This article reviews a practical approach to psychogenic movement disorders to help neurologists identify and manage this complex group of disorders.
Psychogenic movement disorders, also referred to as functional movement disorders, describe a group of disorders that includes tremor, dystonia, myoclonus, parkinsonism, speech and gait disturbances, and other movement disorders that are incongruent with patterns of pathophysiologic (organic) disease. The diagnosis is based on positive clinical features that include variability, inconsistency, suggestibility, distractibility, suppressibility, and other supporting information. While psychogenic movement disorders are often associated with psychological and physical stressors, the underlying pathophysiology is not fully understood. Although insight-oriented behavioral and pharmacologic therapies are helpful, a multidisciplinary approach led by a neurologist, but also including psychiatrists and physical, occupational, and speech therapists, is needed for optimal outcomes.
The diagnosis of psychogenic movement disorders is based on clinical features identified on neurologic examination, and neurophysiologic and imaging studies can provide supporting information.