Published online Sep 22, 2017. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v7.i3.177
Peer-review started: February 14, 2017
First decision: June 16, 2017
Revised: July 5, 2017
Accepted: July 21, 2017
Article in press: July 23, 2017
Published online: September 22, 2017
Core tip: Kahlbaum was the first to propose catatonia as a separate disease, whereas Kraepelin concluded that persistent catatonic symptoms (particularly negativism, bizarre mannerisms, and stereotypes) were hallmarks of the catatonic subtype of dementia praecox/schizophrenia. Although the Wernicke-Kleist-Leonhard school attempted to comprehensively elucidate the phenomenology and genetics of psychomotor disturbances associated with major psychoses, the complexity of the Leonhardian catatonia concept has hindered its acceptance in mainstream psychiatry. Kraepelin’s influence on psychiatric classifications led to the appearance of catatonia only as a subtype of schizophrenia in the first three editions of the DSM. Progress in this field is illustrated by the inclusion of three forms of catatonia in DSM-5, thus paving the way toward an exploration of Kahlbaum’s original concept of catatonia as a distinct disease entity.