Ataxia is a physical motor coordination disorder. The disorder affects a person’s balance and movement.
A person with ataxia exhibits an irregular walking pattern. This causes their arms, legs and torso to move erratically or "jerkily". As a result the person’s movements appear awkward. The person lacks proper control of their arms and legs. Their hands may grasp objects incorrectly or display a tremor. The lack of coordination can also affect their speech. The person may have difficulty enunciating words.
In short the phenomena of ataxia can resemble the symptoms of drunkenness. In more severe cases, ataxia may cause a person to choke.
Usually the coordination disorder results from a disorder of the cerebellum / little brain. We would refer to this as cerebellar ataxia.
This disorder can be caused by neurological issues in the cerebellum. The disorder can be a result of inflammation, brain tumor, bleeding or infarction, multiple sclerosis.
Other causes of ataxia
In some cases, ataxia is a side effect of prescription drugs. This could be due to a genetic predisposition (eg Friedreichse ataxia) or due to a metabolic disorder. It can also occur from less serious origins leading to similar major consequences.
In cases of depression-like symptoms, one must certainly consider the possibility of CCAS (Cognitive Cerebellar Affective Syndrome) which could occur in disorders of the cerebellum. Read more on this on our CCAS page.