Bipolar Symptoms: Psychomotor Agitation

May 9, 2013 Natasha Tracy

A reader recently contacted me and asked me about psychomotor agitation. Psychomotor agitation is actually a symptom of bipolar hypomania and bipolar mania (and depression) and yet few people know what this means. In fact, according to this study, it is poorly defined and measured even within the medical community. Psychomotor agitation is often translated into “restlessness,” which doesn’t seem overly descriptive to me.

So here’s my take on psychomotor agitation: how it feels and what we know about it.

Definition of Psychomotor Agitation

Wikipedia defines psychomotor agitation as:

. . . 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.

I would not consider this to be the best definition, however. While unintentional and purposeless motion may come as a result of psychomotor agitation, they, alone, do not define the condition.

A slightly better definition comes from Reference.MD:

A feeling of restlessness associated with increased motor activity. This may occur as a manifestation of nervous system drug toxicity or other conditions.

In other words psychomotor agitation is the feeling of restlessness (and inner tension) associated with muscle activity.

However, this is contradicted by one study in which psychomotor agitation was considered present if:

. . . fidgeting, pacing, handwringing, and/or other purposeless movements were evident nearly every day for at least a 2-week period leading up to the assessment. PMA [psychomotor agitation]-related behaviors had to be noticed by others and/or directly observable during the interview.

So in this case, the inner feelings seem not to be taken into account.

(Psychomotor agitation, by the way, has been correlated with substance abuse as well as bipolar disorder. Additionally, some feel that psychomotor agitation with depression is a key marker of a depressive mixed state.)

The Problem with Psychomotor Agitation

Certainly the repetitive, unintentional, purposeless movements associated with this condition are an issue, but what I think bothers people most is the inner feeling associated with it. It’s the drive to make the purposeless movements that makes this symptom intolerable. It’s the inner feeling of restlessness, tension and anxiety that really makes people hate this symptom.

It’s very difficult to describe tension that is so extreme that it forces movement, but this is what happens. It’s more than bugs crawling under your skin that you wish to scratch out with your fingernails. It’s like under-skin crawling bugs that are so agitating that they require arm flailing in an (unsuccessful) attempt to rid yourself of the feeling.

Treating Psychomotor Agitation

As far as I can tell, there are no generally used treatments for psychomotor agitation unless the situation is very severe or an emergency – such as in the case where the patient endangers themselves or others with their movements. In these cases, opinions vary on what to do but non-pharmacological interventions seem preferred.

If I had to advise someone on what to do about psychomotor agitation what I would suggest is the same kind of techniques that are advised for anxiety such as yoga, meditation and other relaxation techniques. But that’s just me.

What I suspect is more common is that psychomotor agitation is reduced when the medication for bipolar disorder (or depression) takes effect.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter or at the Bipolar Burble, her blog.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2013, May 9). Bipolar Symptoms: Psychomotor Agitation, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 16 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Natasha is also unveiling a new book, Bipolar Rules! Hacks to Live Successfully with Bipolar Disorder, mid-2024.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleX, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

April, 5 2022 at 11:31 am

I must admit some of the comments seemed a bit odd to me because my experiences have not been pleasant.
For me, it’s almost as though my nervous system is on fire. This of course affects the muscles and skin. Also, movement doesn’t help the feeling very much. I’ve learned it can work me up and I become more agitated. Usually I try to go off somewhere alone and calm down. It doesn’t completely get rid of the feeling, but it helps.
It really is quite a terrible feeling. Last night I was dealing with it and my parrot wouldn’t stop screaming at me for attention. I felt close to pulling my hair out just to distract myself from both. Luckily it passed within an hour or so.
I genuinely think it has something to do with the nervous system though. Perhaps inflammation in the brain?

June, 28 2018 at 7:14 pm

So i read this article and a lot of comments detailing more personal takes on this. I was lead to this through a search trying to figure out if these types of tweaks/twitches I have were perhaps a symptoms of high functioning autism or something. But in finding this article, having been diagnosed as bipolar, and being high on weed a lot, it made sense that this would apply to me. However, it seems like most of you almost experince it negatively? And in a more random way than me. Is it possible for this to feel nice? Joyful even. For me, it'd always the exact same motions, it's usually due to a burst of overwhelming excitement that manifests in a physical reaction--usually to have my hands fly to my face where i usually tap my fingertips gently but excitedly on my forehead, my face contorted in an extreme look of joy. In that moment, I usually hold my breath and it feels uncontrollable but I also somehow know to never do it in front of anyone....?/I ususlly only get high alone. But can't remember doing it around others when high either. It feels almost like orgasms diiiistant cousin, the very quick, satisfying release of abundant joy. Any ideas if this is the same thing or something else?

