Catatonia Misdiagnosed as Dementia

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To the Editor:
Catatonia is an abnormality of movement with that medical diagnosis clinically determined by examination of an affected individual.1 Three of 12 criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, define the diagnosis.2 Recognition of catatonia and differentiation from dementia are important because although there usually are effective treatments for catatonia,3 there is no cure for most people with dementias. Perseverations of speech, rigidity, mannerism, behavioral stereotypy, and abnormal posture are features suggestive of a catatonic diagnosis. Dementia is characterized by a wide range of signs and symptoms associated with a decline in cognitive and executive functions, language, and complex motor skills.4 Many different neuropathologies can cause a person to become demented. Cognitive deterioration eventually can affect a person's ability to perform daily activities, simulating catatonia.

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