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Neurol India. 2003 Jun;51(2):254-6.

Akathisia--diagnostic dilemma and behavioral treatment.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh 160-012, India.


Akathisia, an involuntary movement disorder resulting from exposure to antipsychotics, is characterized by subjective restlessness and a strong desire to move about. The diagnosis is often complicated by the overlapping symptoms of pseudoakathisia, chronic akathisia and tardive dyskinesia. This report deals with a patient with schizophrenia who developed akathisia after exposure to antipsychotics. Later, she developed movements that were more like pseudoakathisia and tardive dyskinesia rather than acute akathisia. On failure of anti-akathisia medication, she was treated with a behavioral regime to which her akathisia responded. This behavioral regime used the technique of distraction as a primary tool. This case report highlights the diagnostic difficulties in akathisia and the application of behavioral treatment for akathisia that is non-responsive to anti-akathisia medication.

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