Effective treatment of catatonia by combination of benzodiazepine and electroconvulsive therapy

J ECT. 2013 Sep;29(3):206-9. doi: 10.1097/YCT.0b013e3182887a1a.


Objective: Catatonia, a motor dysregulation syndrome, can emerge in numerous psychiatric disorders, mainly in schizophrenia and mood disorders, and metabolic and endocrine disorders such as infections, toxic states, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury. In our study, we aimed to investigate demographic, clinical, and treatment-related characteristics of catatonic patients managed in our inpatient clinic.

Methods: The medical records of 57 patients diagnosed to have catatonia according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision, criteria who were admitted to the inpatient psychiatry clinic of the Gaziantep University School of Medicine between 1 January, 2003, and 31 December, 2011, were retrospectively reviewed.

Results: In patients with catatonia, mood disorders (63.2%) were found to be the most common underlying or primary disease, whereas mutism (47.4%) was found to be the most common catatonic symptom. There was a comorbid medical condition in 9 patients (15.8%). Patients underwent an average of 9.00 electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) sessions. Among 57 patients with catatonia, catatonic symptoms were resolved in 57 patients (100%) by benzodiazepine and ECT.

Conclusions: In our study, full recovery was achieved in catatonia by benzodiazepine plus ECT combination. As a result, we recommend combined ECT and benzodiazepine for catatonia.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use*
  • Catatonia / epidemiology
  • Catatonia / psychology
  • Catatonia / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Educational Status
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Turkey / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Benzodiazepines