Catatonia Associated with Hyponatremia: Case Report and Brief Review of the Literature

Vaios Peritogiannis1, *, Dimitrios V. Rizos2
1 Mobile Mental Health Unit of the prefectures of Ioannina and Thesprotia, Society for the Promotion of Mental Health in Epirus, Ioannina, Greece
2 Intensive Care Unit, “Hatzikosta” General Hospital, Ioannina, Greece

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© 2021 Peritogiannis et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at Mobile Mental Health Unit of the prefectures of Ioannina and Thesprotia, Society for the Promotion of Mental Health in Epirus, 54 Pashidi Str, 45445, Ioannina, Greece; Tel: 00302651021227, E- mail:



Catatonia is a syndrome of altered motor behavior that is mostly associated with general medical, neurologic, mood and schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. The association of newly onset catatonic symptoms with hyponatremia has been rarely reported in the literature.

Case Presentation:

We present a rare case of a young female patient with schizophrenia, who presented with catatonic symptoms in the context of hyponatremia due to water intoxication. The symptoms were eliminated with the correction of hyponatremia. There are only a few reports of hyponatremia-associated catatonia in psychiatric and non-psychiatric patients. Sometimes, catatonic symptoms may co-occur with newly onset psychotic symptoms and confusion, suggesting delirium. In several cases, the catatonic symptoms responded to specific treatment with benzodiazepines or electroconvulsive therapy.


Hyponatremia may induce catatonic symptoms in patients, regardless of underlying mental illness, but this phenomenon is even more relevant in patients with a psychotic or mood disorder, which may itself cause catatonic symptoms. It is important for clinicians not to attribute newly-onset catatonic symptoms to the underlying psychotic or mood disorder without measuring sodium serum levels. The measurement of sodium serum levels may guide treating psychiatrists to refer the patient for further investigation and appropriate treatment.

Key-words: Benzodiazepines, Catatonia, Delirium, Hyponatremia, Psychogenic polydipsia, Schizophrenia-spectrum disorders.