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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 57 (2015) 2, 104 - 108

Short report

Psychogenic movement disorders

P. Cras, D. Crosiers

background Psychogenic movement disorders are movement disorders that are the result of a psychiatric rather than a primary neurological disorder. Some authors prefer the term ‘functional movement disorder’.
aim To discuss the nosology, clinical signs, diagnosis and treatment of psychogenic movement disorders.
method We discuss recent, selected literature.
results Patients with psychogenic movement disorders have debilitating symptoms that can lead to long-term disability. Often such patients are diagnosed with ‘conversion disorder’. There is evidence that stress can interfere with motor functioning by affecting centres that are involved in planning and action monitoring. These patients need structured and multidisciplinary treatment supported by neurological and psychiatric follow-up. Cognitive behavioral therapy and low-frequency transcranial magnetic stimulation have a limited effect.
conclusion Psychogenic movement disorders and conversion disorders have features in common. There is evidence that cognitive behavioral therapy has beneficial effects, but the prognosis remains poor.

keywords cognitive behavioral therapy, conversion disorders, functional movement disorders, somatoform disorders