Stereotypic Movement Disorder (SMD)

· May 14, 2019
Although stereotypic movement disorder (SMD) is diagnosed at an early age, its causes are difficult to detect. Read this article to learn more about this condition!

According to the Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria from the DSM-5, stereotypic movement disorder involves repetitive, non-functional behavior. This disorder can interfere with the social and academic activities of the child who suffers from it.

Typically, stereotypic movement disorder is diagnosed at an early age, meaning it can be treated as early as possible.

Causes of Stereotypic Movement Disorder (SMD)

Oftentimes, the causes of stereotypic movement disorder are unclear. In fact, sometimes, specialists confuse it with other disorders.

However, some possible causes may shed some light on the causes of stereotypic movement disorder:

Physiological Effects of Substances

First of all, certain drugs, such as amphetamines, can cause the same behavior that a patient with stereotypic movement disorder exhibits.

Unfortunately, children whose parents take drugs have easy access to them. However, in these cases, the symptoms tend to go away on their own. (That is, unless they continue to have exposure to the substance).

This article may interest you: What Are the Most Dangerous Drugs in the World?

Associated Disorders

In addition, Lesch–Nyhan syndrome (LNS) may present some of the symptoms of stereotypic movement disorder. In addition, it may also manifest if the child suffers from mental retardation or has a head injury.

The problem with this disorder is that it may be confused with autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or Tourette syndrome. For this reason, specialists must do several tests before diagnosing the patient.

Symptoms of Stereotypic Movement Disorder

Overall, stereotypic movement disorder involves repetitive movements. These can range from hand clenching, nail-biting, body rocking, and numerous tics.

One problem is that stress, boredom, or frustration can worsen the movements. In some cases, the child may end up harming themselves. These cases are very serious and should be urgently addressed.

This article may interest you: When Childhood Stress Is Caused by Parents

Available Treatments

Overall, the treatment depends on the internal cause that’s causing the stereotyped movements.

The doctor will opt for a certain treatment depending on the diagnosis. This will include whether the stereotypic movement disorder manifests with self-injurious behavior or not.

Overall, here are some of the available treatments:

  • Changes in the environment. If your child injures themselves, you have to take certain steps to prevent this from happening. Naturally, this depends on the object they normally use to harm themselves.
  • Proper drugs. In this case, the doctor will take the child’s age into account to determine the drugs they can prescribe. Typically, some of them may include antipsychotics or catecholamine-depleting drugs.
  • Psychotherapy. Finally, along with certain behavioral techniques, psychotherapy can yield great results. In addition, it can also complement the other treatments we mentioned above.

Overall, the biggest problem with this disorder is that it interferes with the child’s life. The movements they make are involuntary. This means they can’t control them, no matter how hard they try. Therefore, if your child has this disorder, you must keep in mind that the movements may be permanent.

However, with the aforementioned treatments, you may see slight improvement or greater control.

Have you noticed repetitive movements in any of your children? If you see any of your children make repetitive movements, go to your trusted pediatrician. Then, they’ll run the necessary tests to discover what’s going on and how to solve the problem.