While much has been written about catatonia, there are only a few scholarly reviews focused on catatonia due to a general medical condition, also referred to as organic catatonia. There has been a long list of causative conditions that account for the development of organic catatonia which are informative but not clinically helpful. We performed a literature search using the term ‘catatonia’ covering the last ten years. We found 31 titles of catatonia due to drugs and 76 titles of catatonia due to a general medical condition. Of these, 9 were catatonia due to NMDA antibody associated encephalitis. In order to update this body of knowledge, we have revisited the differential diagnosis of catatonia and attempted to delineate catatonia due to a general medical condition from phenomenologically similar but etiologically disparate conditions.
We also focused on catatonia due to systemic lupus erythematosis. We also present a case of catatonia due to hydrocephalus to illustrate treatment issues. In spite of the pharmacologic treatment for catatonia, this patient has not improved.
We hope that this review and discussion will aid in the identification and treatment of catatonia due to a general medical condition. Medical causes must be addressed to ensure the best outcome.