Occurrence and aetiology

This is three to four times more common in males than in females. Body rocking usually appears at around 6 months and head banging and head rolling at around 9 months. These movements often disappear by around 18 months of age and are uncommon after the age of 4 years. They can persist into adult life, particularly if there are abnormalities such as mental retardation or autism, or following a head injury, but also occasionally in otherwise normal subjects. Daytime head banging is a separate entity which is usually suppressed during sleep. It is a transient phase in young children, but in adults is associated with learning disabilities, autism and psychotic states.



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