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8.55: Stereotypic Movement Disorder (307.3)

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  • DSM-IV-TR criteria

    • A. Repetitive, seemingly driven, and nonfunctional motor behavior (e.g., hand shaking or waving, body rocking, head banging, mouthing of objects, self-biting, hitting own body).
    • B. The behavior markedly interferes with normal activities or results in self-inflicted bodily injury that requires medical treatment (or would result in an injury if preventive measures were not used).
    • C. If Mental Retardation is present, the stereotypical or self-injurious behavior is often of sufficient severity to become a focus of treatment.
    • D. The behavior is not better accounted for by a compulsion (as in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), a tic (as in Tic Disorder), a stereotype that is part of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, or hair pulling (as in Trichotillomania).
    • E. The behavior is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance or a general medical condition.
    • F. The behavior persists for 4 weeks or longer.
    • Specify if:
      • With Self-Injurious Behavior


    • Approximately 2-3% of children with some form of mental retardation suffer from Stereotopic Movment Disorder in the community.
    • 25% of all people institutionalized with mental retardation have Sterotypic Movement Disorder.
    • Among those with severe or profound retardation, the rate is about 60%, with 15% showing behavior that causes self-injury (Steroetypic Movement Disorder).


    • Stereotypic Movement Disorder is extremely common in children who are considered severely retarded.
    • Occurs most often in children with autism, childhood degenerative disorder, Asperger’s disorder, and most other pervasive developmental disorders (Stereotypic Movement Disorder).


    • May be caused by major disorders such as Autism and/or mental retardation.
    • Children with Anxiety disorders may be more likely to suffer from Stereotypic Movement Disorder.


    • Few treatments used specifically for this disorder are successful.
    • Drugs that have been used with some success to treat stereotypic movement disorder include clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), haloperidol(Haldol) and chlorpromazine (Thorazine)(Stereotypic Movement Disorder).
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