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Stewart A. Factor 1 Article
Psychodynamic Psychotherapy for Functional (Psychogenic) Movement Disorders
Vibhash D. Sharma, Randi Jones, Stewart A. Factor
J Mov Disord. 2017;10(1):40-44.   Published online December 27, 2016
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AbstractAbstract PDF
As the literature for the treatment of functional (psychogenic) movement disorders (FMD) is sparse, we assessed clinical outcomes in patients with FMD who underwent treatment with psychodynamic psychotherapy (PDP).
A retrospective analysis of the data of patients with FMD who were referred for PDP from 2008−2014 at Emory University Medical Center was performed.
Thirty patients were included, mean age at presentation was 50 years (SD 13.9) and majority were female (27/30). Most common movement disorder was involuntary shaking/jerky movements (50%) and tremor (43%). Mean duration of symptoms was 3.2 years and mean number of PDP visits was 4.9. PDP lead to good outcomes in 10, modest in 8, and poor in 9. Three patients lost to follow up. Mean duration of symptoms between two groups (good vs. poor) was not statistically significant (p = 0.11), mean number of PDP visits showed a trend towards significance (p = 0.053). In all cases of good outcomes precipitants of the movement disorder were identified and a majority (60%) was receptive of the diagnosis and had good insight.
PDP lead to improvement in 60% of the patients which is encouraging as the treatment is challenging. This study supports heterogeneous causes of FMD including varied roles of past/recent events and demonstrates importance of psychological approaches such as PDP. Treatment with PDP should be considered in some patients with FMD but predicting who will respond remains a challenge. Further long term prospective studies with large sample size and placebo control are needed.


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