Catatonia in childhood and adolescence: Implications for the DSM-5

Dirk M. Dhossche, Charmaine Wilson, Lee Elizabeth Wachtel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The study of catatonia in children and adolescents shows that its presentation is similar as in adults and, as such, is readily diagnosable. Catatonia occurs in children and adolescents with affective, psychotic, autistic, developmental, drug-induced, and medical disorders. Benzodiazepines and electroconvulsive therapy, the treatments that have historically proven to be effective in adults with catatonia, also improve catatonia in children and adolescents. These findings shed new light on the importance of catatonia in psychiatric impairments across the lifespan by loosening the purported link between catatonia and schizophrenia, and thereby supporting an independent category of catatonia in psychiatric classification. Catatonia, a treatable syndrome, occurs in children and adolescents, and warrants prompt identification and treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-39
Number of pages5
JournalPrimary Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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