Objective: To examine the assessment of non-motor symptoms in essential tremor in movement disorder clinics.
Background: Essential tremor (ET) is one of the most common conditions encountered in neurology clinics. While previously, the focus has solely been on the motor features of the disorder, there is increasing recognition of the prevalence of non-motor symptoms, including mood disorder, along the central feature of kinetic tremor. In population based cross sectional analyses, patients with ET were twice as likely than controls to report depression, and were three times as likely to be taking antidepressant medication. ET is a chronic condition and psychiatric symptoms such as anxiety and depression can have a profound impact on a patient’s quality of life. It is, therefore, crucial to address these issues as part of ongoing clinical evaluation.
Method: To ascertain how frequently mood was being addressed in clinic, we analysed the 2019 movement disorder patient lists. Of the 658 patients, 42 have a diagnosis of essential tremor. Based on clinic letters, we then looked at a number of parameters in relation to mood.
Results: At diagnosis of ET, 38% of patients were asked about mood symptoms. Mood was addressed in 47.5% of visits following diagnosis, however just 7.1% of patients were asked about mood at every visit. 45% of patients assessed reported some kind of mood symptom, predominantly anxiety and depression. 11.9% of patients were linked with psychiatry and 33.3% were on anti-depressant or anti-psychotic medication.
Conclusion: This audit highlighted the need for a greater awareness among clinicians of the association between ET and mood. While mood is being assessed on some occasions, it is not being enquired about consistently. This audit will hopefully provide a platform for promotion of improved quality of care for patients with ET.
References:  Louis, E.D., Benito‐León, J., Bermejo‐Pareja, F., NEDICES, Neurological Disorders in Central Spain (NEDICES) Study Group & On behalf of the Neurological Disorders in Central Spain (NEDICES) Study Group 2007, “Self‐reported depression and anti‐depressant medication use in essential tremor: cross‐sectional and prospective analyses in a population‐based study”, European journal of neurology, vol. 14, no. 10, pp. 1138-1146.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:G. Douglas, A. Doyle, S. Rafee, S. O'Riordan. Are we addressing the emotional burden? – recognition of mood disorders in patients with essential tremor [abstract]. Mov Disord. 2021; 36 (suppl 1). https://www.mdsabstracts.org/abstract/are-we-addressing-the-emotional-burden-recognition-of-mood-disorders-in-patients-with-essential-tremor/. Accessed December 4, 2023.
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