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Catatonia:  Retarded and Excited Types

James R. Morrison, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;28(1):39-41. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.01750310023005.
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Of 250 patients carrying a chart diagnosis of catatonia, 110 were predominantly retarded and 67 predominantly excited. A comparison of these two groups showed that whereas no symptom was limited to one type, retarded patients were significantly more often negativistic, mute, rigid, cataleptic, and staring, whereas excited patients were more frequently impulsive, combative, and denudative. Excited patients were also characterized by an abrupt, rapid onset, were more likely to be greatly improved at discharge, and at follow-up were more often recovered.

These differences suggest two separate prognostic entities, supported by the fact that excited patients were more often diagnosable as having affective disorder. Retarded and excited subtypes of catatonia should be reported separately in treatment and follow-up studies, and cannot be assumed to represent a single illness.

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