April, 24 2019 at 1:21 am

Same, I was looking up ticks about myself and mine is a restless feeling that I MUST shake some feeling out of my body, my neck bends to one side, my eyes roll back and it feels like release if I let it out but torture to hold it in. So yeah I could see it as orgasms cousin.

June, 26 2018 at 1:51 am

My husband has bipolar disorder and has lived with the diagnosis and all of its troubling symptoms for over 20 years now. It's been our experience that psychomotor agitation is directly related to psychiatric medications. For him specifically it is a side effect of antidepressants. It is also accompanied by a tremor. A decreased dosage usually alleviates the problem. Other psychiatric meds have just as debilitating side effects. Antipsychotics for instance give him such a severe case of akathisia that he literally can't sit still for more than 30 seconds. Everyone is different, thus side effects are different for every drug as well. Different drugs within the same class will also emit different side effects. He lived with psychomotor agitation and debilitating tremors for 20 years because he didn't believe he had a choice. It was either take the meds or risk an episode resulting in hospitalization. He no longer suffers because he now has a psychiatrist who listens and is willing to work with him to find the right combination of medications at the right dosage for him. He was a victim of his condition for too long believing that he had no control. With a collaborative Doctor he now understands he doesn't have to suffer and still maintain control of this disorder. There are options out there. It's finding the right one for you!

April, 17 2018 at 8:43 pm

i know this!! Beat and scratch my face leave bruises and bleeding. Scary. My best bet is get alone. Be quiet find a cool spot. outlast it. I take temazepam and it helps even me out.

April, 8 2018 at 8:24 pm

What is the difference between psychomotor agitation and akathesia?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natasha Tracy
April, 9 2018 at 1:41 pm

Hi Paula,
This is a great question and I wish a doctor would answer it for you (and me). It seems that akathisia is seen in the side effect world while psychomotor agitation is seen in the symptom world so the difference may simply be that one is intrinsic to a disease while the other is a side effect because the definitions for both are extremely similar.
- Natasha Tracy

April, 7 2018 at 9:08 am

I think a recent steroid shot for allergies has keyed this up. I not only feel antsy in mainly my right arm with movement, but I have the urge to and DO hit myself in the mouth sometimes, as my own chewing noises agitate me. The arm thing started back in my teens, and urge to hit myself in the face or jaw. My dad took me to see our family dr., but he had no clue. I am 70 now. I had been doing fine, but I tend to wonder if that steroid shot with Depo-Medrol 80mg and Kenalog 40mg. in the shot could possibly have got me messed up again. Nothing sure on that however. The more still I can keep my arms, the better I feel. Sleep has been not deep, but there.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natasha Tracy
April, 8 2018 at 7:12 am

Hi Tony,
I can't say what is happening for you, specifically, but I can say that steroids _can_ affect your mental health. If you are hurting yourself or are too distressed, you should definitely contact a doctor as he or she likely can help.
- Natasha Tracy

Sam k
September, 1 2017 at 12:35 pm

I don't have a diagnosis but have been doing this since I was a teen. I pace all over the house every day and think this is a symptom of hypomania (have done this for years and to me it seems like impulsive and symptomatic behaviour). I might be sitting at the table having a meal and get up suddenly , walk into the next room, pace around and then sit back down at the table. I make unnecessary trips like this which lead to nowhere , all day long. I usually feel agitated, angry, enraged or giddy and experience fleeting thoughts and feel the urge to move. I usually pace when I am speaking and acting out my thoughts. I will talk , laugh, cry, argue, shout, swear all by myself when in this state.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Susan Green
September, 10 2017 at 2:25 pm

Sam, you could be describing my son right there. He is diagnosed autism, OCD. And we have found nothing to help. It is beyond frustrating for him. Just wondering how you deal with it.

