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Catatonic schizophrenia is the rarest type of schizophrenia. The symptoms are especially unusual, involving significant psychomotor oddities and disturbances. Individuals with other types of schizophrenia may occasionally display catatonic symptoms as well, although they typically last for only a brief period of time.
In catatonic schizophrenia the individual must prominently display at least two of the following bizarre symptoms:
Although the primary symptoms of this rare type of schizophrenia are psychomotor in nature, individuals may display other typical schizophrenic symptoms as well. For example, their speech may be disorganized, they may avoid social interaction, and they may have a very limited range of emotional response. Hallucinations and delusions may also be present, but usually not to a significant degree. Poor hygiene and problems with work and school performance are also not uncommon.
As with other types of schizophrenia, treatment for catatonic schizophrenia primarily involves the use of antipsychotic medications. If the patient responds well to mediation, he/she may also benefit from individual, group, or family therapy, vocational skills training or vocational rehabilitation, and other types of psychosocial interventions.
Individuals with catatonic schizophrenia have significant risks due to the unusual nature of their symptoms. For example, if they engage in excessive movement due to excitement, they may end up accidentally injuring themselves or someone else. During a stupor or extended period of rigid posturing, they will stop eating and drinking. This can lead to severe dehydration and malnutrition.
Excessive movement and / or lack of sleep can also lead to exhaustion. It is not uncommon for them to require inpatient medical treatment (in addition to psychiatric treatment) to stabilize them physically.
Since this particular type of schizophrenia is so rare, it is always important that the patient is screened for substances or a medical condition that may be causing the catatonic-like symptoms.
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