Ad Campaign Increases Awareness of Akathisia to Save Lives

Akathisia billboards in West Virginia increase akathisia awareness to save lives.

New billboards in West Virginia increase akathisia awareness.

Akathisia Awareness Saves Lives

Ask your doctor if the drug you're prescribed can cause akathisia.

Prescription drugs can cause akathisia even when taken as directed.

Akathisia is a medication-induced disorder that can cause self-harm, violence, and suicide.

Knowing this one word--akathisia--can save lives.”
— Wendy Dolin, MISSD Founder

FAIRMONT, WEST VIRGINIA, USA, May 26, 2021 / -- A new billboard in West Virginia is raising awareness of akathisia, a prescription-drug-induced disorder that negatively impacts mental health and can precipitate self-harm, violence, and death. The public health ad is sponsored by the Medication-Induced Suicide Prevention and Education Foundation in Memory of Stewart Dolin (MISSD).

"The Covid-19 health crisis has increased isolation, mental health challenges, and economic difficulties," said Wendy Dolin, MISSD founder. "But while mental health and suicide prevention organizations talk about well-being, they rarely publicize akathisia information."

Akathisia can occur when stopping, starting, or changing the dosage or type of certain medications. These include, but are not limited to, drugs prescribed for acne, high blood pressure, asthma, depression, anxiety, and opioid addiction. Akathisia can cause a person to experience such intense inner restlessness that the sufferer is driven to violence, self-harm, and iatrogenic suicide. Iatrogenic means induced by medication or medical treatment. Some drugs, such as antidepressants, can also have a paradoxical effect, meaning they can produce the opposite effect of their intended treatment. Prescribers and consumers may then incorrectly attribute these new or worsening symptoms to the underlying condition and not as signs of adverse drug effects.

"Healthcare consumers and their caregivers are rarely informed to monitor for akathisia symptoms such as insomnia, agitation, vivid nightmares, and increased physical movement," said Dolin. "Yet, if we are sincerely dedicated to promoting good health and reducing avoidable deaths, akathisia must be part of this critical public conversation. Taking akathisia out of the darkness increases the likelihood it will be accurately identified and appropriately treated before it is too late."

The foundation chose the heavily traveled I-79 location in Fairmont to reach residents and travelers who pass the billboard during the busy Memorial Day weekend. "Fairmont is called the 'Friendly City,'" said Dolin, "and MISSD believes sharing accurate akathisia info is one compassionate step we can all take to promote and protect our well-being. Knowing this one word--akathisia--can save lives."

MISSD, a 501c3 non-profit organization, honors the memory of akathisia victims through awareness and education and aims to ensure people suffering from akathisia’s symptoms are accurately diagnosed so that needless deaths are prevented. The foundation accepts no funding from the pharmaceutical industry. All MISSD resources are free, including public health videos, conference presentations, and an accredited, one-hour e-learning course open to all.

Wendy Dolin
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Akathisia: In Their Own Words