Onset of catatonia at puberty: electroconvulsive therapy response in two autistic adolescents.

Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5734, USA.
The journal of ECT (Impact Factor: 1.19). 12/2010; 26(4):274-7. DOI: 10.1097/YCT.0b013e3181de332e
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Catatonia is a syndrome of motor and behavioral disturbance. It is a poorly understood condition, which is underrecognized and may go untreated despite intensive medical workup and numerous unsuccessful medication trials. However, with treatments known to be effective, such as benzodiazepines and/or electroconvulsive therapy, patients may return to their baseline functioning. Autism and catatonia have been previously reported together. We report 2 patients with autism and mental retardation who developed catatonic symptoms at the onset of puberty. Both patients experienced persistent symptoms over several years and presented with a history of motor disturbance, functional decline, and episodic aggression. Both patients were treated with electroconvulsive therapy resulting in a positive response and functional improvement. Catatonia may persist as a chronic condition, lasting over several months or years, if not recognized and treated.

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    ABSTRACT: 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.
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    ABSTRACT: There is lot of skepticism about the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in children and adolescents. However, available literature suggests that use of ECT can be at times life-saving in adolescents, especially those presenting with severe catatonia. We treated a 16-year-old female who presented to us with catatonia with a course of nine ECTs, with which she showed marked improvement. Review of the literature suggests that ECT should be considered as the second line treatment in the management of catatonia in adolescents.
    Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine 04/2014; 36(2):195-7.
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    ABSTRACT: A systematic review was conducted to examine the efficacy of a range of treatments for autistic catatonia. The review identified 22 relevant papers, reporting a total of 28 cases including both adult and paediatric patients. Treatment methods included electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), medication, behavioural and sensory interventions. Quality assessment found the standard of the existing literature to be generally poor, with particular limitations in treatment description and outcome measurement. There is some limited evidence to support the use of ECT, high dose lorazepam and behavioural interventions for people with autistic catatonia. However, there is a need for controlled, high-quality trials. Reporting of side effects and adverse events should also be improved, in order to better evaluate the safety of these treatments.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 03/2014; · 3.06 Impact Factor


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May 16, 2014