Catatonic schizophrenia and other forms of schizophrenia are brain disorders. Genetics and environment likely both play a role in causing catatonic schizophrenia.

Catatonia is much more commonly associated with other conditions. Some of the health problems that can lead to catatonia include other mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder, and medical conditions that affect the central nervous system.

Doctors don't know why some people with schizophrenia develop catatonic symptoms, but one or more underlying problems with the brain are likely responsible. For example, problems with certain naturally occurring brain chemicals called neurotransmitters appear to play a role. Imaging studies show differences in the brain structure of people with schizophrenia, but the significance of these changes is unclear.

Dec. 17, 2010