Tics as signs of catatonia: Electroconvulsive therapy response in 2 men

Dirk M. Dhossche, Irving M. Reti, Shashidhar M. Shettar, Lee E. Wachtel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Objectives: Tics have rarely been described in catatonia although tics are sudden and nonrhythmic variants of stereotypic or repetitive movement abnormalities that are considered cardinal symptoms of catatonia. We describe 2 men with tics and self-injurious behavior, who met criteria for catatonia. One patient met criteria for autism. Case Reports: We reported 2 new cases and performed a literature review using PubMed to identify other cases of tics that were treated with electroconvulsive therapy. Tics along with other catatonic symptoms and self-injurious behavior responded to electroconvulsive therapy in 2 men. Eight other patients with tics that were treated with electroconvulsive therapy were found in the literature. Catatonia was recognized in 4 of the 8 patients. Two patients met criteria for autism. Conclusions: Tics, with or without self-injurious behavior, may be signs of catatonia. Patients with tics or Tourette syndrome warrant assessment for catatonia. If catatonia is present, electroconvulsive therapy provides a safe but rarely used alternative to pharmacotherapy, psychosurgery, or invasive brain stimulation in the treatment of tics and Tourette syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-269
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of ECT
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Tourette syndrome
  • autism
  • catatonia
  • self-injurious behavior
  • tics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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