Schizophrenia is a type of mental disorder that leads to the inability of a person to behave and function normally. This is because the brain's power, mental ability and reasoning power gets affected. It is due to this that he/she cannot distinguish between reality and thoughts, cannot manage emotions effectively and cannot think clearly. Schizophrenia is of different types, but in the following article we will be focusing on the catatonic schizophrenia causes, symptoms and treatment methods.
This is a type of mental illness that is characterized by extreme forms of behavior. Patients may exhibit behavior - like becoming extremely quiet, not speaking or responding, and at other times getting agitated, hyperactive, animated and even prone to violent outbursts without the presence of a stimuli. There is a striking change in their moods wherein they keep shifting from a state of catatonic stupor to a highly excited state of mimicking sounds, actions and the like, which is referred to as catatonic excitement.
Psychology has yet to find the exact causes that lead to this sub type of schizophrenia, but there is enough evidence to suggest that all the forms and sub types of schizophrenia are brought about due to a dysfunction in the brain. Why this dysfunction occurs is another matter all together. It is however believed that brain dysfunction can be caused due to certain problems in brain development at the early stages. The reasons that affect the proper development of the brain and thereby the functioning are said to come about as a combination of both―the environment and genetics, which then leads to the development of catatonic schizophrenia. Here is a brief look at these factors.
Certain viruses that the fetus is exposed to in the womb that affect the proper growth and development of the same can lead to the development of this condition. Along with that, if there is malnutrition or certain abnormal genes are passed on, there are low oxygen levels during delivery, or there is a history of schizophrenia in the family―all these reasons could lead to the development of the condition.
Environmental factors include―if there is stress experienced during early childhood, sexual abuse, mental trauma caused by death or separation of parents.
These are some symptoms that you should be looking into to find out whether a person is suffering from catatonic schizophrenia:
The patient is mobile at all times and has an uncanny urge to be doing something that requires him/her to be mobile at all times. This could include actions like pacing up and down, moving in circles and making incoherent, loud sounds.
They will get into a catatonic stupor mode that has them assuming the position of a rock. They sit completely still and immobile, staring into a distance without any focus and seem to be unaware of their surroundings.
Patients become extremely stubborn and resist any attempts at moving them. If this is tried they resist all attempts to move them and remain absolutely still and mute.
The patient will assume weird postures and styles, like twisting and turning their arms or legs into seemingly impossible positions. They'll stay put for several hours as well.
The patient may mimic sounds (Echolalia) and movements (Echopraxia) of another person. They might also give in to strange movements that are accompanied by unusual behavior styles like repeating words or fidgeting with things, stacking them up, etc.
Catatonic schizophrenia is a chronic disorder that cannot be treated and the person continues to suffer from it for his entire life. The treatment options include different types of medication like antidepressants and antipsychotic medicines, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), hospitalization, psychotherapy, and social and vocational skills training.
This article dealt with a complete, albeit brief explanation of catatonic schizophrenia with a special reference to the causes. If you happen to know someone who might be a possible patient, make sure that you get them checked as soon as possible and start a treatment course.