Psychomotor retardation is a slowing down of thought and a reduction in physical movements in a person. It can cause noticeable slowing in physical and emotional reactions, and is commonly found in individuals with major depressions and bipolar disorder, in the depressed stage.
Psychomotor retardation does not have a physical cause. It is an entirely mental state that affects the physical body. People simply move, speak and act slowly. For people suffering from depression, psychomotor retardation can make simple, every day tasks nearly impossible to complete. Mental processes, such as mathematics, become difficult as well. Many individuals with psychomotor retardation find difficulty in attempting or completing tasks involving distance, such as going to the grocery store.
Certain drugs can cause psychomotor retardation, including benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonopin, Valium), marijuana, and some antipsychotics. One classic diagnosis is, when asking a patient a question the patient sits there for a few seconds before carefully and slowly answering.
Treatment of psychomotor retardation generally involves treating the underlying condition. In the case of depression or bipolar disorder, medications are prescribed. If the medication itself is causing psychomotor retardation, the dosages can be adjusted in order to lessen the impact.