Akathisia + 4 Ways to Help Manage Symptoms




Can not sit still? It can only be anxious energy, or it might be something more serious such as akathisia.

It may even be an inherent cause of suicidal ideas as it tends to worsen depression and nervousness.

Indicators of akathisia usually consist of extreme internal feelings of distress and sometimes the absolute inability to sit due to”psychomotor restlessness.”

Although many individuals with akathisia experience similar emotions of extreme unease,

For most physicians, the status remains thought to be missed or under-diagnosed, along with being underreported by most individuals.

Whenever the root cause of somebody’s akathisia isn’t identified — like using particular medication or withdrawing from medicines — this exacerbates the condition since the offending drug is generally continued or even increased.

What Is Akathisia?

Akathisia is a form of movement disorder comprising”difficulty staying and a subjective sense of restlessness.”

The word akathisia ( ak-uh–thizh–uh) has Greek roots. It contrasts to”to sit” or”inability to take a seat ” This problem is commonly a complication of taking particular neuroleptic, benign, and anti-inflammatory medications, though many different drugs can lead to akathisia too.

It can be tough to diagnose akathisia due to symptoms that resemble and may overlap with symptoms due to several other psychiatric disorders — such as depression, bipolar disorder (manic depression), psychosis, and ADHD.

How long does akathisia usually persist? It may be either severe or chronic. It generally lasts for less than half a year, though some men and women who do not undergo treatment for the underlying reason may experience akathisia symptoms for more.

Signs & Symptoms of Akathisia

It’s most likely to impact the motion of the back, legs, hands, and arms. The most frequent signs and symptoms of akathisia contain:

  • Restlessness and”psychological unease.”
  • Inability to remain still, pacing, compulsions, and want for continuous motion (particularly of the legs, Which Might Be confused for restless leg syndrome)
  • Repetitive movements include swinging or crossing the legs, changing, rocking, shuffling, always pacing, or consistently fidgeting.
  • Anger, anger, and burnout
  • Behavioral disturbances (occasionally Known as akathisia-induced impulsivity)
  • Symptoms of depression and stress and, in acute instances, suicidal thoughts/behaviors
  • Nervousness, panic, and an overall”sense of fear.”
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nausea, loss of appetite, and sometimes weight loss
  • Slowed cognition
  • Worsening of uncontrollable signs and symptoms related to”insanity” (Sometimes, the akathisia has been the foundation for the insanity defense by Those Who Have been accused of committing a violent offense or behave )
  • Tardive dyskinesia (occasionally called tardive akathisia) is an identical affliction for akathisia, although both have some small differences.

While akathisia entails voluntary motions (which means you are in control of these and choose to proceed to ease an impulse you’ve got ),

Tardive dyskinesia is an “involuntary movement disorder characterized by repetitive purposeless movements,” particularly the motion of their mouth, face, and limbs.

In case you have akathisia, you could be predisposed to developing tardive dyskinesia. To put it differently, akathisia may develop into tardive dyskinesia, but not necessarily.

What is akathisia?

What’s the Cause of Akathisia?
+ Risk Factors

There are many distinct theories concerning the root cause of akathisia. Some experts believe that disturbances in serotonin or serotonin levels bring it on.

This can be connected to an imbalance between the dopaminergic/cholinergic and dopaminergic/serotonergic systems.

Other people think it results in the overstimulation of particular areas of the mind, particularly the locus ceruleus.

Akathisia risk factors can include:

  • Taking particular non-neuroleptic drugs, particularly antipsychotic or antiemetic drugs.
  • Akathisia is likely to happen when a new drug is accepted, or the dose is raised. Other medications may also activate akathisia (more on those below).
  • Using a history of earlier akathisia episodes.
  • Experiencing withdrawal after accepting antipsychotic drugs.
  • Discontinuing use of stimulants, like the ones used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Using a substance use disorder, particularly involving cocaine.
  • Undergoing chemotherapy, particularly between the use of metoclopramide or prochlorperazine.
  • With a hereditary disposition or family history of akathisia.
  • Having nutrient deficiencies, such as vitamin D deficiency.
  • Being a young adult, because younger people are influenced more by akathisia than elderly adults.

 Which Medications Can Cause Akathisia?

Akathisia may be a side effect of carrying different antipsychotic, antiemetic, and antidepressant drugs.

It’s also commonly found in people undergoing cancer therapies, including chemotherapy; a single report printed in the American Journal of Psychiatry said that in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, about 50% of individuals fulfill the diagnostic threshold of akathisia.

