Lethal Catatonia

Lethal catatonia or deadly catatonia is a neuropsychiatric syndrome initially characterized by anxiety and insomnia which progresses to agitation, hallucinations, and delusions. The most advanced stage of this rare syndrome is indicated by mutism or refusal to speak, stupor, and catatonic symptoms which include waxy flexibility, resistance, and rigidity.

This condition may become lethal as the patient also experiences autonomic disturbances such as increased heart rate, fever, unstable blood pressure, dehydration, incontinence (or urinary retention), constipation, and weight loss. However, some experts suggest that the term “lethal” is a misnomer since early detection and treatment can significantly prevent the condition’s worst outcome.

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