The essence of catatonia symptoms are: movement disorders, mutism, negativism, waxy flexibility, stereotypical movement, impulsive actions, duality, and paramimics. It is a psychosis that affects movement and speech. Lethal catatonia is a life-threatening psychiatric syndrome which is very difficult to differentiate because of prevailing somatic and neurological symptoms and still remains a very difficult question in psychiatry. The outcome depends on rapid detection and complete treatment.
Objective. The authors, reviewing the clinical data and the differential diagnosis and treatment, illustrate the effectiveness of ECT for the patient to whom malignant catatonia developed for the first time in her life.
Method: a case report.
Results. A 19-year-old student who was healthy until this episode of malignant catatonia. Until the malignant catatonia episode there was a half-year prodromal period which consisted of worsening depression with depersonalization and derealisation which later acquired a delusional nature. At syndrome culmination the patient was hospitalized in the neurologic department because of hyperthermia and chorea-like hyperkinesis and myoclonus which are often mistaken for seizures. At that point there were obvious catatonic symptoms. When neurological and somatic pathology was not found, the correct condition of malignant catatonia was diagnosed. The patient recovered under electroconvulsive therapy with benzodiazepines and olanzapine.
Conclusion. The use of pharmacoi therapy by itself, is not always efiective because the most important and effective treatment is ECT.