The listing of medications reported to induce akathisia has been rising over the last many decades. Medications/drugs reported to trigger it today comprise:

Reported prevalence rates fluctuate widely but indicate that between 5 and 36 percent of individuals using these drugs may undergo akathisia symptoms.

  • Antidepressants: Tricyclics, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs; such as fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline), venlafaxine, and nefazodone.
  • Suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts are reported in some individuals with fluoxetine, droperidol, and metoclopramide, which explains why patients are cautioned to talk to their physician straight away with depression and extreme anxiety.
  • Preoperative sedatives and medication (used before operation ).
  • Drugs used to restrain Parkinson’s symptoms like the reduction of engine control and melancholy.
  • Anticonvulsant drugs.
  • Other medications such as Methyldopa, levodopa and dopamine agonists, orthopraxis and benzamides, lithium carbonate, and buspirone.

Withdrawal after the usage of cocaine.

A few of those medications, especially antidepressants, are prescribed and effective at inducing many negative consequences — such as changes in appetite, sleep, energy levels, and body fat.

Akathisia tips

Not only can you take some mood-altering medication to trigger undesirable physical or psychological side effects such as akathisia, but after it’s experienced, it becomes an effect of poor medication compliance in the long run.

Since someone Might Want to stop the use of any drugs Which Makes them feel unwell,

Many individuals using drug-induced akathisia will quit taking their drugs even as soon as they feel better, possibly leaving them in a poor circumstance.

Conventional Treatment

  • How do you treat akathisia?
    • Prompt diagnosis and management of akathisia in its earliest stages are important for preventing it from worsening. Many doctors use the Barnes Akathisia Rating Scale to aid in the detection and assessment of akathisia.
    • If certain medications cause akathisia, then the doctor will adjust the patient’s dosage or medication type.
    • It’s recommended that if a patient seems to be experiencing akathisia symptoms that their doctor first checks for a recent introduction of a new medication or an increase in the dose of drugs being used.
    • Drug-induced akathisia can be confirmed if the patient stops taking their medication and then immediately feels better.


  • Is akathisia reversible?Yes, it usually is with treatment and should decrease within several months.

    But one problem is that many people experiencing akathisia do not report their symptoms to their doctor.

    For example, the same American Journal of Psychiatry report mentioned above found that 75 percent of cancer patients with akathisia stated they would not have reported their symptoms to their medical provider had they not been involved in the study.

    The reason that akathisia may go unmentioned is that patients seem to have a hard time recognizing and explaining how they feel, especially if they have a mental illness, are battling a chronic health condition, or are recovering from surgery, illness, or trauma.

    In these situations, the patient might think it’s normal to feel very anxious, restless, and uneasy.

4 Ways to Help Manage Akathisia 

  • Speak with your physician about all drugs you currently use, particularly any medication you lately started or suspect will be contributing to an issue.
  • Should you notice any signs of akathisia, particularly depression or suicidal ideas, do not hesitate to find assistance.
  • Any offending medication ought to be stopped or decreased whenever possible.
  • But it is ideal to be tracked in the procedure to stop abrupt side effects related to quitting your medicine.
  • If a specific medication you are taking can’t be stopped, or your symptoms persist after making dose changes, your physician might describe different drugs to assist.
  • The purpose is to utilize these drugs to help control blood pressure, decrease akathisia symptoms, and limit side effects which other mood-altering drugs often induce.
  • To help prevent or handle mood-related ailments that will increase your risk for akathisia, particularly nervousness and melancholy, try these herbal remedies:
  • Meet with a counselor or physician who gives cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT). CBT helps identify and change troubling ideas that could result in destructive behaviors. Various studies have demonstrated that treatment and behavioral interventions can help reduce risk factors for akathisia and symptoms when they have begun. It’s possible to find the most out of treatment by staying open-minded to tips from the therapist, being honest and open about your own feelings, maintaining a journal about your own emotions, and gaining support from loved ones and friends (maybe even adding them in treatment sessions).
  • Exercise regularly, particularly outside. Consider taking a walk outside daily, whatever the weather or time of the season, to remain in contact with nature, the seasons, and the elements around you. Aim to perform 30–90 minutes each day of any exercise you like to enhance your mood, obviously.
  • Get sufficient sleep and start time on your day to unwind and rest.
  • Make time for relaxation and play by maintaining up with hobbies that boost enjoyment.
  • Eat a Wholesome diet. Your daily diet may greatly affect hormone production, neurotransmitter functions, vitality, and other procedures that affect your general mood. Some of the top foods for combating anxiety, melancholy, and inflammation include healthy fats (such as raw, raw milk, and sweetmeats), protein meals (cage-free eggs, wild fish, grass-fed meat, and pasture-raised poultry), vegetables and berry, high foods (seeds and nuts, like flax, chia, berry and pumpkin seeds, historical grains and beans/legumes).
  • Join a support team or group therapy course to connect with different folks going through precisely the same thing and get valuable advice from other people who have recovered.
  • Do not use recreational drugs, such as alcohol or cocaine, or misuse prescription medications. Get support from a counselor or therapist when you’ve got a drug/substance abuse issue.
  • Require omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil, which might help lower depression inflammation and symptoms. Practice Stress Control

