Psychogenic Movement Disorders

  • Daniel SchneiderEmail author
  • Daniel T. Williams
Part of the Current Clinical Neurology book series (CCNEU)


Psychogenic conditions are a diagnostic and treatment challenge for ­physicians of all specialties. Psychogenic literally means “generated from the psyche” and is frequently used in neurological literature as a blanket term to encompass a variety of psychiatric conditions that mimic neurological symptoms including conversion disorder, malingering, factitious disorder, and others. While commonly used, the term “psychogenic” has a number of limitations and these are discussed in the text.

In this chapter we review the literature on psychogenic movement disorders, focusing on both those with a loss of motor function (i.e., weakness) and those with a “gain” of abnormal motor function (i.e., psychogenic tremor, dystonia, myoclonus, parkinsonism, tics, etc.). Some have characterized psychogenic disorders as a diagnosis of exclusion but we discuss why this is not the current paradigm and give particular emphasis on the positive and negative findings that help to make the diagnosis. We also review the limited evidence regarding the pathophysiology and treatment of these disorders and conclude with practical tips regarding the care of these patients.


Deep Brain Stimulation Essential Tremor Conversion Disorder Somatization Disorder Factitious Disorder 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologyRobert Wood Johnson Medical SchoolNew BrunswickUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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