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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 37 (1995) 7

New research

Compulsive) crying - a psychiatric symptom?

P. Naarding, R.C. van der Mast

Untill today, not much is known about the physiology of `normal' crying. There seems to be a widespread cerebral circuit involved in the mechanism of crying. Therefore, so called pathological crying can be seen in many neurological disorders and is not always a consequence of bilateral or brainstem laesions, as was assumed once. In addition to pathological crying some patients will also suffer from a depressive disorder. The exact relationship between both phenomenons remains unclear, but most probably both are the result of cerebral damage. Although depression and pathological crying often occur at the same time, they can also appear as a separate entity. Crying can be a psychiatric symptom of an (organic) depressive disorder but may also concern pathological crying. Several studies have shown that patients with pathological crying can benefit from treatment with tricyclic antidepressants, independent of the presence of a depression. Also, levo-dopa, amantadinechloride and citalopram have been effective in the treatment of pathological crying.