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What causes fidgeting? 34 possible conditions


Fidgeting is moving about restlessly or the behavior of being continually in motion.

Alternative Names

Fidgets, fidgety


Fidgeting is usually used to describe someone who can’t sit still. Fidgety people move in their seats constantly, move their hands and feet, and appear to be in constant motion. Fidgeting in children is sometimes a sign of hyperactivity or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but it’s not always a bad thing.

Some people have a genetic predisposition to fidget. They are restless and move around constantly. Some obese people have a genetic predisposition to be energy efficient and are naturally inclined to conserve energy.

Associated Diagnoses

  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • obsessive compulsive disorder
  • schizophrenia
  • panic attack
  • post-partum depression
  • adjustment disorder
  • alcohol withdrawal
  • caffeine overdose
  • delirium
  • dementia
  • general anxiety disorder
  • post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)


Treatment includes assessing and treating the underlying condition. This sometimes includes providing:

  • a stimulating environment
  • plenty of exercise
  • good nutrition
  • adequate sleep

Call Your Doctor

Call a doctor if fidgeting becomes agitation and is accompanied by emotional distress.

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See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.


Generalized Anxiety Disorder

People who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, worry uncontrollably about common occurrences and situations. The condition may also be called chronic anxiety neurosis.GAD is different than normal feeling...

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ADHD Basics

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a mental disorder that causes above-normal levels of hyperactive and disruptive behaviors. The cause is unknown but risk factors include genetic predisposition an...

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that occurs after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. PTSD can cause disruptive symptoms of panic, increased arousal, and mental/emotional problems.

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Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is a condition chararcterized by persistent anxiety and recurrent panic attacks. Sweating or chills are possible signs of a panic attack.

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Caffeine Overdose

The recommended amount of caffeine is usually 400 mg per day for healthy adults. Caffeine overdose may occur if you ingest more than this amount.

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Schizophrenia Overview

Schizophrenia is the common term for a group of serious psychiatric conditions called the schizophrenic disorders, which are generally characterized by hallucinations and delusions. Auditory hallucinations (hearin...

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Menopause is a natural biological process in women that marks the permanent end of menstruation and fertility. Hot flashes, vaginal dryness or pain, and frequent urination are signs.

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Hyperventilation happens when you suddenly start breathing very quickly. Exhaling more than you inhale causes low carbon dioxide levels.

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Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Alcohol withdrawal delirium (AWD) is the most serious form of alcohol withdrawal. It causes sudden and severe problems in your brain and nervous system. Approximately five percent of hospital patients being treated fo...

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Adjustment Disorder

Adjustment disorder is an unexpectedly strong emotional or behavioral reaction that occurs in response to an identifiable stressful life event or life change that occurred within the previous three months. ...

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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by uncontrollable thoughts and fears (obsessions). These obsessions cause repetitive behaviors (compulsions) that a person uses in an effort t...

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Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression affects as many as 13 percent of new mothers. In the U.S., that's half a million women. Learn about symptoms, causes, risks, and more.

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Graves' Disease

Graves disease is an autoimmune disorder that leads to hyperthyroidism and causes thyroid swelling.

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Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression. People affected by SAD display symptoms of depression at the same time every year, typically during the fall and winter months. According to the America...

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Also known as somnambulism, sleepwalking is a condition where a person walks or moves around as if he or she is awake while asleep. Sleepwalkers may perform a variety of activities while asleep, including gettin...

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Dementia Overview

Dementia may affect memory, thinking, language, judgment, and behavior. Mental impairment must affect at least two brain functions to be considered dementia.

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This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Delirium is an abrupt change in the brain that causes mental confusion and emotional disruption. It makes it difficult to think, remember, sleep, pay attention, and more. You might experience the condition durin...

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Heart Attack Overview

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

A clot blocks the blood flow to the heart (heart attack), and damages heart muscle. Symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, and a blue or grey tinge to the skin.

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Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

The aorta carries blood from your heart down to your abdomen, legs, and pelvis. Swollen aortic walls in the abdomen is known as an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

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Hypovolemic Shock

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Hypovolemic shock (hemorrhagic shock) is a life-threatening condition that results when you lose more than 20 percent of your body's blood or fluid supply, preventing the heart from pumping sufficient blood to your body.

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This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.