Show Summary Details
Page of

Treatments of Catatonia 

Treatments of Catatonia
Treatments of Catatonia

Edward Shorter

and Max Fink

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 25 February 2021

For the many varieties of catatonia, all medical ministrations were applied with little success until sodium Amytal (amobarbital) was shown to be specifically successful beginning in the 1930s. Induced seizures as treatments for psychoses in 1930s were also found to effectively relieve catatonia. These treatments were so successful, and the incidence of catatonia so reduced, that questions were raised whether and why catatonia had disappeared. By 1980s, the benzodiazepines were offered as replacements for barbiturates. The specificity of benzodiazepines in relieving up to 80 percent of catatonia cases, with ECT successful in the remainder, encouraged belief that catatonia was best seen as a unique systemic medical illness. Solving the puzzle of catatonia is one of medicine’s unheralded treatment triumphs.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.