Demo Chapter – Pharmacological Treatments

Pharmacological treatments (4, 5, 6)


  • Act on GABA neurotransmission in the brain.
  • Appear to correct GABA neurotransmission deficiencies in catatonic patients.
  • Lorazepam is the most commonly used benzodiazepine in the treatment of catatonia.


  • Dose, route, and frequency.
    • 1-2mg parenteral lorazepam (given Intravenously) every 4-10 hours.
    • Max dose is 24mg/day.
    • Hold for excessive sedation.
  • Length of therapy.
    • The dosage can be gradually increased over a few days until symptoms remit.
  • Response Rate.
    • Benzodiazepines like lorazepam are successful in treating catatonia 70% of the time, irrespective of the cause of the catatonia.
(4) Bartolommei, N., Lattanzi, L., Callari, A., Cosentino, L., Luchini, F., & Mauri, M. (2012). Catatonia: a critical review and therapeutic recommendations. Journal of psychopathology, 18, p. 235.
(5) Moore, D. P. & Jefferson, J. W. (2004). Catatonia. In handbook of medical psychiatry, 2nd ed. St. Louis, mo: mosby, pp. 292-293.
(6) American psychiatric association practice guideline for the treatment of patients with schizophrenia, second edition, 2004 http://www.Psych.Org/mainmenu/psychiatricpractice/Practiceguidelines_1.Aspx