Is dystonia a mental disability?

No. Dystonia is a disorder in which the nervous system cannot properly control or coordinate muscle movement. Someone with dystonia may be at higher risk for depression and anxiety disorders, but dystonia is a physical problem not a mental disorder. Symptoms of dystonia should not be confused with signs of mental illness, substance abuse, or poor social skills.

Dystonia does not affect a person's mental ability. In some cases, people mistake those with dystonia as having a mental illness because of their unnatural movements and stances. This can be a cause of stress for people with dystonia.

Continue Learning about Dystonia


When your muscles contract involuntarily, the condition is called dystonia. Dystonia causes a twisting or clenching of whatever body part is affected. For example, when you have a stroke, the affected arm and hand may be clenched ...

and held in a strange position. Dystonia can be very mild or very severe. It can make your life very difficult and this can lead to frustration, depression or anxiety. See your doctor to treat your symptoms and talk over your frustrations.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.