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Anxiety as an Aggravating Factor During Onset of Focal Dystonia in Musicians

Hans-Christian Jabusch, Eckart Altenmüller
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 19 Number 2: Page 75 (June 2004)

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Abstract: Focal dystonia in musicians is a task-specific movement disorder that in many cases leads to the end of musical careers. In a recent study, perfectionism and anxious traits were found to be elevated in musicians with dystonia. Dynamics of different anxiety disorders and their possible role during the development of musician's dystonia still are unclear. Dystonic musicians (n = 20) were investigated by means of self-estimation and compared with healthy musicians (n = 30) and musicians with chronic pain syndromes (n = 20). Participants completed a questionnaire focusing on different anxiety disorders, particularly with regard to their dynamics. Musicians with focal dystonia more often reported social phobia and specific phobias than healthy musicians. In the retrospective analysis, these differences already were present before onset of dystonia. Musicians who later developed focal dystonia more often suffered from specific phobias than musicians who later developed chronic pain. Musicians with chronic pain more often reported free-floating anxiety compared with healthy musicians. In the subscale stage fright, no significant differences were observed between the groups. The pattern of specific phobias and social phobia were reported to have been preexisting before the onset of dystonia. Anxiety and perfectionism may be aggravating factors during the development of musician's dystonia.

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