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Dr. C. Morgan
Dr. C. Morgan, Doctor
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10
Experience:  Ph.D. Clinical Psychology
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My 83 year old mother suffers from paradoxical vocal chord

Customer Question

My 83 year old mother suffers from paradoxical vocal chord movement. she has had this for almost one year and despite lots of tests and medications, there has been no improvement. this is affecting her general health and causing depression as she is being ridiculed by fellow residents at her retirement home. she has been referred to a psychiatrist. How will this help her condition?   What other treatments might work? We feel she is being sloughed off because of her age.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Carol Kryder LMFT replied 8 years ago.

I am sorry you and your mother are having so much difficulty with this issue. The referral to a psychiatrist is for the depression which is the result of her vocal chord condition, and treatment of the depression is totally separate from the treatment of the vocal chord movement.

The residents of her retirement home need to be educated by the staff as to the symptoms of her condition and advised that she cannot help her symptoms. That may help them to be more sensitive and thus help with the depression.

If you want assistance with the paradoxical vocal chord movement disorder, you will need to ask the medical experts. I will be happy to transfer your question to them for assistance.

Let me know if you require any additional assistance. I wish you well in this most distressing situation.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Please transfer my question to a medical expert. Thanks.
Expert:  Dr. C. Morgan replied 8 years ago.

Paradoxical Vocal Cord Dysfunction is a medical illness. take a look at this webpage:

the fact that her doctor is referring her to a psychiatrist can mean a couple things. either her doctor thinks that her symptoms are somewhat psychiatric in nature because he or she cannot find any physical finding or difficulties or there is a psychiatric component of her difficulties.

The brain is a very powerful thing and can sometimes cause what are called somatic symptoms or physical symptoms created by the brain where there is actually nothing physically wrong.

Additionally, is it possible that your mother is experiencing any symptoms of depression, anxiety, or dementia (Alzheimer's disease). Those might also be reasons for the referral to a psychiatrist and not for the vocal cord problem specifically.

I hope this was helpful. If not let me know how I can better help you. If so, please click the accept button.

Dr. C. Morgan, Doctor
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10
Experience: Ph.D. Clinical Psychology
Dr. C. Morgan and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks for the info on PVCM. She does suffer from some dementia that has gotten worse since this started. What do you suggest that we do to help her cope with this problem (the PVCM).? Jane.
Expert:  Dr. C. Morgan replied 8 years ago.

Here is some more info on PVCD

Long-term Management of PVCD

  • requires a multidisciplinary approach involving speech therapy, psychiatric support and physician education regarding the syndrome


  • Speech therapy

-techniques aimed at focusing attention on expiration and abdominal breathing rather than on inspiration and laryngeal breathing

-early recognition of symptoms allows relaxation of neck, shoulder and chest muscles promoting normal laryngeal breathing

  • Psychotherapy

-allows patient to explore for potential causes

-trains the patient with relaxation techniques

  • Psychotherapy should be initiated if:

-insufficient improvement with speech therapy alone

-evident psychological tumult in the patient's life

-at the patient's request

  • Education about the condition

-useful for reducing stress.

-Biofeedback training has been used as a long-term treatment approach -not considered primary agent

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