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Psychiatric disorders in adult-onset focal dystonia: A case-control study


  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.


In a single-center, case–control study, we investigated the frequency and types of psychiatric disturbances in 89 consecutive patients with various primary focal dystonias (34 had cervical dystonia (CD), 28 blepharospasm (BPS), 16 laryngeal dystonia (LD), and 11 arm dystonia), 62 healthy control subjects and as controls for BPS, 26 patients with hemifacial spasm (HFS). Patients and controls underwent a full psychiatric evaluation. Diagnosis was based on the structured clinical interview for DSM-IV, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) was assessed with the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive scale, anxiety with the Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety, the severity of depression with the Beck Depression Inventory. Of the 89 patients with focal dystonias studied, 51 patients (57.3%) had a diagnosis of psychiatric disorders compared with only 15 of 62 healthy subjects (24.1%) and 9 of the patients with HFS (34.6%). Depressive disorders were more frequent in the CD and BPS groups than in healthy controls, whereas the frequency of anxiety disorders, OCDs or adjustment disorders approached that of healthy subjects. No difference was found in the frequency of any specific psychiatric disorder in patients with LD and arm dystonia and healthy controls. In 35 of 51 patients who had psychiatric disorders, these started before and in 16 patients after the onset of dystonia. No differences were found in age, dystonia severity, and duration of botulinum toxin treatment between patients with and without psychiatric disturbances. The most common psychiatric features in patients with CD and BPS are depressive disorders. © 2010 Movement Disorder Society