Background: Catatonic symptoms have been associated with mixed mania in the older psychiatric literature, however, to date no systematic studies have been performed to assess their frequency in these patients.
Method: Ninety-nine patients with bipolar disorder manic or mixed episode were assessed for the presence of catatonia.
Results: Thirty-nine patients fulfilled criteria for mixed mania of whom 24 were catatonic. Among the patients with pure mania, only three were catatonic. Eighteen catatonic patients with mixed mania required admission to the acute care unit (ACU).
Limitations: Our findings only apply to severely ill patients with mixed mania who require ACU admission. Nevertheless, it is important to know, that the likelihood of overlooking catatonia in less severely ill patients with mixed mania is low and that it does not need to be routinely assessed on a general ward.
Conclusions: Catatonia is frequent in mania and linked to the mixed episode. Catatonia in mixed mania is likely to be found among the severely ill group of patients with mixed mania, who require emergency treatment.