Catatonic schizophrenia is a schizophrenia type where people reveal extreme behaviors. As people listen to the word catatonic, they consider the person to be mute and sedated. However, catatonic schizophrenia refers to people who may be mute and sedated, or who may be highly active, literally out of control. As per researchers, this schizophrenia type is rare. Some symptoms associated with catatonic schizophrenia include:

  1. Mimicking actions and words of others
  2. Having facial expressions and strange movements
  3. Moving quickly or unable to move or speak
  4. Repeating phrases or behaviors over and again

People affected with catatonic schizophrenia reveal the above characteristics prominently than other schizophrenia symptoms. Symptoms of catatonic schizophrenia may last sometimes for few minutes or may go on for several weeks, based on whether a person is undergoing treatment or not and how one responds to the treatment.

Catatonic Schizophrenia

In this article you will learn the treatment methods for catatonic schizophrenia, Home Remedies and Risk Factors in catatonic schizophrenia.

Treatment for Catatonic Schizophrenia

Managing the signs and symptoms and improving the quality of life of the patient is the primary objective of treatment for catatonic schizophrenia. Catatonic schizophrenia refers to a condition such that it lasts throughout life and is a chronic condition. Catatonic schizophrenia patients need treatment on a definite basis; even if the signs or symptoms may have disappeared. This is a feeling that in a particular period patients feel they are fine and require no help. Basically, the treatment is the same for all schizophrenia types; there are differences depending on the symptom types and severity, the patient's health or age, and few other factors.

Health care professionals as an entire team get involved in curing a catatonic schizophrenia person. Catatonic schizophrenia affects the patient's life in many areas, thus the team of health care professionals also include a range of experts, such as a physician or family doctor, a case worker, a pharmacist, a psychiatrist, a psychiatric nurse, a psychotherapist, a pediatrician, a social worker and the patients' family members.

Catatonic schizophrenia treatment options generally include drugs (medications), psychotherapy, ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), vocational skills training and hospitalization.

Medicines for Treating Catatonic Schizophrenia

Following are the medicines which are usually prescribed for treating catatonic schizophrenia:

  • Barbiturates for treating catatonic schizophrenia. These drugs act as depressants of central nervous system. They may be mild sedation to complete anesthesia. They are high sedatives and have similar effects such as benzodiazepines. They can relieve the catatonia symptoms rapidly. However, when it is used for an extended period of time, the risk of dependency is expected. The drug is not given for catatonic schizophrenia treatment routinely.
  • Benzodiazepines for treatment of catatonic schizophrenia. This drug acts as a tranquilizer. It is used regularly to treat anxiety. Hence is known as anti-anxiety medication. Benzodiazepines are the real choice for catatonic schizophrenia medication. The drug acts fast and may be intravenously administered. This may be injected to a vein in case of catatonia state of the patient. Benzodiazepines relieve rapidly the catatonic symptoms. This drug also includes the risk of dependency when taken for an extended period of time. The symptoms of catatonic may be relieved when the patient takes this medication for several weeks or days.
  • Mood stabilizing drugs and antidepressants for managing catatonic schizophrenia. People with catatonic schizophrenia also have other illnesses and mental health problems, such as hostility, aggression or depression.
  • Antipsychotic medications are used only for schizophrenia. These medications may worsen the symptoms of catatonic and so are not used for catatonic schizophrenia patients.

ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) for Treating Catatonic Schizophrenia

ECT or electroconvulsive therapy for catatonic schizophrenia is a procedure where an electric current is sent to produce controlled seizures. This is sent through the brain. It is used on patients suffering with depression who do not respond or are unable to take antidepressants. This is used on patients with very severe depression, or even on those who are at high risk of suicide. It is believed by experts that ECT stimulates neurochemical release in the brain that is caused by the controlled seizure. ECT is used for catatonic patients sometimes in case they fail to respond to other treatments or medications. Side effects include short-term memory loss. So, it is very important that the doctor clearly explains the ECT pros and cons to the patient and his/her family members or guardian.

Hospitalization for Catatonic Schizophrenia

Hospitalization is essential during severe episodes of catatonic schizophrenia. Such patients in a hospital setting are safe; they get proper nutrition, hygiene and sleep, besides right treatment. In fact, even partial hospitalization is acceptable at times.

Psychotherapy for Treating Catatonic Schizophrenia

Psychotherapy plays a crucial role in treatment of catatonic schizophrenia. Medications are the main treatment for the catatonic schizophrenia patients; however, psychotherapy is very important. If the symptoms are severe, psychotherapy may be less inappropriate.

Psychotherapy includes of a range of techniques to cure emotional, mental health and some psychiatric disorders. Psychotherapy cures the patient and assists in understanding what makes them anxious or feel positive, besides accepting their weak and strong points. Once such people identify their ways of thinking and feelings, they become better in handling tougher situations while managing catatonic schizophrenia.

Vocational and Social Skills Training for Catatonic Schizophrenia

Vocational and social skill training for catatonic schizophrenia assists the patient in living independently; this itself is a major recovery part for the patient. The therapist here helps the patient in learning good hygiene, in communicating better and also in preparing nutritional meals. It may be great assistance in finding work and joining self-help groups.

Sticking to the Treatment Plan for Catatonic Schizophrenia

Compliance in medicine implies adhering to the therapy regime (the treatment) is also the most crucial in treatment for catatonic schizophrenia. Regrettably, the major problem is with lack of compliance in such patients with catatonic schizophrenia. These patients go away from their medication for long periods, causing huge personal costs to self and to people around them as well.

