Catatonia in patients with autism: Prevalence and management

Luigi Mazzone, Valentina Postorino, Giovanni Valeri, Stefano Vicari

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

31 Citazioni (Scopus)


Although recent studies have shown that catatonia can occur in patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), the overlap of the behavioral features between these disorders raises many diagnostic challenges. In fact, in clinical practice it is common to misinterpret catatonic symptoms, including mutism, stereotypic speech, repetitive behaviors, echolalia, posturing, mannerisms, purposeless agitation and rigidity, as features of ASDs. The current medical treatment algorithm for catatonia in ASDs recommends the use of benzodiazepines. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is indicated when patients are unresponsive, or insufficiently responsive, to benzodiazepines. Other pharmacological options are also described for the treatment of catatonic patients resistant to benzodiazepines and ECT, and there is evidence for the effectiveness of a psychological treatment, co-occurring with medical treatments, in order to support the management of these patients. In this article we provide a summary of studies exploring catatonia in ASDs and our clinical experience in the management and treatment of this syndrome through the presentation of three brief case studies. Moreover, we review the mechanisms underlying symptoms of catatonia in ASDs, as well as the diagnostic challenges, providing an outline for the management and treatment of this syndrome in this clinical population. © 2014 Springer International Publishing Switzerland.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)205-215
Numero di pagine11
RivistaCNS Drugs
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2014


  • Catatonic symptoms and autism


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