How tardive dyskinesia may impact you

Whether symptoms are mild, moderate, or severe, the impact of tardive dyskinesia (TD) can be significant, causing physical changes that may lead to functional and emotional changes. The symptoms of TD may also impact social well-being, such as avoiding social interactions because of uncontrollable movements.1-3

A patient’s perspective: Raven’s TD story

This patient has received compensation. Patient image is being used with permission.

The impact of TD is far-reaching

While TD affects everyone differently, here are some examples of how TD may impact you1-4:


  • Pain and discomfort
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Walking difficulties

“I always feel like I’m running short of air, so I either talk lower or […] I end up gasping for it.”

- Robert


  • Difficulty writing
  • Speech problems
  • Difficulty eating and swallowing

“If my movements are really bad then I notice that I get a little strangled at times if I’m eating or drinking.”

- Tasha


  • Stress
  • Embarrassment
  • Isolation

“They’ve greatly affected my balance, affected the way I eat, the way I sleep, my social interactions. It’s an embarrassment to me; it’s an embarrassment to other people. It’s affected just about everything in my life. I’m not able to go back to work.”

- Sandra


  • Changes in medications
  • Emotional stability

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Tips for talking about TD

  • If you are experiencing unintentional, uncontrollable movements, be honest with friends and family about how you feel and explain how they can support you. Share what you know about TD and try to answer their questions.
  • If a loved one has uncontrollable movements, have an open conversation with them about their movements. Sometimes it’s difficult for those with TD to recognize their symptoms or the impact those symptoms have on their everyday activities.1

What are some questions you may have for your doctor about uncontrollable movements?

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References: 1. Warikoo N, Schwartz T, Citrome L. Tardive dyskinesia. In: Schwartz TL, Megna J, Topel ME, eds. Antipsychotic drugs. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers. 2013:235-258. 2. Sharing the impact of tardive dyskinesia. NAMI website. Accessed July 26, 2019. 3. Understanding TD. Mind website. Accessed July 26, 2019. 4. Waln O, Jankovic J. An Update on Tardive Dyskinesia: From Phenomenology to Treatment. Tremor Other Hyperkinet Mov. 2013;3:1-11.

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