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. It is important that if you know someone with catatonic depression that you get that person help as they are not able to do it themselves.
Catatonic depression is when you are not responding to what is going on and remain silent and motionless. It can be symptoms like mutism, being in a trance-like state, grimacing, being in the same posture for a long time, ritualistic movements, being unresponsive, and feeling sad, low, and hopeless. It is unknown 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. 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. The doctor 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.
One method of treating catatonic depression is Electroconvulsive Therapy which 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, dehydration, malnutrition, and pneumonia. It is important to call an inpatient psychiatric center and to seek emergency medical attention for that person. While catatonic depression is a severe condition, it is also very treatable and can be helped with the help of other people.
Located in Tacoma, Washington, Bayview Center’s mission is to offer clinically-driven programs and services to treat a number of substance abuse disorders along with anxiety and depression using cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, trauma therapy, yoga therapy, and more for a successful recovery. For more information, please call us at 888 570 7154 as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.