Comorbidities of Restless Legs Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

  • Mark J. Buchfuhrer


Because restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a common disorder, it is not unexpected to find that patients with RLS also suffer from additional disorders. As a result, it is important to be skeptical about reports that RLS is associated with a given disorder. However, certain disorders (or conditions) are so clearly associated with RLS that they can be considered causative or risk factors (see Table 1.3). Others are plausibly associated but have not been studied sufficiently to be convincingly associated; the better-established associations in the authors’ opinion are listed in Table  3.1. It should be noted that not only physical disorders but also psychiatric disorders can occur with RLS [1]. Both depression and anxiety can overlap with RLS symptoms. It also seems likely that anxiety and depression may be caused by RLS, perhaps mediated by sleep deprivation [2]. In addition, the common treatment of anxiety and depression with SSRI or SNRI medications typically makes RLS worse. This in turn worsens the anxiety and depression triggering an increase in antidepressant medication which creates a viscous cycle of treatment. When antidepressant medications are started after RLS symptoms have been disruptive, it is often likely that the medications can be discontinued once the RLS symptoms are controlled.


Eating Disorder Sleep Disorder Sleep Deprivation Antidepressant Medication Dopaminergic Medication 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark J. Buchfuhrer
    • 1
  1. 1.PIH Health Hospital - DowneyDowneyUSA

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