Important Information About Psychogenic Movement Disorders

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Psychogenic Movement Disorders are also referred to as PMDs.  These movement disorders cannot be explained by any organic damage to the nervous system.  Officially categorized as a Medically Unexplained Symptom (MUS), Psychogenic Movement Disorders may have psychological origin.  

Many movement disorders like myoclonus (twitching of the muscles), seizure, Parkinsonism, dystonia, chorea, bradykinesia, tics, athetosis and tremor come under PMDs.  The symptoms are not produced by the person with intention to cheat people, as in the case of factitious disorder or malingering.  

What causes Psychogenic Movement Disorder?

PMDs are posing diagnostic and therapeutic challenge to neurologists and psychologists all over the world.  There are many theories which are conflicting with each other.  Some experts believe that PMDs are caused by faulty inhibitory circuits of motor control.  Most of the experts agree that PMDs are psychological.  

Symptoms of PMDs

Psychogenic Movement Disorders are disabling.  Abnormal physical movements are observed in persons suffering from Psychogenic Movement Disorders.  This affects their gait.  PMDs affect normal movements of organs like neck, shoulders, lips, tongue, head, etc.  These movements are involuntary.  

Persons affected by PMDs also suffer from inability to speak clearly, deafness, blindness, difficulty to swallow and impaired vision.  Some patients suffer hallucinations.  They respond to positive and negative situations as if they are startled.  


PMDs account for nearly 3% of the patients in movement disorder clinics.  There are no generally accepted treatment methods while dealing with patients suffering from Psychogenic Movement Disorders.  Doctors treat the patients on a case to case basis.  They generally prescribe anti – depressants and sedatives.  


PMD is one of the many mysteries of the human brain.  Research is still on in various centers of learning all over the world to unravel the mystery behind PMDs, in an endeavor to help patients suffering from this disorder.  It is very important that the near and dear ones of the patient handle the situation with a lot of love, patience and care.


“Psychogenic Movement Disorders: Neurology and Neuropsychiatry” by Mark Hallett, C. Robert Cloninger, Stanley Fahn.

“Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders” by Joseph Jankovic and Eduardo Tolosa.

“Behavioral Neurology of Movement Disorders” by William J Weiner, Karen E. Anderson, Anthony E. Lang.

“Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders” by Charles H. Adler and J. Eric Ahlskog.

“Handbook of Movement Disorders” by Stanley Fahn.

 “Parkinson’s Disease and Other Movement Disorders” by Mark Edwards, Niall Quinn and Kailash Bhatia.


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