Malignant Catatonia

  • Stephan C. MannEmail author
  • Stanley N. Caroff
  • Henry R. Bleier
  • E. Cabrina Campbell
Part of the Current Clinical Neurology book series (CCNEU)


Malignant catatonia (MC) represents a life-threatening neuropsychiatric disorder that was widely reported both in the United States and abroad long before the introduction of antipsychotic drugs. Lack of recognition probably accounts for the relative paucity of contemporary North American reports on MC. Furthermore, MC is a syndrome rather than a specific disease entity that may occur as an outgrowth of diverse neuromedical illnesses as well as with the major psychoses. From this perspective, neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS), a potentially deadly complication of antipsychotic drug treatment, may be conceptualized as a drug-induced form of MC. The hypothesis that MC and NMS share a common pathophysiology, involving reduced dopamine functioning in the frontal-subcortical circuits, provides additional support for a view of NMS as a subtype of MC. Electroconvulsive therapy is the preferred treatment for MC stemming from a major psychotic disorder, and appears also effective in cases caused by neuromedical illnesses. Antipsychotic drugs should be withheld whenever MC is suspected.


Medial Prefrontal Cortex Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome Imitation Behavior Antipsychotic Drug Treatment Akinetic Mutism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephan C. Mann
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Stanley N. Caroff
    • 3
  • Henry R. Bleier
    • 3
  • E. Cabrina Campbell
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesThe University of Louisville School of MedicineLouisvilleUSA
  2. 2.Central Montgomery Mental Health and Mental Retardation CenterNorristownUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryVeterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of Pennsylvania School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA

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