August, 31 2017 at 9:50 am

Yoga or meditation to ease psychomotor agitation? I'd curse both to Hell! The only thing that gives me relief is Ativan (lorazepam). I always went crazy this morning suffering in extreme with agitation. I'd be just as able to meditate or do yoga as to punch holes in animal crackers.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 5 2017 at 9:36 pm

Yes its so hard to stop that inner restlessness i couldnt go to a class if i tried. Anyone found anything to calm it down, wakes me daily inner tension.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natasha Tracy
November, 6 2017 at 7:48 am

Hi Ann,
I'm not sure if you've tried medication, but some can help with this issue.
- Natasha Tracy

June, 11 2017 at 12:29 pm

My son was diagnosed with Bipolar and recently I saw him and he seemed quite agitated. How do you know if he is taking his meds

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natasha Tracy
June, 12 2017 at 9:09 am

Hi Susan,
I'm sorry, there is no easy way to tell that. The only way people typically know is if they know the person intimately both before and after medication. The only way to know for sure is to ask.
- Natasha Tracy

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 13 2017 at 3:52 pm

I have been living with bipolar disorder unmedicated for more than 10 years with no relapses. It's taken me time to learn my triggers and how to handle them. I tried medications but unfortunately none helped but made my symptoms worse. I exercise regularly and can not have caffeine everyday. I pay attention to how I feel, and know whether or not from that if I can have some chips or eat something healthier. Meditation music on YouTube has helped, along with finding time for hobbies. Best thing my parents did for me is that they never gave up on me. If you would like to ask me about my personal experience and how I made it by this far, please don't hesitate to ask. I still use counseling till this day. If your child doesn't connect with the counselor it will be hard for them to help. He/she needs to know their counselor has their best interest. I see a psychologist because they do not worry about medicating, they try their best to find solutions and only medicate if needed. My personal experience with a psychiatrist didn't help as I felt like a guinea pig with all the new medications they prescribed as one by one they didn't work. I don't know your child's situation or how severe it is but here are some things which can have negative effects for bipolar. Drinking, caffeine, an unhealthy diet, bad influences(bad friends), feeling alone and not having support, unhealthy romantic relationships, trying to accomplish too much(time management helps) , not enough sleep, etc. Encourage your child to do their own research on it, and try to show how it is ok how they are. We are all wired a different way and there's no shame in being bipolar. To their advantage the more they know about bipolar, the more they can help themselves. Be weary of how bipolar disorder is discribed , not all is true for each individual. Please be supportive, it hurts to only be seen by a label and not as the person they are. I wish you the best, search for alternatives if the medicine isn't working. I have had side effects from talking too much, becoming suicidal, and feeling like a zombie with different meds. If they are not taking it, it may be because they want to feel alive and not numbed by meds. I was once told I would be medicated for life, thanks to my parents I'm not. They helped me find a way to live better without them. I don't know if this is true for you, but thought it would be good to share.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Wayne A. Woodward
August, 15 2017 at 9:45 am

It's amazing that you can control that beast. That is huge as most of us are crippled by it's intensity. Keep at what you are doing and g od bless you from Colorado Springs.

April, 12 2017 at 11:14 am

My symptoms have been so severe, the psychomotor agitation, screaming in my head, general unrest, I feel like I'm going out of my mind. I just want it to stop. It's been a count down to my pdoc: tomorrow finally! It's like my pmeds just aren't working anymore. And no, I don't take other drugs and don't drink.

March, 27 2017 at 4:50 pm

Spring sprang early this year and I feel I'm so agitated and about to come undone. Thank God I am not flailing physically. There's something to be thankful for. But the way I'm feeling mentally is horrid. It feels like I'm on the edge of full blown, take-me-to-the-hospital now. I tried to get off of 50mg of Seroquel and change to Latuda. After not sleeping well for three weeks, we went back to Seroquel. I'm sleeping 10 hours a night, but during the day I begin to have this severe psychomotor agitation until I take the med again at 6:30 p.m. when it begins to subside. Do I need to go up in dose or wait this out. Desperate. Thanks for any comments.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 16 2017 at 8:02 am

Super late to the game, but Seroquel did that to me also! It's brutal!! I would switch meds asap and take a sleep aid to start which you can wean yourself off of later. Insomnia can be treated easily; psychomotor agitation less so.

February, 21 2017 at 7:30 am

The symptoms you describe, i.e., internal agitation and restlelessness bear the hallmarks of akasthisia - a drug-induced condition which is notoriously difficult to treat. This condition is caused by antipsychotics and a whole range of psychotropic medications. Even a change in dose and/or a change in medication can induce it. Confusing akasthisia with bipolar is common.

