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Brief episodes of non-specific psychosis later diagnosed as periodic catatonia
  1. Victor Mark Tang1,
  2. Helen Park2
  1. 1University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Victor Mark Tang, vtang{at}


A 73-year-old woman was known to have discrete episodes of psychosis not otherwise specified that would require a brief admission to hospital and total remission following a short course of benzodiazepine or antipsychotic treatment. She had no underlying schizophrenic or affective disorder and was completely unimpaired in between episodes, which could last several years. She presented to us with psychotic symptoms but also noted to have many catatonic features, which were also present on previous presentations. Following failure with antipsychotic trials on this index presentation, she completely remitted with a short course of electroconvulsive therapy. We discuss the importance of identifying and treating catatonia and the lesser-known variant of periodic catatonia. Current presentations should always take into account the lifetime context of psychiatric illness. Rarely do patients with primary psychotic disorders not have any impairment or treatment in between episodes.

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  • Twitter Follow Victor Tang at @victormarktang

  • Contributors VMT and HP were involved in the clinical care of the patient, writing and editing of the manuscript and obtaining informed consent.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.