Catalepsy is a rare neurological disorder that produces rigidity, immobility, and other catatonic-like symptoms. It differs considerably from person to person in terms of severity and its possible causes.
Catalepsy occurs most commonly after periods of extreme emotional trauma, both positive and negative. Many with this disorder can have episodes lasting up to a few hours or even days.
It typically features muscular rigidity, a decreased responsiveness to the environment, and often changes in consciousness.
Sufferers are often unresponsive, take long pauses in speech, remain motionless for periods, and can become fixated on particular objects for minutes or hours.
The disorder can range from a calm state in which a person has a surge in muscle tone to severe catatonia in which the individual appears completely motionless and unresponsive.
Gestures may repeat mechanically in a rigid, unvarying pattern, like saluting, bowing, etc. There may also be rigid posture and marked resistance to attempts to move or touch the person.
It's believed to be related to schizophrenia, although it can be a response to stress or various neurological diseases.
It is also associated with some cases of autism and can be triggered by those with epilepsy.
It is usually treated with antipsychotic drugs and other psychosocial treatments such as psychotherapy and behavioral therapy.
It's rare and can be quite responsive to treatment.
Some cases of catalepsy can be reversed completely, while others are more resistant and may require a longer course of treatment.