Onset of catatonia at puberty: Electroconvulsive therapy response in two autistic adolescents

Neera Ghaziuddin, Daniel Gih, Virginia Barbosa, Daniel F. Maixner, Mohammad Ghaziuddin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Catatonia is a syndrome of motor and behavioral disturbance. It is a poorly understood condition, which is underrecognized and may go untreated despite intensive medical workup and numerous unsuccessful medication trials. However, with treatments known to be effective, such as benzodiazepines and/or electroconvulsive therapy, patients may return to their baseline functioning. Autism and catatonia have been previously reported together. We report 2 patients with autism and mental retardation who developed catatonic symptoms at the onset of puberty. Both patients experienced persistent symptoms over several years and presented with a history of motor disturbance, functional decline, and episodic aggression. Both patients were treated with electroconvulsive therapy resulting in a positive response and functional improvement. Catatonia may persist as a chronic condition, lasting over several months or years, if not recognized and treated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-277
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of ECT
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • ECT
  • autism
  • catatonia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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