Akathisia masked by hypokinesia

Pharmacopsychiatry. 2000 Jul;33(4):147-9. doi: 10.1055/s-2000-11294.


Here, we will discuss the concept of subjective akathisia and present a patient case. Our patient was suffering from neuroleptic-induced hypokinesia and akathisia at the same time. The typical motor manifestations of akathisia were masked by hypokinesia, which made the diagnosis difficult. However, the subjective symptoms of akathisia were evident and distressing. Although not observable to bare eye, the pathognomonic pattern of motor activity detected in akathisia was demonstrated by actometric recording. Changing the conventional neuroleptic to an atypical one brought relief to the subjective symptoms of akathisia and hypokinesia, while the motor activity was clearly diminished in actometric recording. Actometric recording may be useful in diagnosing akathisia masked by hypokinesia, but the typical subjective symptoms of akathisia should not be ignored, even when actometry is not available to demonstrate the missing motor component of akathisia. Not only akathisia defined by DSM-IV but also subjective akathisia should be adequately treated to relieve the subjective distress, and to diminish the unfavorable effects on psychotic symptoms, behavior, and drug compliance.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Akathisia, Drug-Induced / complications*
  • Akathisia, Drug-Induced / diagnosis*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Anxiety Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Clopenthixol / adverse effects*
  • Diazepam / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypokinesia / chemically induced*
  • Hypokinesia / complications*
  • Motor Activity


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Clopenthixol
  • Diazepam