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What is Tardive Dyskinesia and do I have it?

If you’ve ever taken any type of antipsychotic medications you may have encountered some symptoms of TD (Tardive dyskinesia). It is typically its own diagnosis that is separate from your own mental diagnosis, whether it be Bipolar, Schizoaffective or Schizophrenia. Let’s take a look at some of the effects that TD can cause.


Tardive dyskinesia is defined by causing stiff, jerky movements that you can’t control. These can affect multiple parts of your body, including your face, as well as your arms and legs.

Orofacial dyskinesia or oro-bucco-lingual dyskinesia, or more simply: Uncontrolled movements in your face. They mostly affect your lips, jaw, or tongue. These include:

  • Involuntarily sticking out your tongue.
  • Blinking your eyes rapidly.
  • Uncontrolled chewing.
  • Smacking or puckering your lips.
  • Puffing out your cheeks.
  • Uncontrolled grunting.

Dyskinesia of the Limbs: This affects your arms, legs, fingers and toes: This includes:

  • Wiggling your fingers.
  • Tapping your feet.
  • Flapping your arms.
  • Thrusting your hips.
  • Sawing from side to side.

These movements can be either fast or slow, and may significantly affect your ability to work, or be active.

How could I be affected?

With a diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar or other brain conditions, it is common for a doctor to prescribe any number of various antipsychotic medications. These medications can include but are not limited to:

  • Haloperidol (Haldol)
  • Fluphenazine
  • Risperidone (Risperdal)
  • Olanzapine (Zyprexa)

These medications block a chemical in the brain called dopamine. This chemical is important because It helps cells communicate with one another and helps your muscles move more smoothly. Once dopamine is blocked it can cause your movements to become jerky or feel out of control.

Typically it takes a continuous usage of 3 months or 90 days or more to encounter the affects, but rare cases of been seen to have the affect after a single dose. While TD is very rare, with less than 200,000 cases in the United States per year. There are some common risk factors that could increase your chances, they are:

  • A woman, who is post-menopausal.
  • Anyone over the age of 55.
  • Alcohol or drug abuse.
  • A person of African American or Asian descent.

Treatment and prevention

            The main goal is to prevent TD in patients. Consult your doctor about a medications side effects and if its benefits outweigh these side effects. If you notice any symptoms of TD, let your doctor know immediately. Your doctor can lower the dosage, or even try a new medication entirely.

There are also two FDA-approved medications to treat tardive dyskinesia:

  • Deutetrabenazine (Austedo)
  • Valbenazine (Ingrezza)
Jan 30, 2020

What is Psychosis?

Do you ever hear anything strange, such as whispers or voices of loved ones, or even strangers? Ever see anything that others can’t, such as shadows, ghosts or other objects? You might be suffering from psychosis. Psychosis itself isn’t a specific illness, it is a symptom of other mental or physical illnesses that are caused by substance abuse, trauma or even stress.

Psychosis is a common symptoms is psychotic disorders such as, schizophrenia, schizoaffective and even bipolar and depression. It usually develops in late teenage years or early adulthood, but can also affect younger children as well.

Symptoms of Psychosis

It is important to note that psychosis doesn’t appear out of nowhere. It follows a particular pattern that has been observed by doctors. There are several steps:

Signs before psychosis: These typically affect the way you think about others and the way you understand your surroundings, they include:

  • Drop is grades or job performance.
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking clearly.
  • Lack of self-care of hygiene.
  • Spending a lot of time alone.
  • Overly emotional
  • No emotions

Signs of early psychosis:

  • Hear, see, taste or smell things others do not.
  • Grasp unconventional beliefs.
  • Separation from family and friends.
  • Stop caring about hygiene or appearance.
  • Unable to think clearly or pay attention.

Symptoms of psychosis:


  • Auditory hallucinations: Hearing voices when no one is around.
  • Tactile hallucinations: strange sensations or feelings.
  • Visual hallucinations: Seeing things others can’t or seeing distorted shapes.

Delusions: Beliefs or feelings that don’t make sense to others.

  • Outside forces are in control of you or your emotions
  • Small events have an enormous effect on you
  • You have special powers, or on a special mission from divine or evil purposes.

What causes psychosis?

