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Cataplexy vs. Catalepsy: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Cataplexy is a sudden muscle weakness triggered by emotions, often linked to narcolepsy, while catalepsy involves muscle rigidity and unresponsiveness, often seen in psychiatric disorders.
Cataplexy vs. Catalepsy

Key Differences

Characterized by sudden, temporary muscle weakness or paralysis, often triggered by strong emotions such as laughter. Catalepsy: Involves a trance or seizure with loss of consciousness and rigidity of the body.
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Dec 07, 2023
Commonly associated with narcolepsy, it can result in a range of effects from slight sagging of the jaw to a complete collapse. Catalepsy: Often associated with severe psychiatric conditions like schizophrenia or a reaction to drugs.
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Dec 07, 2023
Episodes are typically brief and can be triggered by surprise, excitement, or other intense feelings. Catalepsy: This state can last for minutes, hours, or longer, and the person may maintain whatever position they are placed in.
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The person remains conscious during episodes, even though they cannot speak or move. Catalepsy: The person may appear to be unconscious or unresponsive and may not remember the episode afterward.
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It is a specific symptom, not a diagnosis in itself, and is generally part of narcolepsy. Catalepsy: Can be a symptom of a neurological or psychiatric condition and is a more general term.
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Dec 07, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Trigger

Emotional reactions
Psychiatric conditions, drugs
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Consciousness

Conscious but immobile
Unresponsive or trance-like
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Duration

Short, temporary
Can last minutes to hours
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Physical Symptoms

Muscle weakness or paralysis
Muscle rigidity and stiffness
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Associated Conditions

Narcolepsy
Schizophrenia, drug reactions
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Cataplexy and Catalepsy Definitions

Cataplexy

A symptom of narcolepsy involving loss of muscle tone.
Her cataplexy is often triggered by surprise.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Catalepsy

Often associated with psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia.
Her catalepsy is a symptom of her psychiatric condition.
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Nov 22, 2023

Cataplexy

Brief episodes of muscle weakness or paralysis.
During his cataplexy, he couldn't move his arms.
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Nov 22, 2023

Catalepsy

A condition with muscle rigidity and unresponsiveness.
He was in a state of catalepsy and didn't react to stimuli.
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Nov 22, 2023

Cataplexy

Can range from mild, such as a drooping eyelid, to severe, like a full collapse.
Her cataplexy caused her knees to buckle suddenly.
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Nov 22, 2023
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Catalepsy

Characterized by a trance or seizure-like state.
During his catalepsy, he was immobile for hours.
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Nov 22, 2023

Cataplexy

Conscious but temporarily unable to move or speak.
Despite his cataplexy, he was fully aware of his surroundings.
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Nov 22, 2023

Catalepsy

Can result from certain medications or drugs.
The medication induced a cataleptic state in the patient.
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Nov 22, 2023

Cataplexy

Sudden, temporary muscle weakness triggered by strong emotions.
He experienced cataplexy and collapsed in laughter.
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Nov 22, 2023

Catalepsy

May maintain any imposed position for an extended period.
In her cataleptic state, she held her arm up indefinitely.
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Nov 22, 2023

Cataplexy

A sudden loss of muscle tone and strength, usually caused by an extreme emotional stimulus.
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Oct 19, 2023

Catalepsy

A condition characterized by lack of response to external stimuli and by muscular rigidity, so that the limbs remain where they are positioned. It occurs in a variety of physical and psychological disorders, such as epilepsy and schizophrenia, and can be induced by hypnosis.
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Oct 19, 2023

Cataplexy

(medicine) An abrupt loss of muscle tone, sometimes associated with narcolepsy.
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Oct 19, 2023

Catalepsy

(pathology) A severe bodily condition, described in psychiatric pathology, marked by sudden rigidity, fixation of posture, and loss of contact with environmental conditions.
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Oct 19, 2023

Cataplexy

A morbid condition caused by an overwhelming shock or extreme fear and marked by rigidity of the muscles.
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Oct 19, 2023

Catalepsy

A sudden suspension of sensation and volition, the body and limbs preserving the position that may be given them, while the action of the heart and lungs continues.
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Oct 19, 2023

Catalepsy

A trancelike state with loss of voluntary motion and failure to react to stimuli
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Oct 19, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Is cataplexy related to sleep?

Yes, it's often associated with narcolepsy, a sleep disorder.
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Dec 07, 2023

Is there a cure for cataplexy?

There's no cure, but it can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes.
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Can catalepsy occur during consciousness?

Typically, the person appears unresponsive or in a trance.
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Do people remember their catalepsy episodes?

They may not remember, as they often appear unconscious.
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How long can catalepsy last?

It can last from minutes to hours.
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Can catalepsy be treated?

Treatment focuses on the underlying cause, like managing psychiatric conditions.
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Do people remember their cataplexy episodes?

Yes, they remain conscious and aware during episodes.
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Dec 07, 2023

What causes cataplexy?

Usually triggered by strong emotions like laughter or surprise.
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What triggers catalepsy?

It can be triggered by psychiatric conditions or certain drugs.
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Dec 07, 2023

How long does a cataplexy episode last?

Usually brief, from a few seconds to a couple of minutes.
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Dec 07, 2023

Are there specific emotions that trigger cataplexy?

Laughter, surprise, and anger are common triggers.
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Dec 07, 2023

What are the physical signs of catalepsy?

Muscle rigidity and maintaining unusual positions.
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Dec 07, 2023

Can catalepsy be induced intentionally?

Certain drugs or hypnotic states can induce it.
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Can physical activity trigger catalepsy?

Typically, it's not triggered by physical activity.
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Can stress cause cataplexy?

Yes, emotional stress can be a trigger.
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Is cataplexy a lifelong condition?

It can be a chronic condition, especially if linked to narcolepsy.
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Dec 07, 2023

Is catalepsy common in children?

It's less common in children and usually linked to other conditions.
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Dec 07, 2023

Can catalepsy occur in animals?

It's primarily a human condition but can be artificially induced in animals for research.
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Dec 07, 2023

Can children have cataplexy?

Yes, it can occur in children, often linked to narcolepsy.
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Is cataplexy dangerous?

It can be, especially if it occurs during activities like driving.
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Dec 07, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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