Providing Practical Support to a Loved One With TD

Tips for helping a loved one with tardive dyskinesia with specific tasks or responsibilities.

A friend drops off groceries to someone homebound.

If a friend or a loved one has tardive dyskinesia (TD) and you want to be supportive, you’ve already taken the first step—in order to provide support, it’s important that you understand what TD is and the impact it can have on a person’s life.

Here, we look at a few ways to provide practical support to someone with TD. Practical support refers to help with specific tasks or responsibilities that may be more difficult as a result of having a medical condition.

Getting started

As mentioned above, it is important to educate yourself about TD. More importantly, it’s important to educate yourself about your loved one’s specific experience with TD. The condition can vary widely from person to person—some people only experience mild symptoms, while others experience symptoms that can be severe and debilitating.

You must also consider the underlying condition that a person has which resulted in TD. Most people develop TD as a result of taking medications call neuroleptics (also known as antipsychotics). These medications are prescribed for schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. These conditions on their own come with many challenges and can be difficult for a person to manage alone.

Learning about your loved one’s experience can help you recognize ways to provide practical support.

Providing practical support

The following are some ideas for the type of practical help that a person with TD may need, with suggestions on what you might be able to do:

  • Help with patient education. Finding information on TD can seem overwhelming at times. TD is also a complex disorder—there are many unknowns, including exactly what causes TD and why some people get TD and others do not. You may be able to help a loved one simply by finding good sources of information about the condition.
  • Help with healthcare appointments. Your loved one’s best source of information about their condition is their healthcare provider. You may be able to help your loved one prepare for an appointment by writing down questions or topics they need to discuss at their appointment. It might also be helpful to attend an appointment with your loved one to take notes and ask questions.
  • Help with treatment. Staying on top of treatment may be challenging for some people with TD. Sometimes having a friend to remind you to take medication or fill a prescription can be helpful.
  • Organization. People who are managing multiple health conditions tend to accumulate a lot of paperwork. Helping to find a system to organize this paperwork is another way you might be able to help.
  • Help with chores and errands. Do not underestimate how helpful it can be to pitch in with a household task, running an errand, going grocery shopping, or taking care of a pet.

Keep in mind that the above are just suggestions and that TD is a different experience for everyone. Some people may have difficulty asking for help or acknowledging when they need help. When in doubt, sometimes it is just enough to listen and leave the door open for a friend or loved one to ask when they are ready.

Article sources open article sources

Elsevier Patient Education. "Tardive Dyskinesia."
Hassaan H. Bashir and Joseph Jankovic. "Treatment of Tardive Dyskinesia." Neurologic Clinics, 2020. Vol. 38, No. 2.
Muhammad Atif Ameer and Abdolreza Saadabadi. "Neuroleptic Medications." StatPearls, 2020.
Sarayu Vasan and Ranjit K. Padhy. "Tardive Dyskinesia." StatPearls, 2020. "Seeking help for a mental health problem."
Elyse M. Cornett, Matthew Novitch, et al. "Medication-Induced Tardive Dyskinesia: A Review and Update." The Ochsner Journal, 2017. Vol 17, No. 2. "Tardive dyskinesia (TD)."

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