January, 10 2017 at 8:48 am

I have been looking for answers to this as well. I started getting these what I called twitches in September of 2015. It started with a stomp to the floor and the occasional arm jumping. I saw a GP for it and she decided to put me on Anti-Depressants to try and help. I went through a really stressful time with my PTSD brother who came to live with us in February. I somehow took on his stress from his anger and delusions etc. I knew nothing about mental health issues and was ignorant like the rest of the masses. During his being here, my jumping got alot worse, I could not find relief from it. I started not sleeping very well and then my judgement got foggy, and I felt so energized. I was talking weird, and using words I had picked up from my brother during his delusions. I somehow started taking them on as my own. I had never heard of the word "Muggle" but now felt like it applied to everyone around me who I deemed inferior. I insulted my boss, and a girl claimed I sexually harassed her. I don't think I did, but who's to know...I lost alot of memory chunks during all this. Ultimately this issue with acting out of my head, jumping around twitching like a madman got me fired from a well paying job that cost the wife and I our house. I finally went to the doctor who referred me to a psychiatrist. I was not seen at first, it took months to get me in...once in they saw me, and said right away I was BiPolar1. Now, I went my whole life, 38 years worth of never being manic. I had been through depression like a MOFO at a time or two in life. I got my diagnosis and I got meds. However the jumps and tics seem to come just a frequent as before mania took over. I have been out of mania since August or so of 2016. I sometimes feel the jumps coming, but it is rare. However even knowing its coming offers little to help, the jump just comes out elsewhere. I am tired of feeling like a fool in public. I stomp my feet, my arms might flail around. Sometimes it even creates a speech like tic. I will utter some nonsense in those times, just like 2 syllables. I have never been a big drinker, or drug user except this year during mania, but this was happening before that. Any suggestions on where to research more, offer advice etc? My therapist says she thinks the meds will fix it, but never says or seems to know anything about what drives it. I do know if I am suddenly upset or have a bad thought, remembering this past year for example makes me jump.
Before anyone asks, I take:
Depakote 1000mg
Lamictal 200mg.

January, 7 2017 at 12:47 pm

Hi, I get this at least once a year.
I have not been diagnosed with bipolar, more like bpd/eupd with bipolar traits... I had no idea this was part of bipolar, I've been like this for years :/
Is this symptom specific to bipolar? Or could it be related to something else?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natasha Tracy
January, 9 2017 at 4:41 am

Hi Karla,
I would suggest that getting this on a yearly basis is likely not part of bipolar, but you need to contact a healthcare professional to make sure.
- Natasha Tracy

October, 30 2016 at 4:22 am

Chantilly what meds were you taking?

August, 24 2016 at 2:35 pm

Hi, I was diagnosed with bipolar when I was a teen. They said my bipolar was the kind where your moods change very quickly. I was on medication til I was 19 and then I went cold turkey. I hated the way it made me feel. I felt like I had no personality kind of like a zombie. My mom was there for me while I was cold turkey. Everything was fine for a few years but here I am now at the age of 24 and I feel like I'm losing control of myself. I'm having a fit every other day out of irritation and anxiety. I also have OCD but I think that that has gotten out of control too. Everything has to be exact and in its place or I become overwhelmed with frustration and I start scratching my skin and pulling my eyelashes and hair from my scalp. I never used to be like this before during and after my use of bipolar meds. I'm honestly worried about myself and what's happening to me. Can somebody please help me understand what is going on? I've thought about yoga because people say it helps calm the inner body and thoughts. But I def don't want to go on bipolar meds again if I can avoid it.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 13 2017 at 4:13 pm

Dear Chanchilly, I hope you are well these days and don't worry you were not crazy. It is normal to get stressed in our everyday lives, the key is to finding solutions that can help ease your stress or whatever it may be that it is that is causing you to feel anxious, etc. There was a time when I allowed my emotions to build up too much and I scratched my scalp too, I have stopped since though. On a note wet hair can create bumps on the scalp and it's good to blowdry when bumps appear too much. Try to find something healthy that relieves your stress, many can suggest options but within your own interests whether it be music, dancing, working, etc. You can find the key in what helps aid your stress. Decluttering your mind can help. If there are wondering thoughts that have no purpose and only cause you pain, it is good to find a way to let go of them. Mindfulness can help. It is a practice of living in the present and not worrying about the past which can hold you back and not thinking too far in the future where it takes you away from enjoying living now. I'm beginning my journey with this new technique but I know it has already helped. If you'd like more info on what I do to help myself with my bipolar disorder, please message me here. I've been living with bipolar disorder since I was 17, and am 34 now. I have been unmedicated for more than 10 years. I stopped counting after my 10 year mark.

