Abstract and Keywords
The psychopathological concept of catatonia argues that with the exception of drug-induced extrapyramidal syndromes, modern descriptive psychopathology has neglected the motor aspect of psychiatric disorders. While there has been an upsurge of interest in catatonia, the psychopathological principles underlying its definition remain obscure. The last and only serious attempt to elucidate the psychopathological foundations of the catatonic phenomenon was made by Karl Jaspers more than a hundred years ago. Yet, Jaspers’s views are hardly mentioned in the contemporary literature. The lack of psychopathological foundations has resulted in uncertainties and simplifications regarding the definitions of the individual signs and symptoms and the composition and boundaries of catatonic syndrome. The current literature pays little heed to fundamental aspects of the classical descriptions of catatonia, such as its time-frame, persistence, and consistency, and their relations to other symptoms evaluated in the context of the personality and the situation in which catatonia emerges.
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