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Stereotypic Movement Disorder Symptoms

Stereotypic movement disorder symptoms include: repetitive, seemingly driven, and nonfunctional motor behavior (e.g., hand shaking or waving, body rocking, head banging, mouthing of objects, self-biting, picking at skin or bodily orifices, hitting own body).

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).

If mental retardation is present, the stereotypic or self-injurious behavior is of sufficient severity to become a focus of treatment.

The behavior is not better accounted for by a compulsion (as in obsessive-compulsive disorder), a tic (as in tic disorder), a stereotypy that is part of a pervasive developmental disorder, or hair pulling (as in trichotillomania).

The behavior is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance or a general medical condition.

The behavior persists for 4 weeks or longer.

Steve Bressert, Ph.D.

Steve Bressert, Ph.D. is an author and retired as a professional in clinical practice. He has been writing about psychology and mental health issues since 1998.

APA Reference
Bressert, S. (2019). Stereotypic Movement Disorder Symptoms. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 7, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 11 Oct 2019 (Originally: 17 May 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 11 Oct 2019
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