Schizophrenia refers to a collection of mental illnesses and
catatonic schizophrenia is one type of illness under its name.
People with catatonic schizophrenia can act unusual in many ways, for example they may be very chatty and hyper or they may extraordinarily quiet. This type of behavior may go on for months, if left untreated.
Catatonic Schizophrenia Symptoms
Since this is a type of schizophrenia, most of the common symptoms of this disorder include:
- Being delusional.
- Having hallucinations.
- Not being able to think properly.
- Not being able to take care of themselves.
- Not being able to show their emotions.
- Preferring to stay out of social situations.
- Lack of motivation.
Then there are symptoms of catatonic schizophrenia that are slightly different, such as:
- Not moving for unnaturally long periods of time, for example staring outside a window without any motivation to move from the place.
- Then there may be too much movement, for example jumping around or constantly walking from one place to another without any explanation or cause.
- There may be times when they do not listen to or appear to want to change their habits (if forced to) for example if they stay in one place for an unusual amount of time and if someone tries to change their position, the person trying to do this would be met with a lot of resistance.
- There may be times when the patients constantly repeat themselves or constantly repeat something someone has said.
Catatonic Schizophrenia Medical assistance
People who have catatonic schizophrenia are unable to find help themselves, they are in another state of mind and do not realize how strange they are acting. So, this is where the person’s friends, family and loved ones step in. If they have noticed such strange behavior, they either have to convince the person suffering from the illness to go get help or to take them there to give support. Sometimes people are kept in psychiatric wards to be observed so that they can know for sure what the patient is going through and how his/her behavior is changing.
Catatonic Schizophrenia Treatment
Treatment for catatonic schizophrenia requires a lot of motivation, because only people who stick to their treatment are able to live a proper life. The key to getting better is to keep on using the method that helps a person the most, even if it may feel like they no longer need it.
Benzodiazepines are able to quickly reduce the symptoms of catatonic schizophrenia, they are drugs used for relieving anxiety. However, the use of these should be kept to only a specified level and should not exceed the amount prescribed by the doctor, because people can easily become too dependent on it.
Other medication include antipsychotics, atypical antipsychotics and antidepressants.
Catatonic Schizophrenia Therapy
This could be for the individual or for the whole family. Individual therapy will focus on helping the person to deal with day-to-day events and help them understand other people better. It will focus on giving them a positive view on life and help them exercise methods of reducing anxiety or depression through natural methods. It may also help them to focus on taking care of themselves and their hygiene or helping them to get motivated to do tasks. Often, a reward system could help, where they are asked to meet a certain criteria and when they do this, they are rewarded with privileges.
Therapy for the whole family focuses on not only helping the patient cope with their problems but also helps the whole family understand what exactly is going on with their loved one with catatonic schizophrenia . It will teach the family members how to deal with and help the patient, it is also useful because the family’s support will help in making sure the patient does not relapse once in the process of treatment.
When people who have catatonic schizophrenia do not respond well to medication or to therapy the next step used is electroconvulsive therapy, this is used as a last resort. In this, electric currents (that are not fatal) are passed through a person’s brain, it simulates a seizure and usually the patient does not remember the experience; it has shown to give fast improvement for people with catatonic schizophrenia.