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Commentary in Neurology
June 2010

Psychogenic DisordersThe Need to Speak Plainly

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Movement Disorders Program, Butler Hospital (Dr Friedman), Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Alpert Medical School of Brown University (Drs Friedman and LaFrance), and Division of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Neurology, Rhode Island Hospital (Dr LaFrance), Providence.

Arch Neurol. 2010;67(6):753-755. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2010.91

Visits by patients with psychogenic disorders make up a significant percentage of neurology specialty appointments,1 but these patients are often treated differently from other patients. About 2% to 3% of new visits to movement disorder specialists are for psychogenic movement disorders,2,3 most of which are conversion disorders.4 Up to 30% of patients referred to epilepsy monitoring units have diagnoses of psychogenic nonepileptic seizures. Conversion symptoms, a subset of somatoform disorders, have been documented in the medical literature for millennia5,6 and are thought to have similar etiologies and similar presentations across cultures but with cultural variations.7

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