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Edward Shorter

and Max Fink

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date: 25 February 2021

Catatonia remained a subtype of schizophrenia for the next hundred years because a “Praetorian guard” around Kraepelin relentlessly flacked their teacher’s diagnoses. There was, to be sure, some initial support for Kahlbaum’s diagnosis as a separate entity, yet Kraepelin’s “textbook,” in its various editions, carried the day. Psychosis became the hallmark of schizophrenia, and catatonic patients who became psychotic simply had their diagnoses changed. In a world dominated by “schizophrenia,” catatonia was only of nodding interest. By the end of the Second World War, the term “schizophrenia” had lost whatever specificity it might once have possessed, and catatonia in schizophrenia had shed its distinctiveness as a treatable motor syndrome.

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