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Psychomotor agitation
Classification and external resources
ICD-9 308.2
MeSH D011595

Psychomotor agitation is a series of unintentional and purposeless motions that stem from mental tension and anxiety of an individual. This includes pacing around a room, wringing one's hands, pulling off clothing and putting it back on and other similar actions. In more severe cases, the motions may become harmful to the individual, such as ripping, tearing or chewing at the skin around one's fingernails or lips to the point of bleeding. Psychomotor agitation is a symptom typically found in major depressive disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder, and sometimes the manic phase in bipolar disorder, although it can also be a result of an excess intake of stimulants. The middle aged and the elderly are more at risk to express this condition.

Agitation is an obligated depressive symptom. Of their stamping it reaches from internal restlessness (subclinical agitation) to psychomotor restlessness (agitated depression). With suspicion on a light or moderately depressive disorder should be always asked for internal restlessness to secure the diagnosis. [1]

Some worldwide scientific studies have shown that music therapy may be useful in helping agitated patients. [2][3]


  1. ^ H.-P.Haack: Subclinical Agitation
  2. ^ Remington, Ruth, "Calming Music and Hand Massage With Agitated Elderly", Nursing Research 51(5): 317-323, September/October 2002.
  3. ^ Tuet, R.W.K.; Lam, L.C.W. (September 2006) "A preliminary study of the effects of music therapy on agitation in Chinese patients with dementia", Hong Kong Journal of Psychiatry, Volume 16, Number 3


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