Barnes Akathisia Rating Scale (BARS)

A four-item rating scale for drug-induced akathisia.


The Barnes Akathisia Scale (BAS or BARS) is a rating scale that is administered by healthcare providers like physicians, and nurse practitioners to assess the severity of drug-induced akathisia (It follows diagnostic criteria for pseudo-akathisia, and mild, moderate, and severe akathisia). It was created over 30 years ago and is one of the most widely used rating scales for akathisia in research and clinical practice due to its simplicity, and because it's validity and reliability have been established worldwide. The inter-rater reliability for the scale is high. It is comprised of questions for rating the observable, restless movements which characterize the condition, the subjective awareness of restlessness, and any distress associated with the akathisia from the patient's experience.


Barnes, T. R. E. (2003).

Journal of Psychopharmacology (Oxford, England), 17(4), 365-370.

Barnes, T. R. (1989).

The British Journal of Psychiatry: The Journal of Mental Science, 154, 672-676.

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1. Objective

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Patient should be observed while they are seated, and then standing while engaged in neutral conversation (for a minimum of two minutes in each position). Symptoms observed in other situations, for example while engaged in activity on the ward, may also be rated. Subsequently, the subjective henomena should be elicited by direct questioning.

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