Psychomotor Agitation

Psychomotor agitation refers to a state of excessive and purposeless physical activity often accompanied by mental distress and an inability to relax.


Psychomotor agitation is a clinical term used to describe a set of symptoms characterized by increased motor activity, restlessness, and inner tension.


The key symptoms of psychomotor agitation include:

  • Increased Motor Activity: Individuals experiencing psychomotor agitation may display excessive pacing, hand wringing, fidgeting, or purposeless movement.
  • Restlessness: There is a persistent urge to be in constant motion and an inability to sit still or relax.
  • Inner Tension: Individuals often describe feeling mentally and physically on edge, restless, and uneasy, accompanied by a sense of impending doom or extreme irritability.

Possible Causes

Psychomotor agitation can arise from various underlying causes, including:

  • Mental Health Disorders: Conditions such as bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and schizophrenia can be associated with psychomotor agitation.
  • Substance Abuse: Stimulant medications, illicit drugs, or withdrawal from certain substances can induce agitation as a side effect.
  • Medical Conditions: Neurological disorders, hyperthyroidism, or physical pain can contribute to psychomotor agitation.
  • Medication Side Effects: Certain medications, particularly those affecting the central nervous system, may trigger psychomotor agitation as an adverse reaction.


Treating psychomotor agitation involves addressing the underlying cause while managing the distressing symptoms. Approaches may include:

  • Medication to alleviate agitation, such as benzodiazepines or antipsychotics.
  • Psychotherapy to address any mental health concerns contributing to the agitation.
  • Lifestyle modifications, including stress reduction techniques, regular exercise, and maintaining a balanced routine.
  • Supportive care to provide a calming environment and minimize triggers that exacerbate agitation.

It is important to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan tailored to individual needs.