Sanyal, R, Raseta, M, Natarajan, I and Roffe, C (2021) The use of hypnotherapy as treatment for functional stroke: A case series from a single center in the UK. International Journal of Stroke. ISSN 1747-4930

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Background Functional neurological disorder is defined by symptoms not explained by the current model of disease and its pathophysiology. It is found in 8.4% of patients presenting as acute stroke. Treatment is difficult and recurrence rates are high. We introduced hypnotherapy as a therapeutic option in addition to standard stroke unit care. Methods This is an observational study of successive patients with functional neurological disorder presenting as acute stroke treated with hypnotherapy between 1 April 2014 and 1 February 2018. The diagnosis of functional neurological disorder was confirmed by clinical examination and computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging. Hypnosis was delivered by a hypnotherapy trained stroke physician using imagery for induction. A positive response was defined as a National Institutes of Health Stroke score reduction to 0 or by ≥4 points posthypnotherapy. Costs were calculated as therapist time and benefits as reduction in disability/bed days. Results Sixty-eight patients (mean age 36.4 years, 52 (76%) females, mean baseline National Institutes of Health Stroke 5.0 (range 1–9)) were included. Two patients (3%) could not be hypnotized. Fifty-eight 58 (85%) responded, 47 (81%) required one treatment session, while 19% needed up to three sessions for symptomatic improvement. No adverse events were observed. Disability (modified Rankin Scale) reduced from a mean of 2.3 to 0.5 resulting in an average cost saving of £1,658 per patient. Most (n = 50, 86%) remained well without recurrence at six-month follow-up. Conclusions In this case series, hypnotherapy was associated with rapid and sustained recovery of symptoms. A prospective randomized controlled study is required to confirm the findings and establish generalizability of the results.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Uncontrolled Keywords: Hypnotherapy; functional stroke; cost-effective; safe intervention
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF173 Psychoanalysis
R Medicine > R Medicine (General) > R735 Medical education. Medical schools. Research
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC435 Psychiatry
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Pharmacy and Bioengineering
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2021 12:38
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2021 14:11

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