April, 16 2016 at 1:38 pm

I've never been diagnosed with any full fledged disorder. At my last evaluation i lied to the therapist ALOT and they said i have an adjustment disorder or something of that nature. But sometimes when my emotions become so extreme that i have these fits. It may be sadness one day or rage the next. But the rage is the scariest part. I get this feeling in the bottom of my stomach like someone set a fire and my whole body gets hot and i just snap. I punched a hole in my wall last week and i can't even remember why i was so mad. I'll be laying down relaxing and just feel a wave of rage come over me. I just don't know what to do.

April, 13 2016 at 5:18 pm

hello, i have bipolar was diagnosed as a young teen, I find i am having a difficult time with the symptoms as of recently. i frequently swing between fits of uncontrolled rage and agitation to feelings of dread and not wanting to get out of bed and see light of day. I think the worst is the i dont care about anything faze for me though. as far as his recent blog, i typed in sypmtoms i was having that i hadnt been having before. The itchy feeling like something is biting me all over my body, restlessness my arms and legs just kicking and flailing out mostly at night when i am trying to lay down, for the last 2 weeks i have gotten an hour or 2 sleep a night and find i am so exhausted i can barely move sometimes. Thank you for putting a name to my most recent issue, hopefull with the Doctors help i can get it managable, i am already taking so many different meds to treat my bipolar i really hate adding more but even my eye wont stop twitching.

March, 28 2016 at 1:20 pm

I have this sort of static electrical field that moves around and through me all the time and I can feel it almost as if it is slightly ticklish. It is overwhelming, it feels like I am barely keeping my cells from rapidly expanding away from each other. At the same time, there are two voices in my head that are both me, having a conversation with each other all the time, constant back and forth banter. I mostly hear
(feel) it in a muffled sort of way. It is so distracting that I have to hear or see other things over and over again to get the whole message. I liken it to having the preverbal angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other, except neither is good or evil, just opposite. Like a constant debate that has no particular subject matter and never ends until I am asleep. I take medication for depression and am now weening off one and onto another because my doctor feels I have been on this one medication too long. Every time I go through a dosage change / adjustment, or a change of drug, I go through this up and down rollercoaster ride until it stabilizes again. Usually about three months or so of absolute torture. I am not violent, or particularly sad, but I am so empathic that I can literally feel what others around me are feeling. I can not tell you how intrusive it is to have to feel not only one other persons emotions but those of everyone who is around you. I often isolate myself to be free of this constantly intrusive emotional onslaught from all around me. I used to be able to be passionate, but now I have to hold back and avoid extreme states of emotion and passion, lest I become a lightening rod or worse a blow torch. I thank you for your insight. I read another comment earlier on this blog. the individual said that he gets relief from going to a swimming pool. I could see how this could be helpful. I will try this method, because the moment I read it I immediately was drawn to the idea. Thanks for your input, medicine has yet to work completely for me, but I do feel exercise and relaxation techniques are helpful in the short term. I just wonder if I will have to be this way until I die. I had no issues at all until I was around 35 or so, then my whole world came apart. I liken it to my personality fracturing. To say the least, nothing I have ever experienced has scared me more than living like this. Bless you all, and I hope you all find peace. Thank you.

March, 12 2016 at 1:40 am

I seriously think Im bipolar the doc keeps saying it anxity but won't send me to b checked

March, 11 2016 at 10:53 am

I struggle with bipolar nos, anxiety, psychomotor agitation, OCD and mixed state. Has anyone had these symptoms listed on this site and worse but could not find a medication that doesn't cause side effects, makes you worse or doesn't work? I have been struggling for 13 years and have found nothing that continually works. I have been struggling everyday for years. Has this happened to anyone else? Where they have struggled everyday for 13 years or more?

