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Have You Ever Experienced Catatonia?

Updated on August 25, 2019
psycholady profile image

Monica was diagnosed with psychosis disorder in 2018 and 2019. She has experienced a lot of the symptoms associated with this disorder.

I Am Awake, but I Can't Respond

According to Psychology Today, Catatonia is a neuropsychiatric condition that affects both the mind and body functions. Causing the person with this condition to become unresponsive or sometimes excessive in an odd or unusual way.

My experiences with this condition were terrifying for me. Sometimes I was unable to move or speak. A few times I was unable to open my eyes and move my body. Other times I could not speak.

All of these occurrences happened against my will. No matter how hard I tried to move, or talk, I was incapable of doing so during these catatonia episodes.

Definition of catatonic

1: of, relating to, marked by, or affected with catatonia

catatonic schizophrenia

2: characterized by a marked lack of movement, activity, or expression

tourists who were almost catatonic at finding themselves in their hero's presence

— Neil Hickey

Not Moving or Talking

Source

The 3 Kinds of Catatonia

Malignant - can be lethal due to the patient developing a severe level of metabolic decompensation, because they do not respond to treatment.

Exited - The patient suffers from severe psychomotor agitation

Akinetic - The patient is non-responsive, stares blankly and may be sitting or lying in an unusual position.


What Does Catatonia Feel Like?

For me, every time that I had a catatonia episode, it felt like I was hypnotized. I did things that I wouldn't normally do. I felt like I was a puppet on a string that someone else could control.

The harder I fought for my freedom to control myself, the less I had control. I have experienced my hands locking up and not being able to unlock them. I have experienced lethargic behavior. I have been in situations that I was unable to speak.

This behavior has changed me and my life. It is a very lonely and scary life when you can't even trust yourself as well as anyone else that may take advantage of you while you are in a catatonic state.

Paralyzed

I can’t move

And I can’t see

I can’t speak

And I cant breathe

Stuck in nightmare

Wishing it was a sweet dream

Trying to scream

But no one can hear me

I try to scream but nothing

Not even a single sound

— Wherearethestars

10 Symptoms of Catatonia

There are 10 or more symptoms of Catatonia. To be diagnosed with this disorder a person needs to demonstrate at least three of these symptoms.

  1. An inability to move or respond to the environment around you. Your body may be rigid.
  2. Inability to speak or can only speak a couple of words
  3. Resistance when trying to move your body. Example: If someone puts you in a certain position, you can only stay in that position.
  4. Negative thinking or expecting the worst.
  5. Agitation for no apparent reason.
  6. Extreme or odd mannerism's or behavior's
  7. Repetitive movements or speech
  8. Repeating other's speech or movement
  9. Holding a position that goes against gravity
  10. Distorted facial expressions

Demonstration of Catatonic Schizophrenia

List of Some Medications and Treatments Used to Relieve some Catatonia Symptoms

(click column header to sort results)
Lorazepam  
Memantine  
Amantadine  
Benzodiazepine
N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)
Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS)
Zolpidem
Diazepam
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
This is just a small example of medications and treatments that can be used.

Some Things To Remember About Catatonia Psychosis

Now that you know what Catatonia is, here are some important things you may want to remember.

  • Catatonia is a psychological disorder that can occur with many mental disorders and psychosis.
  • This disorder can be very dangerous and deadly to the person who has it if left untreated.
  • Not everyone who has a mental illness will have this rare disorder.
  • Catatonia can last from a few hours to many days.
  • This condition can be treated with medication and therapy.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Monica

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    • psycholady profile imageAUTHOR

      Monica 

      8 months ago from United States

      Hi Lori,

      Thank you for sharing your experience and for the prayer. It sounds like you did have a couple of cataconic experiences. I am glad to hear that you do not have them anymore. Yes, they are very scary. Thanks for posting. I Love you too.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      8 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      This reminded me of that movie with Robin Williams and Robert de Niro called Awakenings and Patch Adams, another Robin Williams movie. The latter movie begins with Patch in a psychiatric ward and there is one catatonic patient.

      I never experienced catatonia I don't think. But there were a couple of times where I fell to the ground and couldn't move or speak, my eyes were closed but I could hear everything around me. It lasted only a couple of minutes and it only happened twice, many years ago. Scary for sure.

      I love you Monica and pray for your healing.

    • psycholady profile imageAUTHOR

      Monica 

      8 months ago from United States

      Hi Lorna,

      Thank you for your kind comment and visit.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      8 months ago

      Thank you for drawing awareness to this extremely debilitating condition. Even though the condition is quite rare it is so important to have an understanding of what it entails. This is an excellent article which gives a thorough explanation of Catatonia. Thank you for sharing.

    • psycholady profile imageAUTHOR

      Monica 

      8 months ago from United States

      Hi Cynthia,

      Thank you for your comment. I can't speak for other people, but for me it is.

    • techygran profile image

      Cynthia Zirkwitz 

      8 months ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      I have heard of "catatonia" and knew of it as an expression of being in a sort of frozen state but did not actually understand its dynamics as part of a mental illness. Your description made it sound frightening, even terrifying. Thanks for the article.

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