Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 396–403

An Update on Psychogenic Movement Disorders

  • Aviva Ellenstein
  • Sarah M. Kranick
  • Mark Hallett
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11910-011-0205-z

Cite this article as:
Ellenstein, A., Kranick, S.M. & Hallett, M. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep (2011) 11: 396. doi:10.1007/s11910-011-0205-z

Abstract

Psychogenic movement disorders (PMD) and other conversion disorders (CD) with apparent neurologic signs (neurologic CD) plague patients and perplex physicians. Due to a lack of objective evidence of underlying brain lesions, CD were largely abandoned by neurologists and remained poorly understood psychiatric diagnoses throughout most of the 20th century. Modern neuroscience now supports increasingly comprehensive biological models for these complex disorders, definitively establishing their place in both neurology and psychiatry. Although it is often clinically useful to distinguish a movement disorder as either “organic” or “psychogenic,” this dichotomy is difficult to defend scientifically. Here we describe the neuroimaging and neurophysiologic evidence for dysfunctional neural networks in PMD, explain the diagnostic potential of clinical neurophysiologic testing, discuss the promising if increasingly complex role of neuropsychiatric genetics, and review current treatment strategies.

Keywords

Movement disorderPsychogenicMotor conversionSomatoform disorderDissociative disorderFunctional disorderMedically unexplainedHystericalNeurologic symptomDiagnostic technique

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC (outside the USA) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aviva Ellenstein
    • 1
  • Sarah M. Kranick
    • 1
  • Mark Hallett
    • 1
  1. 1.Human Motor Control Section, Medical Neurology Branch, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA