Cognitive behavioral therapy for psychogenic neurological disorders

Neurologist. 2012 Nov;18(6):364-72. doi: 10.1097/NRL.0b013e31826e8ff5.


Background: Psychogenic neurological disorders (PNDs) represent a significant problem in neurology, due to the difficulty in diagnosis and lack of effective and widely available treatment options. Treatment options for this population are limited. Preliminary evidence reveals cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be useful in these disorders.

Review summary: The types of PNDs and their presentations are summarized, and the utilization of CBT in treatment of these disorders is reviewed. Accurate and timely diagnosis of the disorders is paramount and provides direction for implementing appropriate treatment.

Conclusions: Neurologists should be familiar with the types of PNDs, clinical findings, and treatment principles of CBT. Early and accurate diagnosis may lead to improved treatment outcomes. Controlled treatment trials for this population are needed to determine efficacy. Further study of CBT in these patients may also help to elucidate the underlying etiology of these disorders by contributing to the understanding of associated psychopathology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Nervous System Diseases / therapy*
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / therapy*
  • Psychotherapy
  • Treatment Outcome