Depression is being in a low mood or sadness that can interfere with your daily activities and prevent you from being happy. There are more severe forms of depression like catatonic depression where you are not speaking or in a daze for a long time. If you know someone with catatonic depression, you need to get that person help because they can’t help themselves.
What is Catatonic Depression?
People with catatonic depression experience a loss of motor skills and the ability to speak. Patients with catatonic depression often have a blank facial expression and may be unresponsive to external stimuli.
Catatonic depression symptoms include the following:
- Being in a trance-like state
- Being in the same posture for a long time
- Ritualistic movements
- Being unresponsive
- Feeling sad, low, and hopeless
No one knows what causes catatonic depression but it could be a dysregulation in glutamate, dopamine, or abnormalities of metabolism in the thalamus and frontal lobes. It can also be an exaggerated primal fear response where our ancestors would remain very still for a long period of time to avoid being detected by dangerous animals. In other words, catatonic depression can be a defense mechanism to keep from being hurt.
Because someone with catatonic depression would not be able to answer the questions a doctor asks, the doctor can ask that person’s loved ones of any symptoms they have and do an imaging study to see if they do not have a brain tumor. The doctor will observe that person’s posture, listen to how they communicate, and watch their movements. Then, he or she may prescribe benzodiazepines which have anxiety-relieving, muscle-relaxing qualities during the first stage of catatonic depression. If this medication cannot be taken orally, they can be taken through an IV.
Treating Catatonic Depression
One method of treating catatonic depression is electroconvulsive therapy. This methodology uses electrical currents to create a seizure to reset the brain’s chemistry and help respond better to treatment. According to the World Journal of Psychiatry, electroconvulsive therapy is 80–100% effective in all forms of catatonic depression. When symptoms improve, a doctor may prescribe antidepressants and psychotherapy. If catatonic depression is not treated, that person can be at risk for:
- Blood clots
- Shortening of muscles or tendons
- Decubitus ulcers
It is important to call an inpatient psychiatric center and to seek emergency medical attention for that person. Catatonic depression is a severe condition. However, it’s possible to treat it very successfully with the help of caring professionals.
Effective Treatment is the Answer
Located in Tacoma, Washington, Bayview Center’s mission is to offer clinically-driven programs and services to treat a number of substance abuse disorders. In addition, we also treat anxiety and depression using:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: CBT is a type of therapy that helps patients identify and change negative thinking patterns and behaviors.
- Dialectical behavioral therapy: DBT is a type of therapy that helps patients learn how to cope with stress and manage their emotions.
- Trauma therapy: As the name suggests, this type of therapy helps patients deal with and process the traumatic events in their lives.
- Yoga therapy: Uses poses and breathing exercises to improve mental and physical health.
Bayview Center’s expert staff has extensive experience treating patients with catatonic depression. We can help you or your loved one get on the road to recovery. If you or someone you know is struggling with catatonic depression, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help. We are here to support you every step of the way.
For more information, please call us anytime at 855.478.3650 as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.