Preparation for Child Psych PRITE and Boards
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The diagnosis of movement disorders requires careful characterization of the movements.


Term Description
Tics Sudden rapid, recurrent, nonrhythmic movement. Tics can be motor or vocal tics
Dystonia Involuntary muscle contractions that cause twisting and repetitive movements or abnormal postures
Chorea Involuntary, random, quick, jerking movements, usually in the proximal extremities. Can progress from from joint to joint. Movements are abrupt, nonrepetitive, and arrhythmic (variable frequency and intensity)
Stereotypies Rhythmic, repetitive movements or patterns of speech that aree stereotyped (lack variation over time)
Compulsions Repetitive, excessive, meaningless activity including mental activity such as counting, performed to avoid distress
Myoclonus Shock-like involuntary muscle jerks; these may be repetetive. examples include hiccups, hypnic jerks, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and juvenile myoclonic epilepsy
Akathisia Dysphoric sensation of restlessness which may be alleviated by movement
Table adopted from Murphy JAACAP 2013;52(12)


1. Murphy TK, et. al. Practice Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents With Tic Disorders JAACAP 2013;52(12):1341–1359