Year: 2020 Source: European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. (2020). 29, 1103–1109. SIEC No: 20200664

In the beginning of the 2000s, an increasing number of asylum-seeking children in Sweden fell into a stuporous condition. In the present study, we report 46 consecutive children with the most severe form of this illness where the children were unable to give any response at all, did not react to pain, cold or touching, could not be supported to sit or stand on their feet, could not do anything when requested, and in most cases had enuresis/encopresis. A minority of the children came from war zones (n = 8, 17.4%). A majority belonged to an ethnic or religious minority (n = 32, 69.6%) in their homeland and almost all were persecuted (n = 43, 93.5%). All had either experienced violence themselves or had witnessed or heard about violence against close family members. The age of onset of the first symptom of illness for boys was 11.2 years [CI 9.6–12.8], for girls 11.8 yrs.[CI 10.4–13.2], and the age for falling into stupor for boys was 12.9 years [CI 11.6–14.1] years and was the same for girls, 12.9 years [CI 11.6–14.2] years. Girls tended to have depression before entering the stuporous condition, while the boys tended to have PTSD first (Chi-square = 3.73, p = 0.054). A majority of the children had one (n = 13, 28.3%) or both parents (n = 14, 30.4%) suffering from mental or severe physical disorder. It is discussed whether the presented condition is a separate entity or if the syndrome should be regarded as a variant of catatonia, and whether benzodiazepines should be tried.