Stereotypies are also known as or subsume Complex repetitive movements. -ed.
Stereotypic behaviors are seen in a number of neurologic and psychiatric conditions, as well as in normal people. They are common in autism, retardation, and psychoses and are present in some dementing disorders. Some are medication induced. Head-banging and rocking behaviors are seen in normal children who outgrow them. They are on a continuum with obsessive compulsive spectrum disorders, the umbrella term now used for tics, hair pulling, and a variety of other repetitive, purposeless behaviors. In this article, the author reviews these behaviors and puts them into the context of the various disorders in which they occur. Stereotypies help define some of the autistic disorders. Treatment is discussed only briefly because evidence to support any interventions is scant.