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Schizophr Res. 2005 Jul 15;76(2-3):301-8.

Clinical relevance of chronic catatonic schizophrenia in children and adolescents: evidence from a prospective naturalistic study.

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  • 1Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpétrière, AP-HP, 47-83 Blvd de l'Hôpital, 75013 Paris, France. david.cohen@psl.ap-hop-paris.fr

Abstract

The paper examines the phenomenology, diagnosis, and course of catatonia in children and adolescents. From 1993 to 2003, 21 boys and 9 girls, aged 12 to 18 years, were admitted for a catatonic syndrome (0.6% of the total inpatient population). Phenomenology and associated diagnoses were similar to those reported in the adult literature but relative frequency differed, with schizophrenia being the most frequent diagnosis. Comparison of patients with schizophrenia (n=17) to those with other diagnoses (n=13) showed that the two groups differed in terms of sex ratio, type of onset and phenomenology of catatonic symptoms, duration of hospitalization, and severity at discharge. Using discriminant function analysis, the combination of three clinical variables--male gender, duration of catatonic episode, and severity at discharge--correctly classified 100% of cases in the schizophrenia group. Catatonia is an infrequent but severe condition in young people, and is usually associated with schizophrenia. There is a need for research in the field of catatonic schizophrenia in adolescents as it appears to be a clinically relevant but understudied subgroup.

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