My Akathisia Experience

*Please note that everything written on this blog is written by a mere concerned citizen, who’s just looking to share what she knows and help link people together, so they may help one another through a trying time. None of the material here should replace medical and/or psychiatric help, where it is needed. If you are in need, please contact a professional immediately. And remember, you are never alone, even when it may feel that way.

I am writing this recount of my experience several years after I went through it. Why? Because Akathisia was one of the most horrifying things I’ve ever lived through, and it’s taken me this long to be willing to relive it on any level. Why am I writing this? Because I think it will help others who are going through the same thing understand they are not alone. In my past I have struggled with anxiety and depression at certain points in my life, but never felt so terrified and alone as I did when I was in the grips of Akathisia.

So here’s my account, to the best of my recollection. I’m sure I will have forgotten some of the awful symptoms I dealt with in that 6 month span of time when it raged, and even the following 6 months when I was somewhere in between stricken and healed..but I will give you all the basics of what I went through.

It started with a couple weeks of nausea. I’m not sure if it was a flu, or stress or what, but I was having chronic, terrible nausea that wouldn’t let up. Eventually I found myself in the ER just looking for some relief and possibly an answer as to why I was feeling so sick.

Of course, as usual in any Western medical setting, they were quick to dismiss the why and go directly to meds. They told me they wanted to give me something to alleviate my suffering, so they hooked me up to an IV and gave me both Compazine and Xanax.

I immediately began feeling weird, but figured it was just the sedative effect of the meds. But quickly realized I was having a really odd reaction. To be fair, I had experienced some of the initial feelings with other meds in the past, but quickly things got out of control and I was off and running into a world of hell and horrible suffering that lasted for more than 6 months.

At first I felt really tired, figured I’d fall asleep a bit and wake up feeling better. I only wish that’s what happened. I got to a certain level of sedation, I couldn’t move or open my eyes, but my mind and body were writhing in misery and a level of agitation I’ve never felt in my life. I was desperate to get up and shake it off, get out of there, rip my skin off and leave the confines of what I was feeling, but I couldn’t.

I just laid there with my entire body feeling like it was cast in stone, mind reeling, shaking violently from the trauma of the drug reaction, but I couldn’t move or talk, other than shaking and moaning. I was in the beginning stages of Akathisia hell. I have no idea how long I laid there in this state. Eventually, I was able to stand up, barely. I couldn’t focus my eyes, could barely talk, but I was just desperate to get out of there. So I tried getting up to get dressed. This is when I collapsed on the floor in violent fits of gagging and dry heaving. No one that worked in that hospital bothered to come see if I was okay. Eventually I composed myself enough to get to the car, I just wanted out of there. I was still very out of it, but I had someone to drive me home.

I was even more nauseated than I was before I went in the hospital, out of it, could barely see or talk, still. Now just to let you know, I had taken Xanax several times in the distant past when I was dealing with panic attacks and general anxiety. So I can tell you, these effects weren’t from that. It was the Compazine. I had not suffered anxiety in well over 10 years before this event and had never reacted like this to anything in my life previously.

I got home and was feeling such a high level of panic and anxiety and overall sickness I was just out of my mind. I tried communicating to my roommate what I was feeling, but I just ended up on the floor in more violent fits of dry heaves.

Eventually I was able to sleep for an hour or two and woke up a little more ‘with it.’ But my vision was still terribly blurry. I remember feeling physically hungry, but I couldn’t eat. I felt more keyed up and crazy than I had ever experienced in my life.

This was the beginning of my year plus struggle to get any sleep, whatsoever. By the next day I knew I wasn’t shaking off the reaction to the meds and something was terribly wrong. My body felt stiff and rigid like nothing I had ever felt before. The core muscles down the center of my body, in my stomach and my neck felt like they were made of cement. That effect ended up lasting for literally months. Also, my vision was blurry on and off for months.

