What Is Psychomotor Hyperactivity?


Psychomotor hyperactivity is a condition signified by feelings of extreme restlessness accompanied by an increase in motor activity including muscle spasms, tremors and twitching. In addition, patients may engage in other restless activity such as pacing, crossing and uncrossing the legs and other nervous activity.


Psychomotor hyperactivity is also known as akathisia, psychomotor restlessness, psychomotor agitation and psychomotor excitement.


Psychomotor hyperactivity is an outward physical manifestation of various internal conditions ranging from diseases to adverse reactions by the nervous system to toxins within the body or drug side effects.


Various medical conditions can result in psychomotor hyperactivity, including hyperthyroidism, anxiety, sleep deprivation, certain forms of depression and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. The condition can also result from lead poisoning or puberty.


Diagnosing psychomotor hyperactivity is difficult. Physicians must rely on their interviews with the patient, as well as actual observation of the motor activity. Using tools such as the Barnes akathisia scale, this disorder can be diagnosed by experienced doctors, but even the best tools used in the diagnosis of psychomotor hyperactivity rely to a large extent on the subjective analysis of the physicians who use them.


A number of therapies are used in the treatment of psychomotor hyperactivity. Subcutaneous infusions, injections into the afflicted muscles and an assortment of drug-based therapies have proved effective in reducing tremors and calming the muscles. Therapeutic touch has also shown some success in diminishing the effects of the condition.

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