Akathisia Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment

Akathisia Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment

Akathisia is a form of extrapyramidal symptoms (a part of the brain that regulates movement).


Akathisia is a form of extrapyramidal symptoms (a part of the brain’s nerves that regulate movement), which is characterized by restlessness and restlessness. The word akathisia comes from the Greek, namely akathemi which means unable to sit still.

Most cases of akathisia are a side effect of taking antipsychotic drugs used to treat schizophrenia and several other mental disorders.

Based on the duration of occurrence, akathisia consists of three types, namely:

Acute akathisia, akathisia that occurs immediately after a person takes anti-psychotic drugs, but the symptoms last for less than six months.
Chronic akathisia is akathisia that lasts for more than six months.
Tardive akathisia, which is akathisia that continues even though the sufferer is no longer taking antipsychotic drugs.


The mechanism of akathisia has not been fully explained medically. However, it is known that the occurrence of akathisia is associated with side effects of antipsychotic drugs.

In general, there are two main types of antipsychotic drugs, namely older antipsychotics (often called typical antipsychotics) and newer antipsychotics (often called atypical antipsychotics).

Older generations of anti-psychotics are known to be more prone to akathisia than newer generations. Examples of older antipsychotics are chlorpromazine and haloperidol. However, some newer antipsychotics (eg risperidone, olanzapine, and quetiapine ) can also cause akathisia, although the risk is less.

However, that does not mean that everyone who takes anti-psychotic drugs will experience akathisia. The risk of akathisia is especially experienced by those who take anti-psychotics with the following conditions:

1. 40 years and over
2. Taking high doses of anti-psychotic drugs
3. Get an increased dose of anti-psychotic quickly
4. People who have a brain disorder such as Parkinson’s, a history of head injury, or inflammation of the brain (encephalitis)


At the initial examination to determine the diagnosis of akathisia, the doctor will conduct a complete interview regarding the symptoms experienced and the drugs that have been consumed so far. Then during the examination, the doctor will also observe the movements made by the patient during the examination.

If necessary, blood tests are also sometimes done to ensure that the patient’s complaints are not caused by other diseases.


People with akathisia are always restless and always move all the time. They realized that he was constantly moving. They wanted to stop these movements, but could not.

In addition to doing repetitive movements, usually, people with akathisia tend to look anxious and irritable for no apparent reason.

Symptoms of akathisia are sometimes difficult to distinguish from other extrapyramidal disorders, namely tardive dyskinesia. Both akathisia and tardive dyskinesia have symptoms of involuntary movements all the time. But the thing that distinguishes it is the dominant body part moves.

In akathisia, the limbs and feet are moving. Whereas in tardive dyskinesia, the face and arm areas are more likely to move.

In addition, people with akathisia usually notice that their body parts move but cannot control them. Meanwhile, people with tardive dyskinesia are generally not aware that there are parts of their bodies that are moving uncontrollably.

The movements performed by people with akathisia can take various forms, but the most common are:

1. Tapping the floor feet repeatedly
2. Move your body back and forth when standing or sitting
3. Walk in place
4. Crossing legs alternately (right leg over left leg, then left leg over right leg) while sitting
5. Walking around without a clear purpose


In the treatment of akathisia, the first and foremost thing to do is to know the drug that causes akathisia. As much as possible, the drug will be dosed down slowly, while changing the drug to another drug that is less likely to cause akathisia.

In addition, doctors will generally give benzodiazepine drugs to relieve anxiety experienced, as well as drugs to lower blood pressure. Blood pressure-lowering drugs in this condition are given to relieve the symptoms experienced by the sufferer.


Akathisia cannot be completely prevented. However, to minimize the possibility of experiencing akathisia, those who take antipsychotic drugs are advised to consult a doctor to change the dose or type of drug.

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