no longer recognize it as a diagnosis, making this name obsolete. Today, experts recognize schizophrenia as a specific disease and a spectrum of disorders. Healthcare providers regard catatonia as an important syndrome to consider and treat, especially when it happens with schizophrenia.
The American Psychiatric Association removed catatonic schizophrenia from its list of official diagnoses when updating to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published in 2013. The World Health Organization (WHO) removed “catatonic schizophrenia” from the International Classification of Diseases when updating to the 11th edition (ICD-11) in 2019.
What is catatonia?
Catatonia is a syndrome — a collection of signs and symptoms — where your brain doesn’t manage muscle movement signals as it should and you behave abnormally. It happens with many other conditions, but schizophrenia is frequently associated with catatonia. Once thought to be the only condition associated with catatonia, it’s now known that bipolar disorder is more commonly associated with catatonia and that catatonia occurs alongside a number of medical and mental health conditions.
There are three main forms of catatonia: excited, withdrawn and mixed.
- Excited/hyperkinetic: This form involves increased movement (such as in the form of pacing), agitated behavior, unusual or exaggerated movements, repetitive movements or speaking, or mimicking someone speaking or moving near them.
- Withdrawn/hypokinetic: This form of catatonia is often easier to spot because people with this form of catatonia have very limited responses — or no response at all — to what’s happening around them. They may be mute, show no emotions or facial expressions, hold completely still or stare or stay in an unusual position for an extended period.
- Mixed: This form combines features of hyperkinetic and hypokinetic catatonia.
What is the difference between catatonic schizophrenia and paranoid schizophrenia?
Like “catatonic schizophrenia,” “paranoid schizophrenia” is an obsolete term for a diagnosis that no longer exists. Paranoid schizophrenia was the name for schizophrenia where experts regarded paranoia, delusions and hallucinations as key symptoms. Catatonic schizophrenia is the term for schizophrenia where catatonia is the most dominant feature. more