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Why do people with schizophrenia move in weird ways?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
People with schizophrenia may move in strange ways due to side effects from their medications. If a person is having an active psychotic episode, remember that she is not aware of reality and may begin talking or moving in ways that don't make sense to you. Try to stay calm, do not try to approach or touch the person because this may be perceived as a threat to her, and seek assistance if she becomes upset or violent.

Tardive dyskinesia (TD) can occur in people who take conventional or typical antipsychotic medications for a long time. TD can be mild or severe and is characterized by uncontrollable muscle movements, often around the mouth. Some people do not recover from TD, while others recover fully.

People on typical antipsychotic medications may have side effects from their medications that cause them to move in odd ways. They may appear stiff or have muscle spasms or tremors. Sometimes they appear restless and may pace around.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.