January, 12 2016 at 10:13 am

An article from your personal blog "Calming The Cycle Of Anxiety"
has come in quite handy lately. My what if-Ing GAD symptoms tend
to take on a life of their own and have been known to lead to mania
If they are not reined in early...
Changes at work have recently increased my anxiety to
almost unbearable levels then when I came home from a
yoga class today I find a letter slipped under my door from
Corrections Canada warning me of a pedophile that has
recently moved into my building. It's brought up some
old childhood issues for me. I was on the downturn of
a recent manic episode where I was going days on only
3 hours of sleep. Trying to remain stable has been a real

November, 26 2015 at 7:10 pm

FINALLY. I found an article to explain this madness. What happens with me is that I get an urge to tighten my chest and arms, my arms go close to my chest, and I shake for a couple seconds until I can relax and get that urge under control. Usually happens when I'm anxious or mad or have any overwhelming emotion, in general. Only thing is, it was hard to find this article because all you ever see is "uncontrollable muscle movements" and stuff like this isn't as common to find. Thanks for writing this.

September, 26 2015 at 7:09 pm

I've been dealing with psychomotor agitation off and on for over a year now. Finally had my new psychdoc prescribe something. I start taking it tomorrow. For me it has been squirming when sitting still, touching my face, itching in various places on my body alternately, running my fingers through my hair, rubbing my hands on the arm rests of my chair to the point that I have worn holes in them. Jerkingredients movements in my legs and trunk, shrugging my shoulders......all the while feeling restless inside. I can briefly stop these things, if I am concentrating on something, or if I concentrate on stopping. It's worst at night right now, but it has been just as bad regardless of the time. It has brought me to tears so many times. My thoughts are it has to do with the amount of dopamine in my system. Too little and the mentioned symptoms are the result, too much and I'm sedate. I've come to this conclusion because I seem to be treatment resistent on several antipsychotics and the intervals between new medications has brought about circumstances that seem to support my theory. I'm bipolar 1, obsessive compulsive disorder, general anxiety disorder, agoraphobic. My psychdoc recently started new on Saphris sublingual, which for me seems like a wonder drug......however, after every increase I have had a day or two of increased restless leg syndrome marked by pain in my right hip,and an inability to keep my legs still at night, along with leg pain. Also I continue to experience psychomotor agitation off and on. In the last seven days I have experienced psychomotor agitation four of those days, not all concurrently. Sometimes just in the evening, other times in the afternoon and evening. Before my afternoon dose of Saphris, and before my evening dose of Saphris. Again, I have experienced psychomotor agitation before taking Saphris, off and on for over a year, but it has gotten worse. I hope and pray that this new medication my psychdoc prescribed will alleviate these symptoms.

September, 10 2015 at 3:55 pm

As an ED psychiatric evaluator, when I see psycho motor agitation, it always looks more unconscious than intentional. Like a person is so wound up their body has to move, without thought, to release the tension within. I am glad to read this blog and the comments below -- it gives me something more to consider when I evaluate someone.

September, 10 2015 at 3:10 pm

@ David with the "cut glass", eye issues. My bipolar brother goes naked at home fo this reason; takes lithium and dr has given him Neurontin (which does NOT help) However Klonipin does take care of it..........even Xanax didn't do enough.

July, 12 2015 at 10:09 am

i'm diagnosed with ptsd, anxiety, depression and DID. i have symptoms similar to what you describe. should i talk to my psychiatrist? i wear shoes all the time because i rub my feet together and it keeps me awake and drives my sister crazy. also at night i sometimes get so anxious i can't stop moving and inside i feel terrible, like i'm being tortured. and i get pain in my legs. but i don't think i have bi-polar. what do you think?
thank you, jen

June, 25 2015 at 6:35 pm

I've recently been re-diagnosed (God, I used to be so smart but I swear 15 years of SSRIs/SSNRI's have had a cognitive impact on me-I think I meant reclassified) from having depression to tentatively bipolar 2 and I've been dealing with psychomotor agitation and other sensory issues that I had forgotten I had dealt with as a child through my teenage years which, quite frankly, I am surprised I made through. The psychomotor agitation and the sensory issues are the worst. One makes you want out of your own body, almost to the point of making you suicidal (that, a lack of stability -they're still figuring out my meds-& an anxiety attack scared me so much that I spent last Saturday in the ER-unfortunately there are no beds nearby & I'm too high functioning for the way the mental health system is currently set up according to the social worker I spoke to on Sunday-so they sent me on my way with an Rx for Xanax). The other can do the same or make you want to choke a b*tch. I kid, but the snoring of the one lady in the psych group area of the ER pushed me to tears & I had to ask for something for anxiety & when my fiancé & I first got to the ER I had to put on sunglasses & cover my ears bc the brightness & sounds were just too much. I also had to get my hair cut (it was down to about my midback) bc I couldn't stand it touching me anymore & suddenly cotton sheets that always felt soft started to feel like I was sleeping on hay. It was awful. I hope some of this goes away soon bc it has turned me into hell on wheels & I hate the person I am right now.

