The pre-melancholic model described by Tellenbach may provide a common model for understanding the psychological implications of the lockdown. In this case report, we describe a rare catatonic status as a psychological implication linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, a really unique global situation.
B is a 59 year-old man with mute psychiatric anamnesis whose mother suffered from a major depressive disorder. As the lockdown began, he started to develop concerns about his family’s economic condition. According to his wife, he could see no end to the epidemic and no future at all. Moving from this, he started to show a severe and rapidly progressive depression and to develop mood congruent delusions. In addition, he had increasing anhedonia, apathy, starvation and insomnia. This turned in the end into a catatonic-like state, along with a deep desire to die.
Admitted to the psychiatry ward in a state of mutism, he was discharged after 15 days with a diagnosis of “Major depressive disorder, single severe episode with no psychotic behavior”. He was treated with Sertraline, Olanzapine and Lorazepam.
Our aim is to draw attention to the effect of the lockdown upon a Tellenbach-like personality structure. Identifying this type of pre-morbid personality structure could help clinicians understand and treat some cases of patients with severe major depressive disorders elicited by the COVID-19 pandemic.