Objectives: To review the literature on diagnosis, treatment, and risk factors of catatonia in autism spectrum disorders.
Methods: Literature review and review of case-reports
Results: Recent studies document catatonia as a comorbid syndrome at a rate of 12-17% in adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorders. Lacking controlled trials, benzodiazepines and ECT have been administered safely in case-reports and case-series, sometimes with remarkable and lasting improvements. Barriers to increase this topic’s visibility are its novelty in the field of autism spectrum disorders, the lack of independence of catatonia as a separate syndrome in psychiatric classification, and the stigma surrounding the use of benzodiazepines and electroconvulsive therapy, the medical treatments that seem most effective in catatonia
Conclusions: There have been advances during the last ten years in demarcating catatonia as a treatable condition in autism spectrum disorders and as a distinct scientific field of inquiry, yet the condition remains poorly recognized and studied. Further study of catatonia in autism spectrum disorders may provide new diagnostic, therapeutic, and scientific opportunities.
See more of: Psychiatric/Behavioral Comorbidities
See more of: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Phenotype