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Catalepsy facts for kids

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Rigidity of the body produced by catalepsy
Rgigidity of the body is characteristic of catalepsy

Catalepsy is a nervous condition. The body is fixed, with rigid muscles and fixed posture. The body position does not respond to stimuli, and there is decreased sensitivity to pain.

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.

Causes

Catalepsy is a symptom of certain nervous disorders or conditions such as Parkinson's disease and epilepsy. In some cases, catalepsy may be started by an extreme emotional shock – one well known example of this was the reaction of 1968 Olympic long jump medalist Bob Beamon on finding he had broken the previous world record by over 0.5 meters (2 feet).

Symptoms

Female patient with melancolie catalepsy Wellcome L0040298 (cropped)
Female with depression and catalepsy

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.

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