Catatonia: clinical aspects and neurobiological correlates

J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2009 Fall;21(4):371-80. doi: 10.1176/jnp.2009.21.4.371.


Catatonia is a neuropsychiatric syndrome that can occur due to medical or psychiatric disorder. This review synthesizes over 20 years of original research and comprehensive review articles with attention to the most recent findings. Though catatonia is common and highly treatable, there have been few research studies investigating the syndrome. Pooled case reports suggest that catatonia due to an underlying general medical condition and catatonia due to a psychiatric illness can be treated similarly and that the catatonic symptoms and the underlying illness must be addressed in both types. Benzodiazepines and ECT continue to be mainstays of treatment. Evidence is mounting for the use of NMDA antagonists in catatonia refractory to lorazepam.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Catatonia / diagnosis*
  • Catatonia / physiopathology*
  • Catatonia / therapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy
  • Humans
  • Pyridines / therapeutic use
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
  • Zolpidem


  • Pyridines
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Zolpidem