Prevalence of catatonic signs in acute psychiatric patients in Scotland

  • Al Sayegh A
  • Reid D
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Aims and method: Concerns have been raised that catatonia is underdiagnosed. Prevalence varies (1.3-32%) depending on diagnostic criteria.We used the Modified Rogers Scale to rate catatonic signs in patients consecutively admitted to three psychiatric wards over a 10-month period. Results: The prevalence of patients demonstrating any catatonic signs was at least 7.9-19.1%. The most common catatonic signs were marked underactivity (not sedated), echolalia/palilalia, marked overactivity (not restlessness) and gegenhalten. In those with catatonic signs, the most common diagnoses were schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and dementia. Clinical implications: Most of the most common catatonic signs in our sample were motor signs. Antipsychotic-induced motor signs reflect interaction between drug and disease. Catatonic signs are not anchored in any one diagnosis and are on a spectrum of severity and quantity. Prevalence of these signs is higher than often presumed. Declaration of interest: None.




Al Sayegh, A., & Reid, D. (2010). Prevalence of catatonic signs in acute psychiatric patients in Scotland. The Psychiatrist, 34(11), 479–484.

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