            The actual cause of psychosis is unknown, but there are several known risk factors, they include:

  • Genetics
  • Drug and alcohol abuse, as well as some prescribed medications
  • Trauma: Death of a loved one, sexual or mental abuse.
  • Injuries and illness: Traumatic brain injuries, tumors, strokes and other various mental illness (Schizophrenia, bipolar, depression)


            It is important to treated treat as early as possible, after the first episode or signs of any psychosis. Your doctor will recommend a list of therapies and treatment to limit psychosis in an attempt for it to not disrupt your life.

This treatment can include:

  • Antipsychotic drugs
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Supportive psychotherapy
  • Cognitive enhancement therapy (CET)
  • Family psychoeducation and support
  • Coordinated specialty care (CSC)
Jan 30, 2020

What Exactly is Schizophrenia?

What exactly is Schizophrenia?

While many people associate this illness to people talking to themselves or wandering the streets aimlessly, there is actually much more to it than just that. But first let’s ask the question: What is Schizophrenia? In its simplest form, schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves, often making it seem like this person has lost touch with reality.

Not as common as other mood disorders, the exact number of Schizophrenia sufferers are estimated to range from .25 percent to .64 percent of US adults. It typically develops between the ages of 17 to 30 in men and women, and although it can occur at any age, it is uncommon for a child under the age of 12 to be diagnosed.

What are the symptoms?

Now that we know what Schizophrenia is exactly, let’s look at what symptoms can occur. And let’s categorize them to make them easier.

Positive symptoms – These are symptoms that a typically not seen in healthy individuals, hence they are added. These symptoms include:

  • Hallucinations – This can includes, hearing voices, seeing things that are not typically there or smelling things that other cannot. These symptoms are very real to those suffering from Schizophrenia.
  • Delusions – These are false beliefs that includes paranoia, feeling like someone is reading their thoughts, or they are being spied on or controlled.

Negative symptoms – These are associated with disruptions to normal emotions or behaviors, such as:

  • Reduced expressions of emotions, whether it be facial expressions or tone of voice.
  • Reduced feelings of pleasure in everyday life
  • Reduced speaking or activity

Cognitive symptoms – People with these symptoms struggle with memory, organization, thinking or completely general tasks.

How do you get Schizophrenia?

Research suggests that schizophrenia may have several possible causes:

  • Genetics – Heredity indeed can play a strong role in developing Schizophrenia. Your likelihood of developing schizophrenia is multiplied by six times if you are related to someone with the illness.
  • Environment. Exposure to viruses or malnutrition before birth, particularly in the first and second trimesters has been shown to increase the risk of schizophrenia.
  • Brain chemistry – Problems with certain brain chemicals, including neurotransmitters called dopamine and glutamate, may contribute to schizophrenia.
  • Substance abuse – It is suggest that taking mind-altering drugs during teen years and young adulthood can increase the risk of schizophrenia. A growing body of evidence indicates that smoking marijuana increases the risk of psychotic incidents and the risk of ongoing psychotic experiences. The younger and more frequent the use, the greater the risk.

How do I get help?

While there are some theories on the causes of Schizophrenia, it is still widely unknown, so treatments focus on eliminating the symptoms of the disease instead of the disease itself, these include:

Antipsychotics – It is important to work closely with your Dr. to find the right Antipsychotic for your symptoms. Examples of antipsychotics are:

  • Seroquel
  • Risperidone
  • Olanzapine
  • Abilify

Psychosocial Treatments – These are most beneficial in conjunction with medication discovered after you have met with a doctor. These treatments focus on learning and using coping skills to deal with the everyday challenges of having schizophrenia. Patients who regularly participate in these treatments are much less likely to relapse and end up in the hospital.

If you know someone with these symptoms it is important for you to help them get treatment and help them to stay in treatment. It is also important for you to remember that these symptoms are very real to them and to acknowledge them as such and be respectful, supportive and kind to these symptoms.

Nov 25, 2019

I Thought ADHD Was Just For Children

I thought ADHD was just for children.

Ever feel like you have a really hard time staying focused? How about the inability to sit still? If you do, you might have ADHD, and no it’s not just something that kids have. In fact, over 17 million Americans alone suffer from ADHD.

ADHD stands for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. While the cause for ADHD it unknown, it is thought to be an imbalance in the chemicals sent and received in your brain. Luckily for people who suffer from this disorder, it is treatable.