I could sleep only fitful bouts of minutes at a time. For the next 6 months I would only sleep, at most, an hour at a time, averaging literally only one to two hours a night, total. This lasted for 6 months and then the sleep issues lasted at a high level for about a year and a half, though at this point I was able to get two to three hours average a night. To this day I have terrible issues with insomnia, generally only able to sleep three to four hours at a time. This was never an issue for me before Akathisia. So at this point I have resigned to the fact that this is permanent damage from that drug. (I’m actually writing this paper at 4am and I have to be to work at 8am. So there you go.)

The most maddening side effects weren’t even anything I’ve mentioned thus far. The agitation and extreme, chronic panic were the worst of it. I was totally unable to sit still, for six months. I was totally unable to handle the stimulation (physical or mental) of the outside world, driving, talking to others, watching TV, listening to music…I couldn’t handle ANYTHING.

I lost 20 pounds, rapidly. Because I couldn’t stay still long enough to cook, or sit to eat. I couldn’t stand putting food to my mouth at all. I had previously quit smoking, but took it back up again. Smoking was the only thing my body seemed to ‘want.’ I barely slept, I barely ate, I just paced around my small bedroom and smoked. I couldn’t even handle the stimulation of going out to the living room or outside to our little yard. At the time I lived in a very small back house with only one roommate, who was gone much of the time. So, the trip from my bedroom to living room was literally only two steps and our yard was small, but cozy and private and I didn’t have anyone around to upset me or ask anything of me.

It didn’t matter though, I could find comfort nowhere. I was completely terrified all the time and the only place I felt remotely safe or comfortable was within the confines of my bedroom. Now let me digress again here; I have a degree in psychology and a great deal of knowledge about the subject, I was absolutely not suffering simple Agoraphobia. I had suffered a bout of Agoraphobia years earlier and know what that feels like. Totally different. Result is the same, but the feeling was very, very different. Akathisia anxiety is like regular anxiety/panic/agoraphobia 100-fold.

I was quickly to a point where I couldn’t even handle going to the bathroom, which again, was only maybe five steps from my bedroom. So I would go in a little portable potty. I probably don’t need to tell you that admitting this is humiliating, but I think it’s imperative you understand all the ways Akathisia can skew your reality and limit basic functioning. I’m not saying all of these things will happen to everyone who goes through Akathisia, this is just the ways it manifested for me.

When I tried sitting down I would constantly have to jump up and move around or I would use my arms and push myself back, over and over again. It’s hard to describe, it was a very odd feeling, but I was needing to endlessly move and adjust my body, constantly. I began ripping my hair out, literally. I also ripped at my skin. Now let me just tell you, I had no history of any of these behaviors before Akathisia. I didn’t have any history of serious mental illness, other than basic anxiety and a couple bouts of depression. And neither of these had caused anything remotely close to what I was now going through with Akathisia.

Having an extensive background in psychology, I absolutely knew this was a reaction, not my organic state, not simple “mental illness.” I knew too much to think my cheese was slipping off my cracker, but I didn’t know enough to understand what exactly I was going through.

Being an intelligent, curious person and desperately needing answers, I started frantically contacting anyone I could think of for information. I started with calling the hospital that did this to me. I got a young emergency medic on the phone and told him what happened. He told me he has seen this several times with Compazine and told me it would potentially last approximately 3 days to 3 weeks. I only wish he had been right. But he did give me crucial information and that was the word, Akathisia.

So I spent any moments which I could sit still, scouring the internet for information. I quickly found information on Akathisia, as well as, Tardive Dyskinesia. All the information out there purports that one suffers either one or the other, but that wasn’t my experience. I seemed to be suffering Akathisia to a great degree and elements of Tardive Dyskinesia to a milder degree. The most comfort I got was reading posts on askapatient.com. There I found MANY others who had suffered very similar reactions to Compazine. This gave me hope, as many of them recovered after a few days or weeks. However, that wasn’t going to be the case for me.

I found out that all of this is tied to the dopamine-serotonin balance in the brain and finally deduced that those who suffer Akathisia are already a bit off in this balance, that’s why some people can take certain meds with no reaction and others have wild reactions. It all depends on where you are starting from.

