What causes TD?
TD is associated with taking certain kinds of mental health medicine (like antipsychotics) that help control dopamine, a chemical in the brain. TD is thought to be caused by too much dopamine signaling in the brain.
Antipsychotics are prescribed to treat conditions like:
- Bipolar disorder
- Schizoaffective disorder
Other medications used to treat upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting may also cause TD.
Do not stop taking your medication without talking to your doctor.
What does TD look like?
TD movements occur in one or more spots of the body and are often seen in the lips, jaw, tongue, and eyes. It can also affect other parts of the body, including the upper body, arms, hands, legs, and feet.
TD can look or feel different from day to day.
Movements may appear:
- To be rapid and jerky, or slow and writhing
- In a repetitive, continuous, or random pattern
- As face twitching, involuntary eye movements, darting tongue, piano fingers, clenched jaw, rocking torso, and gripping feet
Specific TD movements include
Speak up—talk with your healthcare provider in person, over the phone, or online right away if you or someone you care about is experiencing these uncontrollable movements.Learn About TD Treatments
Get helpful tips and info on how to have a productive in-person or telemedicine appointment.
For patients and care partners—sign up to receive helpful information, resources, and more about TD and emotional well-being.Get Information
“[People] see that I have challenges like schizophrenia and tardive dyskinesia. And they see all that I’m able to do despite these disorders. If I can do it, then other people can do it as well.”
Living With TD
When can TD start?
Tardive dyskinesia (TD) symptoms could start after taking certain mental health medicines, like antipsychotics, for a few months. In some cases, symptoms may not even be seen until after the medications are stopped.
In addition to taking mental health medicine, the following factors may also play a role in your risk for TD:
- Being 50 years of age or older
- Being postmenopausal
- Substance abuse
- Having a mood disorder