47 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Catatonic features can appear in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). There can be overlap in symptoms across catatonia and ASD. The overall aim of this review is to provide evidence for the presence of catatonic features in subjects with ASD. Methods. A systematic literature search using the Web of Science database from inception to 10th July 2021 was conducted following PRISMA, MOOSE guidelines and the PROSPERO protocol. (CRD42021248615). Twelve studies with information about catatonia and ASD were reviewed. Data from a subset was used to conduct meta-analyses of the presence of catatonia in ASD. Results. The systematic review included twelve studies, seven of which were used for the meta analysis, comprising 969 individuals. The mean age was 21.25 (7.5) years. Two studies (16.6%) included only children and adolescents. 70-100% were males. Our meta-analysis showed that 10.4% (5.8-18.0 95%CI) of individuals with ASD have catatonia. Motor disturbances were common in ASD subjects with catatonia. No differences were found in comorbidity. Several treatments have been used in ASD with catatonic features, including benzodiazepines, antipsychotics and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). The findings of the systematic review showed that ECT might help manage catatonic symptoms. Conclusion. Different features of catatonia can exist in individuals with ASD and core symptoms of catatonia are reported in ASD. Longitudinal and longer-term studies are required to understand the relationship between catatonia and ASD, and the response of catatonic symptoms to treatment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Psychiatry
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • ASD
  • Autism
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Catatonia
  • Catatonic symptoms


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