Catatonia is a neuro-psychiatric disorder that can occur in medical, psychiatric and drug-induced conditions but is often unrecognised. A 64 year-old woman was admitted to hospital for assessment of a significant deterioration in her ability to communicate and function normally so that she had become completely dependent on others for all activities of daily living for nearly three years. Outpatient medical and psychiatric assessments failed to clarify diagnosis. On admission to a general hospital, the neurology team initially believed she had a Parkinson's-like syndrome but after further investigation and comprehensive multidisciplinary assessment, including neuro-psychiatric review, she was diagnosed with catatonia. She was subsequently admitted to a psychiatric hospital where she received electro-convulsive therapy and changes to her psychotropic medication regimen. She responded well to treatment and within a short period of time was able to function independently again.