What is Psychomotor Retardation?

What is psychomotor retardation? Psychomotor retardation occurs when an individual shows visible signs of a slowing down of the thought process as well as psychical movement. Psychomotor retardation is typically seen in cases of major depression in the individual.

Psychomotor retardation occurs most often in adults that are suffering from severe depression. Many of those who are also affected with bipolar disorder also might be faced with psychomotor retardation. This type of retardation is caused by a purely mental issue suffered from the depression or manic depression. The effects include the slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movements in an individual that is affected by the mental illness. There is usually a physical sign that it takes the individual longer to comprehend and process what is going on around them. They might respond much slower than is normal to a question or will fail to volunteer information unless asked. Certain drugs can also cause psychomotor retardation. Those with the most severe stages of psychomotor retardation will often require nursing care, or one-on-one assistance because they may no longer be capable of feeding, clothing or bathing themselves. However, informed consent for this type of treatment is often more difficult to achieve in the presence of this condition.

Examples of Psychomotor Retardation:

The beginning signs of psychomotor retardation start out with many of the same symptoms that can be attributed to depression. For example, those individuals with depression that have difficulty concentrating, completing tasks, finishing work projects, etc. Many of those with trouble of carrying out automatic or daily tasks are those showing the first signs of examples of psychomotor retardation. An example of this is when the individual won’t even take part in traditional daily activities like self-grooming, brushing teeth, getting dressed, doing dishes, cooking, etc. Those who are in the early stages might start having a difficult time walking up the stairs, preparing meals or even getting out of bed. Other examples of psychomotor retardation are when it can be hard or difficult to do more complex physical tasks like shopping, carrying groceries, taking care of children, doing work-related tasks, answering phones, shopping, etc. These activities, especially mental ones like paying bills, etc. are too difficult.

Psychomotor retardation is also common in cases of schizophrenia and is related to severe ends of the spectrum for those who suffer from this mental illness. Many with schizophrenia will show signs of psychomotor retardation and lifelessness one minute and then will experience symptoms of psychomotor agitation the next showing signs of energy and high activity.

Psychomotor Retardation Treatment:

In addition to the nursing or one-on-one care, the patients who have been diagnosed with psychomotor retardation are in need of intense treatment and therapy in order to achieve a successful recovery. Unfortunately in some cases even a full recovery is not possible. While some who are severely depressed take an active approach to end their lives through suicidal means, others will simply stop living and the psychomotor retardation will take over until the point that their body might even shut down on its own if they are left untreated. Many treatment options include continuous therapy for depression. However, this is not always going to work. At some points, the effects of the psychomotor retardation get to the point where the individual becomes completely unresponsive and will not even respond to questions asked during a therapy session. Instead some medications might also be used toward the treatment of someone with psychomotor retardation.

Many recent studies have shown that medications with dopamine increasing in the effected person are effective forms of treatment. There are some antidepressants that will raise the brain’s overall dopamine levels and will help bring that person back from the effects of the psychomotor retardation. The difficult part of this type of treatment is that unless care of the individual has legally been given to a loved one or friend, it can be difficult to treat the individual by prescribing these medications and treatments. That is why, when a person is showing even the earliest signs of psychomotor retardation and severe depression, to get help as soon as possible for that individual. It is the best and most effective way to encourage treatment and to be able to hope for a full recovery.

Sources: psychweekly.com, wikipedia.com