European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience

, Volume 251, Supplement 1, pp I8–I13

The many varieties of catatonia


  • Max Fink
    • P.O. Box 457, St. James, New York 11780-0457 USA, E-mail: <>, web-site: <>
  • Michael A. Taylor
    • 1407 Lincoln Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 USA, E-mail: <>

DOI: 10.1007/PL00014200

Cite this article as:
Fink, M. & Taylor, M. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences (2001) 251: I8. doi:10.1007/PL00014200


About 10 % of patients with severe acute psychiatric illness exhibit a cluster of motor signs (mutism, negativism, rigidity, posturing, stereotypy, staring, etc.) that are identified as the syndrome of catatonia. Catatonia responds to sedative anticonvulsant treatment (barbiturates, benzodiazepines) and to electroconvulsive therapy. These treatments raise seizure thresholds. The commonality in response indicates that catatonia, malignant catatonia, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, toxic serotonin syndrome, delirious mania, catatonic excitement, benign stupor, and oneirophrenia are best evaluated as diverse manifestations of one syndrome for clinical and neuroscience research purposes.

Key words CatatoniaNeuroleptic malignant syndromeSerotonin syndromeElectroconvulsive therapyBenzodiazepines
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© Steinkopff Verlag 2001