An Outline of the Historical and Clinical Aspects of Catatonic Schizophrenia

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Catatonic schizophrenia has been an integral part of all psychiatric classifications for over a century. However, based on the recommendation of a panel of experts, catatonic schizophrenia as an independent diagnostic entity will probably be removed form DSM-V. This review paper summarizes the history, psychopathology and clinical features of catatonic schizophrenia and argues that a cluster of loosely defined, simple and complex motor phenomena is an inherent aspect of the symptomatology of schizophrenia. In the authors’ opinion, the motor aspects of descriptive psychopathology in general, and in schizophrenia in particular have not received ample attention in modern research and clinical practice. As a consequence, there is a dearth of scientific data on the epidemiology, psychopathology, genetics, treatment response and biological markers that would have justified and cemented its place in modern classifications.

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