A review of psychiatric co-morbidity described in genetic and immune mediated movement disorders

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Psychiatric symptoms are an increasingly recognised feature of movement disorders. Recent identification of causative genes and autoantibodies has allowed detailed analysis of aetiologically homogenous subgroups, thereby enabling determination of the spectrum of psychiatric symptoms in these disorders.

This review evaluates the incidence and type of psychiatric symptoms encountered in patients with movement disorders. A broad spectrum of psychiatric symptoms was identified across all subtypes of movement disorder, with depression, generalised anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder being most common. Psychosis, schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder were also identified, with the psychiatric symptoms often predating onset of the motor disorder.

The high incidence of psychiatric symptoms across such a wide range of movement disorders suggests a degree of common or overlapping pathogenic mechanisms. Our review demonstrates the need for increased clinical awareness of such co-morbidities, which should facilitate early neuropsychiatric intervention and allied specialist treatment for patients.

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