Astasia-abasia is a condition of inability to stand or walk properly. The person suffering from this disorder can move their legs naturally while walking which is why the condition is psychogenic. Astasia-abasia is a form of ‘conversion disorder’ and shows similar symptoms like Parkinson’s disease. In both diseases, the body shakes at a particular interval of time and the symptom is involuntary.
The term of this disorder originated from a Greek word “astasia-abasia.” The word ‘astasia’ refers to the inability to stand properly, and ‘abasia’ describes the disability to walk properly. Another name for this condition is “Blocq’s disease” named after Paul Blocq who discovered and diagnosed this first.
- Trauma in cranium or brain
- Neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Pick’s disease, )
- Brain tumors
- Hemorrhage in the brain
- Parkinson’s disease
- Sexual or physical abuse
- Extreme emotional disturbance
- Personality disorders
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Complications in walking
- Stiffness of muscles
- Odd body gyrations
- Feet dragging while walking
- Sensory disturbance
- Bent neck and head (hunched posture)
- Shaking of body and buckling of knees
- Loss of motor control while jumping or walking
- Sway and waddling movement
- Loss of sensation in lower limbs
- Numbness or paralysis in the lower body
This condition results in some unusual disturbances such as wobbling and swaying violently in different directions and falling when someone gets there to hold them.
There is no proper diagnostic technique or method present for Astasia-abasia syndrome. Observable potential signs are the primary procedure to detect the syndrome in a person. Experts suggest that several possible neurological disorders also result in the astasia-abasia. Few tests are conducted by specialists to diagnose the neurological problems.
- Electromyogram (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Velocity testing is a helpful method to analyze neurological problems.
- Electroencephalogram (EEG) test will be normal in case of seizures occurred during this disorder.
- Somato Sensory Evoke Potential (SSEP) tests are also effective to examine neural disturbances.
The treatment involves the aggregation of different therapies. There are various sessions, techniques, and programs to bring positivity and stability in the life of the patient. These combination therapies aim to reduce pain, enhance the fitness and maintain the social life of the person. Psychotherapy applies to the patient in case of he/she is suffering from extreme mental stress and psychological agitations. Occupational therapy is a mechanism that improvises the motor movements and reasoning capacity of the sufferer.
Many psychological therapies and medications treat this syndrome. For instance, the therapist helps the patients to gain physical and mental strength through exercise therapies and counseling. A cane or walker is recommended to maintain the poor balance of the person. It is important for the patient to have a normal social life, therefore group therapy is an appreciable technique. This therapy also teaches the person as to how he/she can overcome the condition.
Pharmacological drugs are also available, but they only treat excess anxiety and depression. For proper foot-alignment, while standing and walking, leg braces and in-shoe splints can help a lot to the patient.
The prognosis is good because it has a chance of fast recovery. However, some patients get fast recovery, but the risk of recurrence is also possible within a year. Both proper observance and treatment help the patient to gain positive responses within two weeks. Early diagnosis and immediately consulting with a specialist leads an effective and positive outcome.