So now my focus was to balance out the dopamine-serotonin levels in my brain. I did hours and days and weeks of research on this topic alone. Everything I could find on this I put into one document, which is now my blog.

As I began having lucid moments of potential healing, tiny glimmers of light, I started talking to friends on the phone about my ordeal. None of them believed, or even bothered to try to understand what this thing, Akathisia, was. They ALL thought I was just stressing out. My closest friend told me it was peri-menopause, another told me it was anxiety and I just needed to get perspective. No one, and I mean NO ONE, understood whatsoever what I was going through. I was so frantic still, even after months of this, I talked at a million miles a minute and I know my speech was very incoherent. What’s really scary is, this is years later I sit and write this and even just recalling the whole ordeal is scrambling my brain in a way, as I try to recollect all the nuances of the experience. When I say this is a terrifying and powerful experience, I mean it, to the nth degree.

The only person who gave me any comfort, whatsoever, during all of this was a therapist named Scott. I spoke with him on the phone a few times during the course of my struggle. The one thing he told me that literally kept me alive and hopeful was this – “The body and mind want to heal. The natural state is for the body to rebound back to homeostasis. You will eventually heal.

After months of Akathisia, all I could see was my own death. There’s no sense of DOOM and DARKNESS like what is felt during Akathisia. It’s inexplicable. I knew if I didn’t just die from it, I would kill myself if it didn’t let up. I was so sure I absolutely had to die. Because I could NOT STAND feeling that way “one more minute.” That’s all I ended up saying, over and again, when I talked with people – “I can’t stand feeling this way, not ONE MORE MINUTE!” And I lived at that level of extreme terror and agitation for months and months. I have absolutely no idea how I survived. I do know, now, though, that humans are much more resilient and adaptable than I ever previously thought possible.

Sadly, some people who suffer Akathisia give in to suicide. It’s terrifying, it’s tragic, but it’s the reality of it. I’m nearly positive the ones who give in and give up do so because they see no end in sight. It’s impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you’re in the grips of Akathisia; because the level of suffering is unthinkable and relentless and to top it all off, the positive, hopeful, “feel good” portions of the brain are NOT firing properly, or at all, during Akathisia. This creates a sense of hopelessness and endlessness that’s inexplicable.

So – The main thing for ANYONE who is suffering Akathisia is to KEEP THE HOPE. Understand, even if it takes months, YOU WILL HEAL.

I was absolutely resigned to the fact that I was not going to heal and was going to “have to” kill myself. I needed respite so terribly bad. I thought death was the only way out. But every day, I clung to the research and the words of that therapist and kept plugging along; doing everything I could to boost my “feel good” brain chemistry.

Believe it or not, the turning point for me was once I paid close attention to my diet and endeavored on a total body cleanse. I know in the U.S. we are all taught to believe meds are the final mighty power for all that ails us. But at this point I was so terrified of ANY type of drugs; I simply knew I wouldn’t survive getting one shred worse, so I couldn’t risk taking anything.

I learned that sugar in any form, even fruit or juice made me rebound back to my worst state. So I began eating whole foods, mostly veg. I still didn’t have much of an appetite, even after months of suffering. But when I did eat, I was careful with what I put in my body. I began drinking green juice and taking vitamins. I started forcing myself outside for short walks in the sun, when I could handle it. I began taking salt baths to help detox my body, when I could sit still long enough to soak in it a minute.

All these little healthy habits I started forming began giving me tiny little moments of respite. I may have felt terrified and overwhelmed when I would go walk, but the physical activity would trigger the good brain chemistry and I found myself feeling a sense of hope, just a shred, even if for only 10 minutes, after I came back from the walk. In other words, doing the healthy habits didn’t feel good at the time, but I began noticing the positive side effects here and there. So I kept on that path.

I cannot begin to explain the level of despair and overwhelm that is Akathisia. There’s absolutely no way to begin to understand it unless you’ve been through it. It’s life altering to a great degree. I have helped many others through it since I’ve healed and I have yet to see someone get through it gracefully. Nearly everyone I’ve seen through this is at a high level of suicidality when in the grips of it. One person I was trying to help through it ended up being locked up in mental institutions for a spell (where she only got worst because of the awful conditions, poor treatment and further meds being forced down her throat), because the doctors did not begin to admit to, or try to understand, what she was going through.