Prevention is the very best akathisia natural remedy there is.

Not having to take any insecure drugs in the first place is your perfect approach to prevent adverse consequences.

This may not necessarily be within your hands. However, you can reduce the likelihood you’ll want to take mood-altering medication by taking actions to control stress in your lifetime.

Some stress-relieving practices Which May help include:

  • Make it a priority to get sufficient sleep and rest every night, about seven to eight hours. Should you find it really hard to sleep due to anxiety or anxiety, consider utilizing natural sleep aids such as taking a calcium supplement, journaling or reading, exercising throughout the day, and utilizing essential oils like lavender bergamot, ylang-ylang, and chamomile. Essential oils may be utilized in the shower, inhaled/used for aromatherapy, or put on the skin as a means of bringing on comfort and reducing muscle strain.
  • Take organic plant-based adaptogenic herbs, such as ginseng, sacred basil, ashwagandha, and Rhodiola, which help control your body’s stress reaction, lower cortisol, enhance energy/focus, and balance hormones in a variety of manners. Kava is obviously valuable for combating anxiety.
  • Keep yourself calm and calm throughout the day by developing a daily planner to help handle anxiety.
  • Attempt stretching, meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises.
  • Have a rest if you are feeling overwhelmed or exhausted.

Below Are a Few Tips that can help deal with akathisia symptoms such as nausea, reduction of desire, restlessness, or muscular spasms:

  • Require a vitamin B6 nutritional supplement. When taken in large doses, vitamin B6 can help naturally alleviate akathisia symptoms due to how it affects neurotransmitter systems. 1 clinical study found that if adults with severe akathisia were treated with 600 mg daily of vitamin B6, they revealed substantial progress in subjective-awareness of restlessness and distress compared with a placebo group.
  • Require a magnesium supplement to help make you more glowing and decrease twitching or other ailments much like those due to restless leg syndrome.
  • Be certain that you aren’t deficient in a vitamin or vitamin D. Eat Spicy foods and get exposure to the sun outside to improve your vitamin D levels.
  • Get new air by walking outside and maintaining an open. Attempt to keep your house cool, clean, and organized.
  • Make sure that your bedroom is cool and dark so that you get can quality sleep.
  • Eat normal meals and do not skip meals, which may cause more nervousness. Drink fluids during the day to avoid dehydration.


If you have already been diagnosed with akathisia, teach yourself the status and also know about all symptoms it might cause. Hence, it’s possible to report future episodes to your physician straight away.

If you have experienced it once, there’s a greater chance you will encounter similar issues later on.

Start new drugs slowly, talk about symptoms you are experiencing with your physician, and do not be timid about asking for assistance if you want it.

Key Points About Akathisia

  • Akathisia is a sort of movement disorder comprising”difficulty staying and a subjective sense of restlessness.”
  • It’s a side effect occasionally experienced by individuals prescribed antipsychotic, antiemetic, or antidepressant medications. It may also result from other drugs, chemotherapy, Parkinson’s disease, withdrawal, medication usage, and injury to the head/brain.

Symptoms may include stress, pacing, repetitive motions, anger and anger, unusual behaviors, difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, and depression.

7 Natural Choices to Help Manage Akathisia

  • Shifting your drugs or medication dosage
  • Managing melancholy and/or stress with treatment
  • Eating a Nutritious Diet
  • Exercising
  • Taking nutritional supplements such as iron and vitamin B6
  • Sleeping sufficient
  • Handling anxiety in different manners like meditation, yoga, a support team, essential oils, and herbs, etc


American Journal of Psychiatry