Description, Causes and Risk Factors:


Astasia-abasia refers to the inability to stand or walk despite possessing good motor strength and conserved voluntary coordination. Patients are unable to maintain standing posture unassisted and exhibit unusual and dramatic wild lurches in various directions. Although it is usually regarded as a psychogenic disorder, organic causes have been reported. We describe herein a patient who presented with alcohol-induced episodic astasia-abasia associated with hyperperfusion in the subthalamic region and dorsal brainstem.

Many times disorders like astasia-abasia are thought to be a result of some form of severe stress and are psychological in nature. Also known as conversion ataxia, this disorder may develop from some form of injury, abuse or other physical harm. This may result in the development of phobias which may also cause the condition. Examples of related phobias include a fear of walking and standing called stasiphobia, and basophobia or basiphobia, which is a phobia that occurs when a person is unable to stand for fear of walking and falling.

Symptomatic astasia-abasia has been associated with lesions affecting the pontomesencephalic region, thalamus, corpus callosum, or cingulated cortex. Although not referred to as astasia-abasia, postural and gait disturbance without limb ataxia has also been reported in patients with dorsal midbrain infarctions. It has been postulated that astasia-abasia results from disruption of the vestibulocerebellothalamocortical connection or from damage to the mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR). The dorsal brainstem, and speci?cally the midbrain tegmentum, is the anatomical region where these two functional systems overlap.

Despite not causing any physical harm, astasia-abasia can have a negative impact on the lives of the people who are suffering from it. If left without treatment, it can have a negative effect on personal relationships and in the sufferer's ability to work.


Those with astasia-abasia display certain characteristic mannerisms when trying to walk or stand. Swaying of the torso and an off-balance appearance occurs when attempting to stand, while walking results in a lurching, stumbling and uncoordinated gait. These types of gait symptoms are common to conversion disorders and are frequently viewed as potential medical signs that assist in making the diagnosis. Despite this apparent difficulty with motor function and coordination however, those with astasia-abasia have normal leg movement when sitting or reclining.


There are no proper diagnostic techniques to detect this unusual movement disorder. The various symptoms, that this disorder is commonly characterized by, are frequently viewed as potential signs that may assist in diagnosis. Exclusion of severe cases of neurological disorders, that typically resemble this condition, may aid in arriving at the right conclusion.


The most effective treatment of astasia-abasia seems to be a removal of stress inducing stimuli and allowing the patient to rest and regain strength. Despite the lack of a direct prescribable cure for the effect of astasia-abasia on the motor system of the legs, in almost all documented cases physical rehabilitation and relief from mental stressors have led to a full recovery. Although astasia-abasia is not expressly associated with any neurological disorders, there is a strong correlation between general mental hysteria and the symptoms of astasia-abasia. Therefore, isolation of the patient from the situation causing them hysteria is the most efficient way to rid them of disabling motor symptoms. Another method for treatment that patients who experience astasia-abasia is to have therapy for the triceps surae muscle. This therapy can help strengthen these muscles to help maintain an upright posture. It has also been suggested that ankle-foot orthoses be prescribed for these patients. This would help patients with astasia-abasia maintain balance by preventing ankle dorsiflexion.

Currently, physical therapy and rehabilitation are widely accepted as the best treatments for the symptoms of astasia-abasia. There is, however, evidence to suggest that regulation of a patient's social situation and behavioral influences can influence the effectiveness of rehabilitation.

NOTE: The above information is for processing purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


  1. mckinley nelson

    I was told I had atasia abasia but I was given no real treatment and still have the problem. It was cause from a 7 feet fall on my head.This was a workman compensation injury in California .After six year no cure.

    • editor-m

      Thank you for sharing your problem. What kind of treatment you was offered and tried?

  2. Mckinley nelson

    No real treatment just eval from qme doctor.I have pressure on my head.Also was told from a MRI that I had a 50% block on right vertibral


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Cart Preview

Red Wine May Protect Teeth from Cavities and Gum Disease

Red Wine May Protect Teeth from Cavities and Gum Disease

According to a Spanish research, led by Dr. Victoria Moreno-Arribas from the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid, drinking red wine may protect teeth by destroying bacteria causing cavities and gum disease. The researchers completed an experiment where they...

Running will Help Protect Memory from the Effects of Stress

Running will Help Protect Memory from the Effects of Stress

Numerous studies conducted earlier showed that regular exercises have a positive effect on physical and mental health. The new work of American scientists confirms this. They believe that running five kilometers once a day is useful for the hippocampus (the brain...

Quiz about this article

Please answer on few questions to make our service more useful

Featured Products

8 Reasons to Start Riding a Bike

Spring is not far off and very soon you will see many people riding a bike. It's worth to join them and now we will give you the 8 reasons why. Weight control Scientists of the University of Surrey (England) found that it's enough riding a bike for an hour, and, not...

read more

Simple Ways to Keep Fit Without Going to the Gym

We all want to get in shape and keep fit. But not everyone has time for visiting the gym. Give up the elevator. Give up lifts and climb the stairs. At work, at home, at the mall. This simple advice is a great benefit if you follow it daily. Climbing the stairs...

read more