:This page is about the medical condition, for the deathcore band, see
Catalepsy is a nervous condition characterized by muscular rigidity and fixity of posture regardless of external stimuli, as well as decreased sensitivity to
Professionals once believed this disorder was the result of (controllable) mental states that had no basis in
physiology. However, researchers now know that catalepsy does not appear on its own; instead, it is a symptom of certain nervous disorders or conditions such as Parkinson's diseaseand epilepsy. Catalepsy is also a characteristic symptom of cocainewithdrawal, and of schizophreniatreatment with typical anti-psychotics.
Symptoms include: rigid body, rigid limbs, limbs staying in same position when moved (waxy flexibility), no response, loss of muscle control, and slowing down of bodily functions, such as breathing. [Sanberg PR, Bunsey MD, Giordano M, Norman AB. (1998). [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&list_uids=2904271&dopt=Citation The catalepsy test: its ups and downs] . [Abstract] Retrieved August 22, 2006]
In some cases, isolated cataleptic instances can also be precipitated by extreme emotional shock.
Catalepsy is also a term used by hypnotists to refer to the state of making a hypnotised subject's arm, leg or back rigid. "Arm catalepsy" is often a pre-hypnotic test performed prior to an induction into a full trance.
Alexandre Dumas, père's novel " The Count of Monte Cristo", the Abbé Faria suffered from fits of catalepsy from time to time.
George Eliot's " Silas Marner", the main character Silas Marner frequently suffers from cataleptic fits and seizures. It is not mentioned if they are caused by any of the aforementioned factors.
Arthur Conan Doyle's " The Resident Patient," a doctor attempts to treat catalepsy with amyl nitrite.
Ford Madox Ford's " The Good Soldier", the protagonist Dowell suffers from catalepsy following the death of his wife.
Robert A. Heinlein's " Stranger in a Strange Land" the main character Valentine Michael Smith is believed to have catalepsy when he is returned to Earth.
Edgar Allan Poe's " The Premature Burial," the narrator suffers from catalepsy. He fears being mistakenly declared dead and buried alive, and goes to great lengths to prevent this. In another of Poe's short stories, " The Fall of the House of Usher," Madeline Usher suffers from catalepsy, and is buried alive by her unstable brother Roderick.
Émile Zola's short story "La Mort d'Olivier Becaille" ("The Death of Olivier Becaille"), the title character is buried alive and notes that "I must have fallen into one of those cataleptic states that I had read of".
In Film and Television
Sam Taylor's " Kiki (film)" (1931) Mary Pickfordfeigns a case of catalespy to keep from being removed from the apartment of the man she secretly loves.
In the soap opera
La Traición, the main character, Hugo De Medina, suffers from catalepsy. Later in the telenovela it is revealed that his daughter, Aurora, suffers from the same illness.
Chavo del Ocho, the main character, El Chavo, would have cataleptic-like fits if frightened, where he would curl as if sitting down in a chair and become stiff. However, he could be healed by being splashed with water.
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