ZocdocAnswersHow do catatonic patients eat during a catatonic state?

Question

How do catatonic patients eat during a catatonic state?

how do catatonic patients eat during a catatonic state? and how long do the episodes last, and if it's more then days do they go to the bathroom?

Answer

Thank you for your question regarding catatonia, and I recommend discussing this question further with your physician. Catatonia is a syndrome where the affected person is unable to move despite having the physical ability to do so. Catatonia is usually seen in patients who have a psychiatric disorder such as bipolar disease, major depression, autism spectrum disorders, and psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. A patient with catatonia would be hospitalized in order to treat the catatonic state and manage other complications such as those that were brought up in your question. Those patients who are unable to eat or drink may initially receive fluids through an IV which contain important electrolytes. Patients whose catatonic states last several weeks or more may require more rigorous nutritional supplementation. This can be given to patients through feeding tubes, of which there are several types, but nasogastric tubes are common. This is a small tube which is passed through the nose and ends in the stomach through which liquid nutrition flows. Doctors would also place a catheter into a catatonic patient's bladder. This is a small tube which would go through the patient's urethra (opening in the genitalia where urine is released) and up into the bladder. A catheter also allows doctors to measure the amount of urine patients produce to assure that they are properly hydrated. Catatonic episodes can last anywhere from one day to more than a month. However, there does seem to be generally favorable outcomes and prognosis for patients who have had catatonic episodes. You should discuss any further questions you have about catatonia with your physician.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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