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[Catatonia in clinical reality: underdiagnosed and forgotten].

BACKGROUND: Catatonia is still a poorly understood, quite common, but often overlooked clinical picture. Consequences for patients are inadequate treatment, prolonged hospital stays and more serious complications.

METHOD: In this overview, the causes for an underdiagnosis are presented and measures for their prevention named, help for the differential diagnostic classification of catatonia is offered and the treatment is briefly explained.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Catatonia is primarily associated with schizophrenia, but is also observed in other diseases such as neuroleptic malignant syndrome (MNS), in encephalitis and also in systemic diseases. Underdiagnosis can be avoided by simple measures such as a thorough physical examination, observance of verbal and non-verbal signs of catatonia, and psychiatric consultations in general hospitals. For the treatment of acute catatonia, the high-dose administration of benzodiazepines and electroconvulsive therapy are recommended.

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