Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 517–528

Catatonia in autistic disorder: A sign of comorbidity or variable expression?

  • George M. Realmuto
  • Gerald J. August

DOI: 10.1007/BF02206874

Cite this article as:
Realmuto, G.M. & August, G.J. J Autism Dev Disord (1991) 21: 517. doi:10.1007/BF02206874


Catatonia, once solely attributed to schizophrenia, is now thought to be associated with many disorders. Autistic disorder shares some symptoms with catatonia, namely, mutism, echopraxia/echolalia, and stereotypies. Catatonia in autism may therefore be a variant of the autistic condition. However, organic deficits and psychiatric disorders, such as bipolar disorder, have also been linked with the manifestation of catatonia. Individuals with autism presenting with these comorbid conditions may therefore be at increased risk for catatonia. Little is written of the association of autism and catatonia to clarify the possibility of catatonia as a variant or a sign of a comorbid condition. The authors discuss three autistic patients and suggest specific etiologies for the symptoms of catatonia which presented in these cases. The therapeutic and diagnostic importance of comorbid disorders in autism is stressed.

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • George M. Realmuto
    • 1
  • Gerald J. August
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryBox 95 University of Minnesota Hospital and ClinicMinneapolis

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