Why? Simple. Because Big Pharma has them by the balls. Period. Doling out meds is their bread and butter. Period. I had to advocate for this person from across the country, via phone calls, to help get her released from this mental ward. They considered her non-compliant because she was so restless, agitated and unwilling to take more meds. The scariest thing was this — They seriously had no clue what she was going through!  – Most of the nurses and doctors I spoke with truly had no idea what Akathisia even was!!! They were working daily, in a mental hospital, doling out psych meds by the handfuls and they had NO idea what I was even talking about! I was actually scared we were not going to get her released before she ended up dying. She was at that point, so very sick and the inhospitable surroundings were the straw that broke the camel’s back for her. The doctors were adamant about having her try more and more meds. She almost just gave in, because she was exhausted and so, so sick. But she didn’t and we got her released a couple weeks later.

Only once she got back home did any level of healing begin. It was a painfully slow process and it was nearly impossible convincing her family what she was going through was a real, long term side effect from drugs, and that she would eventually heal, but they stuck by her just enough that she was able to get the time and space to heal. And she did. In her case, she went in for a simple surgery and came out of anesthesia with the Akathisia reaction. (Anesthesia for a surgery is almost always a cocktail of all types of meds and many people encounter Akathisia post surgery because of this.)

Several lose their jobs because of Akathisia. There’s absolutely no “fighting through it,” like one might be able to with other illnesses or diseases. With Akathisia, you are simply down for the count when in the grips of it. Some people, once they get through the initial roughest part, are able to start resuming some level of activity, but they do so with great suffering and misery. It’s only once true healing begins, weeks, maybe months, down the line that you are able to get your head sorted out and begin functioning comfortably again.

In my case, once I became coherent enough to speak to anyone about this and make any shred of sense, the only people open to the reality of a long term drug side effect and empathetic to the suffering that is Akathisia were alternative healing practitioners and that ONE therapist.

Akathisia is hidden from the public, and even physicians, by Big Pharma. They absolutely do NOT want the public knowing the severity of risk associated with their drugs. Insidious, isn’t it?

I’m not paranoid, I’m not a conspiracy theorist, never have been. I’m simply stating the facts. Do your research, or have someone do it for you. But I strongly urge you to GET THE FACTS. Be an informed consumer from this day forward. If you don’t look out for your own safety and well being you may find yourself a statistic. It’s scary, but true. The drug companies run this country. If you don’t protect yourself and find a healthier, more natural way to live, you may end up another one of their victims.

Please, if you, or someone you love, is dealing with Akathisia – Get proactive. I’m not saying it’s your job to fight ‘the system,’ honestly, the drug companies are too powerful to fight. It’s a losing battle. Also, I know when you’re in the grips of Akathisia, you have nothing to give, you don’t have time on your side. All you can, and must, do is get through it and HEAL, so you can reclaim yourself and your life. I just mean you need to get proactive in caring for yourself and being informed as humanely possible. You should be well aware of everything you put in your body and what it will do to you, for better or worse. If you don’t prioritize your own well being, who is going to? Sadly, the vast majority of doctors these days care about your $, not your health. You need to care for you.

 

Akathisia INFO

This blog entry is for people who are wondering what the cause is for their anxious suffering. I have put together this information to educate people who may be suffering from drug-induced Akathisia and the people who care for them. I believe strongly with as many prescriptions that are written these days for psychotropic medication (antidepressants, antipsychotics) that consumers, as well as those in the helping professions (such as doctors, nurses, EMT’s, psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, and the like) need to be aware of the risk of Akathisia.

I am not a doctor. I’m just a consumer interested in helping educate other consumers.

The information I provide for you here is in no way exhaustive, nor is it meant to replace medical care. It is here as a support and to help guide you to figure out if this may be what you’re going through, so you can take the next appropriate steps.

