Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci.  2015 Aug;13(2):218-221. 10.9758/cpn.2015.13.2.218.

Recurrent Idiopathic Catatonia: Implications beyond the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition

  • 1Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


We describe a case of recurrent, life-threatening, catatonic stupor, without evidence of any associated medical, toxic or mental disorder. This case provides support for the inclusion of a separate category of "unspecified catatonia" in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-5) to be used to classify idiopathic cases, which appears to be consistent with Kahlbaum's concept of catatonia as a distinct disease state. But beyond the limited, cross-sectional, syndromal approach adopted in DSM-5, this case more importantly illustrates the prognostic and therapeutic significance of the longitudinal course of illness in differentiating cases of catatonia, which is better defined in the Wernicke-Kleist-Leonhard classification system. The importance of differentiating cases of catatonia is further supported by the efficacy of antipsychotics in treatment of this case, contrary to conventional guidelines.


Catatonia; Periodic catatonia; Schizophrenia; Cycloid psychosis; Antipsychotic agents; Neuroleptic malignant syndrome
Full Text Links
  • CPN
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Copyright © 2020 by Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors. All rights reserved.     E-mail: