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Doctors weigh in on teens' mystery illness

NEED TO KNOW
  • Specialists disagree on condition's possible causes
  • Could this be a conversion disorder?

All week long, HLN's Dr. Drew has been coordinating with a team of experts searching for answers for a group teenage girls suffering from the same mysterious illness that's causing Tourette-like outbursts, twitching and uncontrollable movements.

Parents of six of the girls from LeRoy Junior-Senior High School in New York met this past weekend and agreed they want some sort of cohesive team, perhaps one physician, who has expertise in this area.

However, tension continue to grow as different specialists disagree on the possible causes of this condition.

The New York State Department of Health says it has been investigating the case apparently for more than three months and found no cause for the illness.

“What we want to do is to put together support for the best treatment possible for the girls … I think if we can get the girls into the right kind of routine … with a little more support and focus, we have a real avenue of hope,” psychiatrist Dr. John Sharp told Dr. Drew Wednesday night.

Some doctors initially believed the diagnosis was conversion disorder.

“A conversion disorder is a condition you show psychological stress in physical ways to describe a health problem that starts as a mental or emotional crisis, a scary or stressful incident of some kind, and converts to physical problems,” Dr. Drew explained.

Dr. Laszlo Metchtler of the Dent Neurologic Institute, who diagnosed some of these girls with conversion added, “What shocked us was that in the following two, three months, then further patients started showing up to our office after being evaluated in the region and at that time our evaluation went from conversion disorder to mass psychogenic illness."

Hear the doctors describe other possibilities that may be causing the girls’ illness in the video clip above.

Watch Dr. Drew weeknights at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on HLN and follow the show on Twitter @DrDrewHLN

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