Handwriting Change as a Psychiatric Symptom


  • NIMHANS, Department of Psychiatry, Bangalore, India
  • Hospital for Mental Health Ahmedabad, Department of Psychiatry, Gujarat, India
  • BJ Medical College, Department of Psychiatry, Ahmedabad, India
  • Government Medical College Surat, Department of Psychiatry, Gujarat, India


Graphology is the study and analysis of handwriting especially in relation to human psychology. Many neurological disorders like apraxia and chorea can affect handwriting. Many psychiatric disorders like Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, schizophrenia are also linked with handwriting change. A unique presentation of major depressive disorder manifesting as chief complain of handwriting change was observed in a girl who had nice handwriting before depression. In spite of constant efforts she was not able to revert back to her original handwriting. Her new handwritings were different from old one in form of width and height of letters, organization and overall presentation. She was prescribed antidepressants. Depressive symptoms were relieved and her handwriting started gradually improving considerably though previous level had not been achieved.

Analysis of handwriting as a tool to understand the emotional state of person can be implicated during psychiatric assessment. The written off science of graphology needs to be made specific and sensitive so that it could provide more accurate results. Further research in this area is warranted.


Apaxia, Antidepressants, Chorea, Graphology.

Subject Discipline

Psychiatry and Psychology

Full Text:


S Mutalib, R Ramli, SA Rahman "Towards emotional control recognition through handwriting using fuzzy inference." Information Technology, 2008. ITSim 2008. International Symposium on. Vol. 2. IEEE, 2008.

Qiao E, Vinckier F, Szwed M, Naccache L, Valabregue R, Dehaene S, et al. Unconsciously deciphering handwriting: Subliminal invariance for handwritten words in the visual word form area. NeuroImage 2010;49(2):1786-1799.

Lester D, Hoyd R. Handwriting slant and thinking/feeling. Perceptual and Motor Skills 1981; 53(1):258-258.

Rosenblum S, Werner P, Dekel T, Gurevitz I, Heinik J. Handwriting process variables among elderly people with mild Major Depressive Disorder: a preliminary study. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research 2010;22(2):141-147.

Influence of Different Kinds of Handwriting on the Hygienic Posture and Deformities of School Children. Public health papers and reports 1905;31(Pt 1):182.

Handwriting a Neurological Study. California and western medicine 1938;48(6):430-435.

Asicioglu F, Turan N. Handwriting changes under the effect of alcohol. Forensic Science International 2003;132(3):201-210.

Walton J. Handwriting changes due to aging and Parkinson's syndrome. Forensic Science International 1997;88(3):197-214.

Lewinson T. Dynamic disturbances in the handwriting of psychotics. American Journal of Psychiatry 1940;97(1):102-135.

Perl W. On the psychodiagnostic value of handwriting analysis. American Journal of Psychiatry 1955;111(8):595-602.

Mavrogiorgou P. Kinematic analysis of handwriting movements in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 2001;70(5):605-612.

Mouly S, Mahe I, Champion K, Bertin C, Popper P, De Noblet D, et al. Graphology for the diagnosis of suicide attempts: a blind proof of principle controlled study. International Journal of Clinical Practice 2007;61(3):411-415.

Lafer, Beny, Perry F Renshaw, Gary S Sachs. Major depression and the basal ganglia. Psychiatric clinics of north America 1997;20(4):885-896.

Bennett M. Virginia Woolf and neuropsychiatry. Dordrecht: Springer; 2013.


  • There are currently no refbacks.