Catatonic disorders are a group of symptoms characterized by disturbances in motor (muscular movement) behavior that may have either a psychological or a physiological basis. The best-known of these symptoms is immobility, which is a rigid positioning of the body held for a considerable length of time. Patients diagnosed with a catatonic disorder may maintain their body position for hours, days, weeks or even months at a time. Alternately, catatonic symptoms may look like agitated, purposeless movements that are seemingly unrelated to the person's environment.
Source : Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders
Catatonia was first medically described in the late 1800s. and has been intensively researched since then. It's usually* the result of acute psychiatric illnesses - typicallyand . Its prevalence is estimated at around 10% of patients with acute psychiatric problems.
The pathophysiology that leads to catatonia is still poorly understood and a definite mechanism remains unknown. Neurologic studies have implicated several pathways, however, it remains unclear whether these findings are the cause or the consequence of the disorder.
Source : Wikipedia
* Note : It can also be triggered as a result of rapid drug/medication withdrawal.
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