Lets break down ADHD a bit further:

Attention-Deficit: This means that a person has a high likely hood of not completing tasks, has difficulty in staying focused and is, often at times, very disorganized.

Hyperactivity: If you have trouble sitting still, and finding yourself moving constantly you might have issues with hyperactivity. It can also be highlighted by fidgeting, tapping or constant talking.

Impulsiveness: making very hasty decisions or actions without properly thinking them through. This can be caused by needing immediate satisfaction or need for an immediate reward.


Signs and Symptoms

There are two main types of ADHD: Inattention and Hyperactivity-Impulsivity.

Common symptoms of inattention are:

  • Missing details in school or work assignments.
  • Problems focusing on conversations or reading.
  • Seeming disinterested when being spoken to.
  • Failing to finish assignments or tasks.
  • Losing important items, such as: pencils, books, glasses, keys and/or cellphones.
  • Easily distracted.

Common symptoms of Hyperactivity-Impulsivity are:

  • Fidgeting or moving around in seats.
  • Feeling restless.
  • Talking nonstop.
  • Having trouble waiting your turn.
  • Interrupting others during conversations.

Symptoms for ADHD can appear as early as 3 and 6 in children and can continue through adolescence and into adulthood. ADHD should be diagnosed by a licensed clinician or doctor.

However, these symptoms can and do change over time as a person ages. In young children hyperactivity-impulsivity is the most common symptom. As the child reaches elementary school, these symptoms man change to inattention and may cause the child to struggle academically. In adolescence, hyperactivity seems to lessen and may start showing signs of restlessness or fidgeting, but inattention and impulsivity might still remain. These symptoms for adolescents can make it difficult to maintain relationships. Inattention, restlessness, and impulsivity tend to persist into adulthood, and cause similar effects.

Treatment and Therapies

While there is no cure for ADHD. There are treatments available that help reduce symptoms and improve functioning with ADHD. These treatments include medication and therapy.

Medication: As always, speak with a doctor to be prescribed the proper medication.

Stimulants: The most common type of medication used for ADHD. Stimulants work by increasing the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine which play a big role in thinking and more importantly attention.

Non-Stimulants: These medications take longer to start working than stimulants, but help improve focus, attention and impulsivity. These are typically prescribed when stimulants are ineffective.


Behavioral Therapy: This aims to help a person change his or her behavior. This is done with positive and negative feedback to help establish rules, and lists to help a patient monitor their own behavior or thinking before they act impulsively.

Cognitive Therapy: This teaches a person to improve concentration or focus through being aware of one’s own thoughts, sometimes through techniques such as meditation.

It is important for all people with ADHD to see a therapist to help manage their life with the complications from having ADHD. It is important to do the following:

  • Keep a routine
  • Make lists for tasks and different activities.
  • Use a calendar
  • Break down larger tasks into smaller more manageable ones.
Nov 06, 2019

What is Fibromyalgia?

What is Fibromyalgia?

While many people associate being in pain with simple arthritis, it could be a much more prevalent problem. However, they could suffer from Fibromyalgia. It is a disorder that is characterized by widespread pain in the muscle and skeletal tissue that is paired with fatigue, sleep and memory and mood issues, also referred to as “Fibro fog”. (more…)

Sep 16, 2019

Could You Have Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that represents itself in affecting how a person may think, feel or behave. While some people associate Schizophrenia with having lost touch with reality, there are varying forms of this disease with separate symptoms for each. Signs and Symptoms: While schizophrenia is not as common as other mood disorders there […]

Aug 27, 2019

Do I Have Sleep Apnea or Is It Just Insomnia?

While the relationship between insomnia and sleep apnea runs deep, they are two very exclusive medication conditions, with both having different symptoms and treatment plans. However, you may have sleep apnea, which can have very serious side effects if left untreated. Sleep Apnea: Sleep Apnea is a very common, but very serious sleep condition affecting […]

Jul 18, 2019

Which Antidepressant is Right For You?

Antidepressants are a form of medication used for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). However, they may also be used to treat other disorders, such as anxiety disorders, chronic pain conditions and also helps manage addictions. Typical side-effects of antidepressants include dry mouth, weight gain, lack of sex drive, anhedonia, emotional blunting, and in […]

May 21, 2019