[Skip to Navigation]
September 1937


Author Affiliations

North Grafton, Mass.

From the Grafton State Hospital.

Arch NeurPsych. 1937;38(3):572-579. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1937.02260210138010

The first description of catatonia is credited to Kahlbaum, who in 1874 described a disease picture1 "in which the patient sits quietly or completely mute and motionless, immovable, with a staring countenance, the eyes fixed on a distant point and apparently completely without volition, without any reaction to sensory impressions, sometimes with a full fledged cerea flexibilitas, as in catalepsy, sometimes with only a slight but definitely appreciable degree of this striking manifestation. The general condition of such a patient gives the impression of a deep mental distress or a fixedness resulting from a severe fright."

The clinical aspects of catatonia have been described in detail by Bleuler2 and; in recent years, by Hinsie.3

In brief, the catatonic patient in stupor is likely to assume peculiar rigid postures, muteness and immobility for periods ranging from months to years. Some repeat the same senseless motions over and over

Add or change institution