Copyright ©The Author(s) 2017. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Psychiatr. Sep 22, 2017; 7(3): 177-183
Published online Sep 22, 2017. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v7.i3.177
Catatonia as a putative nosological entity: A historical sketch
Gábor Gazdag, Rozalia Takács, Gabor S Ungvari
Gábor Gazdag, Szent István and Szent László Hospitals Budapest, 1097 Budapest, Hungary
Gábor Gazdag, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Semmelweis University Medical School, 1083 Budapest, Hungary
Rozalia Takács, School of Doctoral Studies, Semmelweis University, 1085 Budapest, Hungary
Rozalia Takács, Psychiatric Outpatient Clinic, Tóth Ilona Medical Service, 1213 Budapest, Hungary
Gabor S Ungvari, University of Notre Dame, Australia/Marian Centre, Fremantle, WA 6150, Australia
Author contributions: All authors contributed to the literature review and manuscript preparation.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding this manuscript.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Gábor Gazdag, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Consultation-Liaison Psychiatric Service, Szent István and Szent László Hospitals Budapest, Albert Flórián út 5-7, 1097 Budapest, Hungary.
Telephone: +36-1-4558125 Fax: +36-1-4558125
Received: February 13, 2017
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

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.