Psychogenic and organic movement disorders in children

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2008 Apr;50(4):300-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2008.02043.x. Epub 2008 Feb 28.


We report on 34 patients with abnormal body movements (AMs; 11 females, 23 males; mean age 10 y 1 mo, range 3 y 6 mo-15 y 11 mo). Twenty-three of the 34 patients had an organic movement disorder (OMD), five patients fulfilled the diagnostic criteria of documented psychogenic movement disorder (PMD), and six patients displayed probable or possible PMD. Diagnosis of children with OMD included essential tremor (n=7), Tourette syndrome (n=5), primary dystonia (n=2), chronic motor tics (n=2), viral cerebellar ataxia (n=2), drug-induced ataxia (n=1), thyrotoxicosis related tremor (n=1), autosomal inherited dystonia (n=1), poststreptococcal chorea (n=1), and benign head tremor (n=1). Consistent findings among patients with PMD included disappearance of AMs when the patients thought they were not being observed and satisfactory recovery from the AMs after psychotherapy or suggestion. Reduction of the movements when the patient was distracted and variability of AMs during full relaxation, sleep, and stress were reported among patients with both PMD and OMD.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Family Conflict
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Movement Disorders / therapy
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Remission, Spontaneous
  • Sick Role
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Suggestion