Behavioural interventions in the rehabilitation of acute v. chronic non-organic (conversion/factitious) motor disorders

Allan P. Shapiro, Robert W. Teasell
2004 British Journal of Psychiatry  
Repeated case series have documented the effectiveness of multidisciplinary in-patient behavioural treatment for conversion disorders. However, in the absence of controlled research, treatment success could be attributed to providing patients with a face-saving opportunity to get better. Aims The present study contrasts two behavioural treatments to elucidate the factors underlying successful in-patient rehabilitation of this population. Method Thirty-nine patients underwent a standard
more » ... a standard behavioural programme. Using a crossover design, patients who did not improve underwent a strategic-behavioural treatment in which they and their families were told that full recovery constituted proof of an organic aetiology whereas failure to recover was definitive proof of a psychiatric aetiology. Results Chart review indicated that the standard behavioural treatment was effective for 8/9 'acute' patients but only for 1/28 'chronic' patients. Of the 21 patients with chronic motor disorder who then under went the strategic-behavioural intervention, 13 were symptom-free at discharge. Conclusions The strategic intervention was superior to standard behavioural treatment for patients with chronic motor disorder. Treatment components previously deemed critical for the effectiveness of behavioural treatment may be unnecessary.
doi:10.1192/bjp.185.2.140 pmid:15286065 fatcat:ztmj5aqke5afzgycilzqdsfiv4