I believe there is a lot of preventable suffering and even preventable suicides that have happened because people simply don’t realize what they are going through is an actual syndrome and that it will go away once they stop taking the offending medication and their brain gets back in balance. You see, when Akathisia hits most people have no clue that such a reaction even exists, so they think it’s just that they’re going crazy. In assuming that, they believe it’s only going to get worse and in steps hopelessness and a compounding of the terror they are already feeling.

Akathisia is almost always a physiological and physiological response to a medication. It can either be due to the introduction of a medication or come about in response to withdrawal from medication. It can last anywhere from a few hours to several months, depending on the drug, how long the drug was taken and the person’s pre-existing condition.

What are some of the main symptoms of Akathisia?

  • Extreme agitation/restlessness
  • Inability to sleep/insomnia
  • Profound anxiety/terror/panic
  • Feeling like you’re jumping out of your skin or want to rip your skin off and escape
  • Feeling a need to run away
  • Agoraphobia/claustrophobia
  • Dark, scary thoughts
  • Psychotic-type behaviors
  • Anger/aggression
  • Self-harm or thoughts of self harm
  • Inability to sit still or lie down
  • Feeling like it will never end
  • Muscular tension/strain/weakness/ticks
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of appetite
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss/amnesia
  • Nausea/retching/vomiting
  • Flushing/hot flashes
  • Erratic heart beat
  • Erratic blood pressure
  • Extreme, chronic thirst

Medications that may cause Akathisia*:

  • Anti-emetic (anti-nausea) medications, such as;  Compazine (prochlorperazine), Reglan (metoclopramide).
  • Antibiotics (Various)
  • SSRI anti-depressants, SNRI anti-depressants and hypnotic anti-depressants, such as;  Prozac, Rapiflux or Sarafem (fluoxetine) and Paxil or Seroxat (paroxetine), Desyrel, Beneficat, Deprax, Desirel, Molipaxin, Thombran, Trazorel, Trialodine or Trittico (trazodone), Effexor, Efexor or Trevilor (venlafaxine) and Zoloft or Lustral (sertraline hydrochloride)..
  • Opioid withdrawal.
  • dexamethasone, prednisone, hrdrocortisone , betamethasone, triamcilone.
  • ALSO – Many natural substances may cause reactions as severe as Akathisia as well. The ones noted for helping with anxiety and depression seem to be the biggest offenders. Vitamins, herbs and supplements such as: Vitamin D, 5HTP, SAMe, Fish Oil, St. John’s Wart, Gingko Biloba, etc. Be cautious and thoughtful even when taking naturally derived supplements. Add only one at a time to your diet and watch closely for any reactions. If you feel you may be reacting poorly, STOP taking the offending supplement. Period.

And as a further note, some drugs and some natural supplements may feel great while you’re taking them then only once you try to stop taking them will you react badly or encounter Akathisia. The brain is a very complex structure, and I’m not a doctor, so I cannot explain the hows and whys, I only know that all of these things are possible and we (as consumers) must be proactive, careful and methodical when endeavoring to take or titrate off ANY substance. The doctors will not admit their precious drugs are a problem, drugs are their business. You have to look out for YOU.

*Please understand this list is not exhaustive, as people react differently to different types of medications. These are just the most well known for the potential to cause Akathisia. (If you can help me add to the list feel free to email me.)

Often times what happens is, a person is given one of these medications, they have a reaction (within minutes, days, weeks or even months, it totally varies per medication and individual) and they don’t correlate the reaction (Akathisia) to the medication. What they think is, “I was put on this medication because I’m mentally unstable and now I’m getting worse”. Then they end up getting the dosage upped, or other medications are added, and the Akathisia gets even worse! This is where many people lose hope and resign to a life of intolerable suffering or they decide they can’t handle it and sadly, end their lives.

The other common occurrence is, someone gets put on a medication for depression, anxiety or some other mental issue, eventually they decide to try life without the meds or are feeling much better and they decide to come off the medication. Then within days or months they have a withdrawal onset of Akathisia and because they aren’t aware of this possible reaction, they think the problem is organic and they assume they are not okay without the drug, so they go back on it and get caught up in an endless loop of Akathisia reactivity.

