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Akathisia and Head and Body Rocking in Schizophrenia

Edward C. Lauterbach, MD
JAMA. 1987;257(15):2033-2034. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390150049023.
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To the Editor.—  The Dec 26,1986, issue of JAMA contained a question on head and body rocking in schizophrenia.1 The answer2 took into account movements associated with schizophrenia and a variety of movement disorders. Dystonia was considered but judged to be as unlikely as the other movement disorders listed in the response. Although I agree with Dr Weiden's conclusions, it is also true that rocking may be used to relieve painful dystonic contractions. One other disorder that should be considered is akathisia, or restlessness. Akathisia can be manifested clinically by pacing, frequent shifting of body position, or overt rocking behavior in an effort to relieve the often-accompanying subjective sensation of restlessness. Akathisia can occur in association with central lesions (eg, basal ganglia pathology)3 and dominantly inherited restless legs syndrome4 or as a sequel to neuroleptic use in four possible different subtypes occurring on either an acute


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