Unintended Weight Gain after Treatment of Catatonia with ECT in Autism: Case Report and Literature Review

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Catatonia is a syndrome with psychomotor, cognitive, and affective symptoms that has been associated with multiple psychiatric and medical conditions, including autism spectrum disorder. Fluctuations in weight can occur within catatonia by means of poor oral intake, treatment with atypical antipsychotics, and often overlooked psychomotor phenomena. We present a case of a patient with autism spectrum disorder and excessive psychomotor activity due to catatonia who initially experienced weight loss despite maintenance of oral intake and required increased caloric intake to maintain her weight. She was treated with electroconvulsive therapy. After the psychomotor phenomena associated with catatonia reduced, she gained 10 lb (4.5 kg) despite no further alterations to medications or diet. This case demonstrates that excessive psychomotor activity seen in catatonia may increase energy expenditure to the severity of altering caloric requirements and that weight is a salient biomarker to be monitored in catatonia, especially with those who have limited communication abilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-270
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of ECT
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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