Mutism in the Older Adult

Nages Nagaratnam, MD, FRCP, FRACP, FRCPA, FACC; Gowrie Pavan, MBBS, FRAGP


Geriatrics and Aging. 2005;8(8):61-68. 

In This Article

Primary Psychiatric Disorders

Stupor and excitement are outstanding catatonic symptoms. A patient in stupor is unresponsive and, although fully conscious, is immobile and mute. The stupor may suddenly change to excitement and increased motor activity.[34] These patients are usually adolescents and young adults; however, onset in late life is not uncommon.

In hysterical mutism there is an obstinate and voluntary silence that is not accompanied by any abnormality in the muscles of articulation. The patient is able to cough normally. There is a psychological component in conversion disorders and the patient mimics a pathophysiological disorder such as paralysis or amongst others, loss of vision. Any symptom may become a conversion symptom.


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