Experts say most patients, to a big percentage, within the initial twelve months of treatment go away from their medication. So, to address a catatonic schizophrenia treatment successfully, a life-long regimen may be considered and it must include both, psychosocial and drug support therapies.

Treatment Challenges in Catatonic Schizophrenia

Receiving appropriate treatment for catatonic schizophrenia and adhering to the treatment plan implies you can lead a productive life soon and participate in the daily activities without any issue. However, be prepared for the challenges that may hinder the treatment.

First, patients with catatonic schizophrenia, like many others, may have difficulty in following the treatment plan. This happens as you firmly consider you do not require treatment or medications. Adding to this, you also forget taking your medications or even going to the therapy appointments. Consult your doctors about sticking to the treatment plan and its tips. There may be a relapse, even if you follow a good treatment. Having a perfect plan helps in dealing with a relapse.

Smoking, and heavy smoking, is very common in patients with catatonic schizophrenia. There is evidence suggesting that smoking improves concentration and thinking in catatonic schizophrenia. But smoking may impede with certain medications. It is best to be honest about your smoking habits with your doctors. And understand the health risks of smoking seriously.

Similarly, using drugs and alcohol can worsen catatonic schizophrenia symptoms. In case there is a problem with substance abuse or alcohol, you may benefit on following the treatment programs that includes care for both, substance abuse and catatonic schizophrenia.

Other Treatments for Catatonic Schizophrenia

In case you are a catatonic schizophrenia patient, the best approach is the conventional medicine. Medication that treats the disorder is the best as it offers a chance of functioning normally, if you take your medication regularly. However, electroconvulsive therapy for catatonic schizophrenia is useful, if you fail to respond to your medication. The electroconvulsive therapy for catatonic schizophrenia includes electricity to be passed through your brain affecting the chemicals in the brain. You can ensure the symptoms never return by taking medications regularly, being mindful of this disorder, and staying away from substances worsening this disorder.

Home Remedies for Catatonic Schizophrenia

Catatonic schizophrenia is not referred to as an illness that can be cured on its own, but certain home remedies for catatonic schizophrenia helps in reducing the symptoms and thus helps in stabilizing a patient. These include:

  • Having herbal tea prepared from basil, chamomile, sage, rosemary and such herbs are good and effective home remedies for catatonic schizophrenia.
  • Kava kava, licorice and passion flower relieves the symptoms relating to catatonic schizophrenia such as anxiety and stress and is a good home remedy.
  • Another home remedy is tea prepared using sage and basil in boiling water relieves catatonic schizophrenia problems.
  • Meditation, yoga and aromatherapy are beneficial for problems related to catatonic schizophrenia such as depression and anxiety.
  • Herbal tea prepared using powdered Asian ginseng is of immense use as catatonic schizophrenia home remedy.
  • A balanced and healthy diet is a good home remedy to avert problems such as malnutrition.
  • Consume foods opulent in vitamin B6, vitamin B3, vitamin C and manganese.
  • Diet should contain different fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, peas, carrots, tomatoes, oranges and Indian gooseberries. These are effective home remedies for catatonic schizophrenia.
  • Paying attention and staying alert to warning signs that may cause a relapse and involving friends and family to observe the warning signs can help.

Risk Factors for Catatonic Schizophrenia

There are multiple risk factors for catatonic schizophrenia. A risk factor is when there is an increase in the possibility of developing a disease or condition. For instance, obesity elevates the risk of diabetes type-2 development. Thus, obesity is a main risk factor for type-2 diabetes. The catatonic schizophrenia risk factors are also the same as most schizophrenia sub-types and this includes:

  • Genetics is a major risk factor for catatonic schizophrenia. A catatonic schizophrenia family history creates more risk of developing it in children of the same family. In case, your family has no catatonic schizophrenia history, the chances of such diseases is 1%. The risk is more than 10% in case one of your parents is/ was a sufferer of catatonic schizophrenia. Schizophrenia gene is a gene that plays a crucial role in controlling the new neurons birth, besides their integration in the circuit of the existing brain, reports and article that was published by Cell. While, another study from Sweden found that bipolar disorder and schizophrenia share similar genetic causes.
  • Fetal malnutrition is another major risk factor for catatonic schizophrenia. In case the fetus during the mothers' pregnancy suffers from malnutrition, the risk is higher in developing catatonic schizophrenia.
  • In case the fetus is open to elements such as viral infection; the risk is again more for developing catatonic schizophrenia.
  • Childhood trauma or abuse is another factor of risk for developing the catatonic schizophrenia.
  • Severe stress early in life may be one of the biggest reasons to contribute towards catatonic schizophrenia development. Generally, stressful experiences precede catatonic schizophrenia emergence. People with this complaint do not show any apparent symptoms, but are habitually anxious, bad-tempered and unfocussed. This stimulates relationship problems. Actually the factors are accused for the disease onset; while actually, the disease causes the crisis. Thus, it becomes very tough to realize whether catatonic schizophrenia occurred due to stress or stresses are caused by catatonic schizophrenia.
  • Having older parents is of higher risk as children may develop catatonic schizophrenia, than in comparison to younger parents.
  • Drugs affecting the mental or mind process in adolescence may elevate development of catatonic schizophrenia.

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Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: May 26, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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