Sadly, many of the prescribing physicians aren’t fully aware of, or willing to admit, the prevalence of Akathisia so they unwittingly make things worse with misinformed advice and often times even more prescriptions being written, which compounds the problem.

For the lucky ones, such as myself, they are given a medication for something not related to mental health issues (for example, anti-nausea medication), so they quickly realize the connection between their distress and the medication.

Many anti-nausea medications are actually anti-psychotics and they mess with the functioning of important brain chemicals. Most people given such medications, like Compazine, are unaware of this. And most that do find out after the fact state if they had known they were being given something that could potentially mess with their brain they would have happily opted to keep the nausea and forgo the risk of Akathisia.

One of the most common situations where this happens is when someone is treated for nausea or migraines with one or more of these offending medications. Then, of course, people who are being treated for anxiety and/or depression or other mental/personality disorders with one or more of these medications.

So, if you have been treated with medication(s) for anxiety, depression, migraines, nausea, psychotic episodes, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder or other mental/emotional disorders and you have found yourself suffering one or more of the symptoms listed above then please read on…

What can you do?

First and foremost, I have to say if you think you may be suffering an Akathisia reaction to a medication/medications please contact your doctor.  If they don’t seem to believe you, or understand what you’re talking about, just call around until you find a doctor that has their head on straight that understands what you’re going through. If they don’t understand or don’t react with integrity and empathy they won’t be of any help anyway. So find someone who KNOWS WHAT AKATHISIA IS.  Don’t waste your time trying to convince a closed-minded doctor that you’re having a drug reaction. It seems many doctors just don’t, or won’t, get it. (Neurologists seem to have the most experience with, and understanding of, Akathisia. You may want to find a psychopharmacologist as well, or a neuropsychiatrist.)

If Western Physicians are of no help, I highly recommend finding a naturopath/holistic doctor. They are much more willing to admit that pharmaceuticals are dangerous and to help you find good, clean ways to detox and get back in balance.

All medications and supplements should be used under the care of a physician.

Please understand I’m in no way affiliated with ANY pharmaceutical or natural supplement companies, I’m only listing this information I’ve learned to help you make informed decisions to help yourself navigate and overcome Akathisia.

The information I’m giving you here is simply things I learned that has worked for people or  worked for me. There aren’t any medications that I’m aware of that will alleviate Akathisia for everyone. It’s hit and miss to find something that works and many people find no relief with pharmaceuticals. Akathisia simply hasn’t been studied enough for them to know truly how and why it happens. It manifests differently for different people and the recovery is different for everyone. BUT, there are many similarities for a lot of folks and some basic things you can do to help your body detox and get back in to balance.

I’m going to give you info on medications that may help, if you want to try that route and also info on natural ways to help alleviate the symptoms of Akathisia and get your body moving back toward homeostasis. SOME SAY GETTING YOUR BODY AS CLEAN AS POSSIBLE IS REALLY THE QUICKEST WAY TO RESOLVE AKATHISIA, WHICH MEANS TAKING THE LEAST AMOUNT OF MEDS/SUPPLEMENTS POSSIBLE. I can’t give medical advice, but after all the research I’ve done and people I’ve talked with as they have gone through the healing process, I’ll just say, I pretty much agree.

Medications that may help alleviate some of the symptoms/shorten the duration of Akathisia*:

  • Anti-histamines, such as;  Benadryl (diphenhydramine), Periactin (cyproheptadine).
  • Cogentin (benztropine)
  • **Benziodiazepines, such as;   Xanax (alprazolam), Ativan (lorazepam), Valium (diazepam).
  • Beta-blockers, such as;  propranolol, metoprolol.
  • Artane (trihexyphenidyl)

*Since initially writing this section more than 5 years ago, I have learned these meds can actually cause or worsen akathisia for some. The ONLY ONE I’ve never heard of causing things to get worse is Propranolol.

**Benzodiazapines are VERY addictive to both body and mind, so use caution and wean off of them slowly with the help of a physician as your symptoms improve.