June, 24 2015 at 9:10 pm

I thought I was the only one who felt this... Sometimes I feel like itching myself but I'm not itchy at all I just don't know how to get rid of this feeling it's unbearable...

June, 9 2015 at 3:38 pm

I see an occupational therapist who specializes in sensory integration disorder. That's when a person can't properly regulate sensory stimuli and goes bat shit over little noises or people moving around them or can't stand being touched or to have their clothing touch them ect... Lisa Benson on here sounds like she has those symptoms. Its not bipolar its sensory overload. Adults are rarely properly diagnosed.

January, 31 2015 at 10:51 am

... in psychomotor agitation I also had anger issues, screamed a lot, broke dishes, ripped up things, etc. Also wrote never ending to do lists. Mentally I was pretty much overwhelmed by everything and had a deep need to do something physically to relieve it. I never realized until now that's why the suicide rate is probably so high among those with bipolar during mixed episodes. I also self harmed

January, 31 2015 at 10:04 am

Wow, I didn't know it had a name. Thanks for the explanation
This is how psycho motor agitation manifested itself in me
Before I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder I was prescribed antidepressants that sent me into a mixed state, highly manic one moment then deeply depressed the next. I felt incredibly anxious, restless, paced alot, couldn't sleep. Burned out relationships with constant need to talk. Felt like a needle struck on a record player, did alot of repetative things like playing with tarot cards non stop 24/7. (I was extremely concerned about my future and looking for answers). Tried all the normal things to calm down meditation tapes, warm bubble baths, avoiding coffee, etc. Nothing worked not even Ativan. The stress on my mind and body was too much and preceed a brief psychotic episode. For me psychomotor agitation is a prodromal warning that something is wrong and I need to get help.

Shannon burch
January, 18 2015 at 3:11 am

The physo motor agitator ou affects me at night which in turn causes my insomnia worse. Please help I am not sleeping.

that guy
December, 26 2014 at 1:06 pm

Well, I am not going to say it's like glass but certainly not comfortable and it's like a straigned muscle, clinching, restless antsy feeling that goes from the small of my back down through my legs and out through my arms. It follows along with a rushed and hurried feeling that usually brings sadness and resentment for all the time lost and coulda woulda shoulda's.

December, 23 2014 at 10:25 am

I was wondering if anyone else has the symptoms I have. Stress causes me to have radiant agitation physically that is hard to describe. It manifest thru the muscles of my legs and arms like electrical shock where I can' stand my pants or boots to touch my skin. It's as if I am being cut by glass. I just want to blow out of my body. When it is real bad my eyes even bother me. I will feel mentally agitated as well. Doctors have been able to do nothing for me. Xanax won't even help. It takes a good while for it to go away. If I don't sleep well which is with a sleep medication I will start the day this way. It's an awful feeling.

October, 15 2014 at 7:28 pm

do you think tosses and turns in bed for an hour or two, is an example of psych motor agitation?

Dana Kuss
October, 12 2014 at 7:12 pm

This is for Jonelle: seroquel has a side effect called akathesia. I get this as well from this med. Taking benadryl (or cogentin) along with drugs in this class will help. If not you should switch meds because that sort of suffering is unbearable. This is a HUGE thing to underline for your readers here: if the agitation is in reaponse to a sensory stimuli already in place, or after taking a medication, this may not be simply psychomotor agitation. This may be a neurological side effect from the med. Psychomotor agitation is found with an mentally agitated state. If you are fine but then feel like you are jumping out of your skin 'after' taking the med, it's akathesia and talk to the doctor.

July, 4 2014 at 5:30 pm

THYROID. There are a lot of studies that link Thyroid dysregulation and bipolar disorder. "Agitation" and also be a lot of energy (and inappropriate times like at night) that you just don't know what to do with. You feel like you want to run a marathon, but can't explain why.

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