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Patients taking antipsychotic (neuroleptic) drugs often suffer from some kind of discomfort or tension. This can manifest as a neuroleptic induced dysphoria, akathisia, or some kind of anxiety.

Is there a way these patients can overcome this unpleasant feeling with some kind of mind work, i.e. meditation concentrating on breathing, visualization, watching coming thoughts or something else?

Is there some research on this topic telling what kind of meditation could be helpful in relieving the discomfort? Is it even good to work with mind under these chemicals?

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  • $\begingroup$ Can you clarify what you mean by Is it even good to work with mind under these chemicals? are you asking whether one should undertake tasks requiring concentration, or whether it's harmful in some way? $\endgroup$ – Chuck Sherrington Dec 7 '12 at 22:37
  • $\begingroup$ @ChuckSherrington I meant, if there is some kind of processing thoughts, feelings or imaginations that is beneficial in the state of mind influenced by antipsychotics. But maybe I could omit this sentence. $\endgroup$ – xralf Dec 8 '12 at 9:37
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Akathisia is very difficult to handle. Sometimes akathisia responds to anxiolytic drugs such as benzodiazepines, propranolol, and even red wine. Amantadine, benztropine (for Parkinsonism) might also help. Mostly these are off-label prescriptions.

Meditation, exercise, and de-stressing measures are certainly helpful on general principle, though the best way to eliminate akathisia (if it is drug-induced) is to taper down the dosage or take a different medication. Finding a medication that treats the symptoms and provides a quality of life improvement despite side-effects is the job of the physician. You can think of it as quality of life improvement from reduction of symptoms plus quality of life improvement from minimization of side-effects, of which akathisia is one of the most common and unpleasant.

https://www.mdedge.com/psychiatry/article/89620/somatic-disorders/akathisia-restlessness-primary-condition-or-adverse-drug

King DJ, Burke M, Lucas RA. Antipsychotic drug-induced dysphoria. Br J Psychiatry 1995; 167:480–482.

Healy D, Farquhar G. Immediate effects of droperidol. Hum Psychopharm 1998; 13:113–120.

Jones-Edwards G. An eye-opener. OpenMind 1998; September:12,13,19.

Jones-Edwards G. On the receiving end. New Therapist 2000; 7:40–43.

Belmaker RH, Wald D. Haloperidol in normals. Br J Psychiatry 1977; 131:222–223.

Kendler KS. A medical student’s experience with akathisia. Am J Psychiatry 1976; 133:454.

Healy D, Savage M (1998) Reserpine exhumed. Brit J Psychiatry 172: 376–378.

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