High doses of Benadryl is the first course of action for treatment of Akathisia almost anywhere you go. (It won’t really help if you’re still on the offending med though. It’s more for people who have discontinued the offending med.) It does help lessen or stop Akathisia for many people, so it’s definitely worth a try (UNLESS you know you are allergic to it, in that case other meds need to be tried. I’ve heard of a few people even having success with Claritin, which is also available over the counter and usually well tolerated, so it could be worth a try.) If you go to the ER they will likely give you a very large amount of Benadryl for the treatment of Akathisia, but if you’re doing it at home please treat yourself with a reasonable dosage. The ER nurse told me to take 50mg every 4-5 hours, for a few days. Even if you are feeling relief from the first dosage some say you need to carry on with treatment for a few days, to prevent relapse.

Supplements/Herbs  that may help alleviate the symptoms/shorten the duration of Akathisia and detox:

  • B-Complex (Pref a whole food vitamin), B-6
  • High doses of Vitamin C (I personally find Emergen-C to be well assimilated and tolerated)
  • Natural CALM (THIS HELPED ME MORE THAN ANYTHING, PLEASE GIVE IT A TRY)
  • Decaf green tea
  • Green drink (I personally like “Greens First” over all other brands)
  • Chamomile tea
  • Bach Rescue Remedy

Things you can do to help soothe and detoxify the body and boost your good brain chemistry:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Stretching/mild exercise
  • Massage
  • Soak in bath/steam in shower
  • Sleep/rest
  • Soothing music (classical music has been proven to have a positive effect on brain chemistry!)
  • Only watch positive or funny shows/movies
  • Loving support from friends and family
  • Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine
  • *Nicotine may actually help (boosts “happy” brain chemicals that are low, which is the cause of Akathisia)
  • Fresh air
  • Sunshine
  • Laughter
  • Positive thinking/healing visualizations
  • Meditation
  • Eat healthy, fresh foods rather than prepackaged, processed, fast foods
  • Keep in mind it’s going to go away/ it’s only a transient condition
  • Progesterone (Yam) cream (For females) as recommended on box [Can get it at nutrition store]

*I would NEVER normally advocate smoking, but if you’re in total crisis with the anxiety/panic/terror part of Akathisia then I absolutely do advocate giving nicotine gum or smoking a try. Just be responsible and wean yourself slowly back off of it as you start feeling better. You will know right away if it’s helping or not.

Cyndi posted a request that I also include here the importance of letting others know about your allergies. I totally agree. I keep a sheet of paper in my purse at all times with the names of drugs I’ve had an allergic reaction to in the past, but I too think I’ll go make a laminated card for my wallet. It’s also a good idea to inform your family doctor and any other doctors you may see on a regular basis, as well as, the local hospital. Ask all of them to note your record for allergies. Especially the drug that induced Akathisia!

You may also want to make up a living will, which basically states what exactly you want done with your health care should you be unconscious. It’s important for each of us to be proactive in helping ourselves receive the best possible health care when needed, especially when you have special needs such as avoiding drug allergies.

Please take the time to read the comments that follow this blog, it can be very helpful to hear what other people have been through and how things are playing out for them. I want this to be a place where everyone can talk openly and share info, so feel free to share your current or past experiences.

I wish you a speedy recovery!

PS – I was talking with a doctor the other day about Akathisia and he recommended talking to a neuropsychiatrist. So, for any of you out there who are going through Akathisia, you may consider starting THERE instead of with folks who seem to be clueless to how it works, as so many doctors seem to be. From what I know, psychiatrists of all the physicians are most well-versed in how meds work and so a neuro – psychiatrist understands the neurological effects of meds. Interestingly, as I was looking up neuropsychiatrist I found that the man who coined the phrase Akathisia was indeed a neuropsychiatrist. Here’s the link to some good info, including that tidbit – http://www.answers.com/topic/akathisia

If you have any questions send a comment and I’ll get back to you.

Please read the following post! If you can’t easily locate it, here’s the URL to the same article –

http://www.antidepressantsfacts.com/reaction.htm