Basal Ganglia Disorders

The basal ganglia are the nuclei located in the brain that are responsible for a host of different functions of your body. These functions include the ability to learn, control your emotions, and control your body's motor functions. With so many important functions operated by one area of the brain, malfunctions in the basal ganglia can result in a multitude of disorders.


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common disorder that can often be associated with a malfunction of the basal ganglia. ADHD is marked by uncontrollable impulsiveness and difficulty focusing or paying attention. These are all behavioural traits that are partially affected by the basal ganglia.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is another common disorder associated with the basal ganglia. Cerebral palsy mainly affects an individual's motor skills, but can also branch into disabilities in perception, communication and cognition. Cerebral palsy is often caused by damage to the basal ganglia during childbirth.


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is also commonly caused by issues involving the basal ganglia. OCD causes its sufferers to repeat the same irrational actions over and over again. This can often be linked to damage of the basal ganglia's ability to control cognition and motor function.

Tourette Syndrome

Tourette syndrome is also believed to have some connection to basal ganglia disorder. Tourette syndrome involves a series of vocal and physical tics that manifest themselves in an individual who has little or no control over them. Tourette syndrome is often associated with damage to the basal ganglia involved with speech and motor skills.

PAP Syndrome

PAP syndrome, also known as athymhormic syndrome, can also be a basal ganglia disorder. PAP is a syndrome that causes extreme passiveness, lethargy and loss of motivation. Though very rarely diagnosed, severe cases can lead to self injury or harm of others. For example, if an individual were to place his hand on a hot stove, he would not remove it. Even extreme pain would not motivate her to move her hand. PAP is usually associated with damage to the basal ganglia involved in motivation.

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About the Author

Chris Sherwood is a professional journalist who after years in the health administration field and writing health and wellness articles turned towards organic sustainable gardening and food education. He now owns and operates an organic-method small farm focusing his research and writing on both organic gardening methods and hydroponics.