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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 158746, 18 pages
Review Article

Psychomotor Retardation in Depression: A Systematic Review of Diagnostic, Pathophysiologic, and Therapeutic Implications

1Department of Clinical Psychiatry, University Hospital of Besançon, 25030 Besançon, France
2EA 481 Neuroscience, IFR 133, University of Franche-Comte, 25030 Besançon, France
3INSERM U1093 Cognition, Action, et Plasticité Sensorimotrice, University of Bourgogne, UFR STAPS, 21078 Dijon, France
4University of Bourgogne, UFR STAPS, 21078 Dijon, France
5Institut Universitaire de France, University of Bourgogne, 21078 Dijon, France
6Clinical Investigation Centre CIC-IT 808 INSERM, University Hospital of Besançon, 25030 Besançon, France

Received 14 May 2013; Revised 26 July 2013; Accepted 26 August 2013

Academic Editor: Michael Rapp

Copyright © 2013 Djamila Bennabi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Psychomotor retardation is a central feature of depression which includes motor and cognitive impairments. Effective management may be useful to improve the classification of depressive subtypes and treatment selection, as well as prediction of outcome in patients with depression. The aim of this paper was to review the current status of knowledge regarding psychomotor retardation in depression, in order to clarify its role in the diagnostic management of mood disorders. Retardation modifies all the actions of the individual, including motility, mental activity, and speech. Objective assessments can highlight the diagnostic importance of psychomotor retardation, especially in melancholic and bipolar depression. Psychomotor retardation is also related to depression severity and therapeutic change and could be considered a good criterion for the prediction of therapeutic effect. The neurobiological process underlying the inhibition of activity includes functional deficits in the prefrontal cortex and abnormalities in dopamine neurotransmission. Future investigations of psychomotor retardation should help improve the understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying mood disorders and contribute to improving their therapeutic management.