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Is this catatonia?



New member
Feb 7, 2018
This question is actually about my father, who is in the hospital right now. I know it's probably useless to ask when he could be treated/diagnosed at any time, but I hope you'll forgive me my impatience.

As you can see from the cocktail of medications he's been prescribed, he hasn't been receiving proper mental health care. He has a history of self-medicating and "clouding" himself instead of getting proper treatment for his bipolar and anxiety issues. This reached a point over the holidays where he didn't seem clear-headed and his medications were found to have dangerous interactions with each other, so his family doctor (not a psychiatrist) had him immediately cease taking all of those types of medications. I don't know the exact dosage of each, but I do know that the pharmacist considered the dosage of Xanax he was on "high."

After he went off those medications earlier in January, he seemed to get more clear-headed than he was over the holidays, but over the last couple weeks he's fallen into a pretty severe depression. This all came to a head on Friday when he decided to see a psychiatrist at the hospital, in hopes that he would again be prescribed Valium. They psychiatrist merely checked his heart rate, prescribed him Remeron to alleviate the depressive symptoms, and sent him home. This seemed to depress him, because he was expecting something else, and he felt the doctors there had "written him off" (previously he had been able to stay in the hospital mental health crisis centre and was given more attention).

He seemed very depressed after this, but still lucid, and took his Remeron before he went to bed. Early Saturday afternoon he heated up some leftovers, but didn't finish eating them. For months he's been anxious and depressed due to the diet he's had to go on since having his stent put in, and while my mom was trying to show him a list of things he could eat (fish, chicken, etc.) he seemed to get increasingly upset about the financial burden of his diet, and expressed anxiety that those types of foods would not "sustain him."

As far as I can tell, this is what "triggered" his current state. Over the next couple days he became increasingly more distant, expressing a "lack of appetite" caused by his withdrawal symptoms. We tried to make him a salmon fillet on Monday, but he seemed almost paranoid, saying that he wanted to see me or my brother eat it frst (we did, but he still refused to eat it). It came to a head yesterday afternoon when his brother came over with breakfast for him, but he pretty much refused to get out of bed and come see him. My dad seemed very anxious about my mom talking to my uncle about his health, and kept propping himself up in bed and straining to hear what they were saying. He eventually did come out and was convinced to go to the hospital.

Since the weekend, his refusal to eat or drink has changed from him citing his "lack of appetite" to saying "I can't." He speaks only short, clipped sentences. We tell him it's important for his health, and he also says "It can't be helped," or "We don't have the means." When we were trying him to eat or drink, he would act almost like it was torturous or cruel to try to convince him, saying things like "Have mercy," and acting as if he's about to cry.

His situation hasn't changed at all since arriving at the hospital. He waited in emergency from yesterday evening until midnight, and was seen by a doctor, who ran some tests and put him on an IV. He's been there ever since, still waiting to see a doctor. He seems preoccupied by an intense anxiety. He has told my mom numerous times not to drive, and breaks down a bit when we mention his cat, or how concerned we are. He keeps apologizing and still says he "can't" eat or drink.

It's gotten so bad that he actually used up two IV bags and had a full bladder, but refused to urinate. They had been trying to get a urine sample but he said he couldn't. They nurses actually had to use a sonogram to prove to him that his bladder was full almost to bursting, but when asked if he felt any pressure or pain, he said he didn't and still refused to go. They had to use soft restraints to attach a catheter to empty his bladder.

His state is so strange to me. I've been able to look him in the eyes and engage him a few times, but most of the time he goes back to staring, shuffling, licking his lips, like he's lost in some deep depression and very anxious. It's not the type of distance I would associate with dementia, though, but I'm also not a medical professional. It seems much more wilful and deliberate, almost like he's stubbornly refusing to take care of himself in a depressive and very anxious way, not that he genuinely is unable to. I just have the feeling that he's always "in there," he just takes a beat to acknowledge you, and is barely speaking outside of short, repetitive sentences.

The closest thing I would describe it as is "catatonic," and I've read up on the symptoms of catatonia, and I feel like a lot of things line up (especially the relation to a sudden cessation of benzos), but obviously I'm not an expert.

Does any of this sound like anything to anyone here?
Fairy Lucretia

Fairy Lucretia

Well-known member
Forum Guide
Apr 9, 2011
Magical fairy wonderland xxxx
im sorry i don't know anything about that condition
i hope somebody will be able to help soon
love Fairy Lu x


Well-known member
Sep 29, 2013
You could try to liven him up with some key tactics also used on the dement, like music that he used to know as a younger man?