|Classification and external resources|
Catalepsy (from Greek κατάληψις "seizing/grasping") is a nervous condition characterized by muscular rigidity and fixity of posture regardless of external stimuli, as well as decreased sensitivity to pain.
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms include: rigid body, rigid limbs, limbs staying in same position when moved (waxy flexibility), no response, loss of muscle control, and slowing down of bodily functions, such as breathing.
Catalepsy is a symptom of certain nervous disorders or conditions such as Parkinson's disease and epilepsy. It is also a characteristic symptom of cocaine withdrawal, as well as one of the features of catatonia. It can be caused by schizophrenia treatment with anti-psychotics, such as haloperidol, and by the anesthetic ketamine. Protein kinase A has been suggested as a mediator of cataleptic behavior.
St. Teresa of Avila experienced a prolonged bout of catalepsy that began in 1539. This episode was precipitated by the stress she was suffering at the Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation. Her legs became rigid, leaving her an invalid for three years. Teresa endured intermittent attacks of catalepsy from then on.
In Eugène Sue's The Mysteries of Paris, the villain Jacques Ferrand experiences a fit described as cataleptic in his final confrontation with Rodolphe, blinded by lamplight and hallucinating with visions of his fantasized Cecily.
In Edgar Allan Poe's "The Premature Burial", the narrator develops catalepsy. He fears being mistakenly declared dead and buried alive, and goes to great lengths to prevent this. In another of Poe's short stories, "The Fall of the House of Usher", Madeline Usher has catalepsy, and is buried alive by her unstable brother Roderick. Catalepsy is also depicted in "Berenice", thus becoming one of the recurrent themes in Poe's fiction.
In Poppy Z. Brite's Exquisite Corpse, the main character—Comptom, a serial killer (recreation of Jeffery Dahmer's life story) facing a lifetime sentence—uses shamanistic techniques to induce catalepsy, and, convincingly appearing deceased, is able to escape prison.
In Émile Zola's short story "La Mort d'Olivier Becaille" ("The Death of Olivier Becaille"), the title character is buried alive and notes that "I must have fallen into one of those cataleptic states that I had read of".
In Philip K. Dick's novel Now Wait for Last Year, Kathy Sweetscent becomes immobilized by withdrawal from JJ-180, an alien (and highly addictive) drug. "My God, Kathy thought as she stood gazing down at the record by her feet. I can't free myself; I'm going to remain here, and they'll find me like this and know something's terribly wrong. This is catalepsy!"
In film and television
In the soap opera La Traición, the main character, Hugo De Medina, has catalepsy. Later in the telenovela, it is revealed that his daughter, Aurora, has the same illness.
In Chavo del Ocho, the main character, El Chavo, would have cataleptic-like fits if frightened, where he would curl as if sitting down in a chair and become stiff. However, he could be healed by being splashed with water.
In two Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes, "Statistical Probabilities" and "Chrysalis", the character Sarina Douglas, a genetically-enhanced human woman, exhibits cataleptic symptoms. In "Chrysalis", Dr. Bashir promises to do everything he can to cure her of the disorder, and is ultimately successful.
In The Premature Burial (film) based on the short story by Edgar Allan Poe, the protagonist is buried alive during a cataleptic episode, as his lack of response to external stimuli causes his family and doctors to believe him to be dead.
In Isle of the Dead (1945), Katherine Emery's character suffers from a multitude of illness' that render her almost incapable of caring for herself. Of these many illness' she is subject to catatonic trances which inevitably lead to her demise.
In a second season episode ("Halloween" - 1993) of Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman, several residents of the town believe they have seen a dead man, only to have him disappear before they return with Dr. Quinn, who thinks they are playing Halloween pranks on her. Dr Quinn eventually sees the man have a seizure and diagnoses him with catalepsy.
- Sanberg PR, Bunsey MD, Giordano M, Norman AB (October 1988). "The catalepsy test: its ups and downs". Behav. Neurosci. 102 (5): 748–59. PMID 2904271. doi:10.1037/0735-7044.102.5.748.
- Rasmussen K, Hsu MA, Noone S, Johnson BG, Thompson LK, Hemrick-Luecke SK (November 2007). "The orexin-1 antagonist SB-334867 blocks antipsychotic treatment emergent catalepsy: implications for the treatment of extrapyramidal symptoms". Schizophr Bull. 33 (6): 1291–7. PMC . PMID 17660489. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbm087.
- Hattori K, Uchino S, Isosaka T, et al. (March 2006). "Fyn is required for haloperidol-induced catalepsy in mice". J. Biol. Chem. 281 (11): 7129–35. PMID 16407246. doi:10.1074/jbc.M511608200.
- Miller, Ronald (2005). Miller's Anesthesia. New York: Elsevier/Churchill Livingstone. ISBN 0-443-06656-6.
- Adams MR, Brandon EP, Chartoff EH, Idzerda RL, Dorsa DM, McKnight GS (October 1997). "Loss of haloperidol induced gene expression and catalepsy in protein kinase A-deficient mice". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 94 (22): 12157–61. PMC . PMID 9342379. doi:10.1073/pnas.94.22.12157.
- St. Teresa of Avila, The Life of St. Teresa de Avila, 1565, chapters V, VI, and VII.