What Does It Mean To Be a Self-Advocate with TD?

Medically reviewed in January 2022

Being a self-advocate with tardive dyskinesia means communicating what you need and what you desire for treatment.

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What does it mean to be a self-advocate? [MUSIC PLAYING]
Being a self-advocate means speaking up for yourself. I know that can be frightening or even sound intimidating,
but self-advocacy means, first of all, knowing your own legal rights and responsibilities.
And then you as an individual, what are your personal goals, what are your needs, and what are your strengths? And once you've assessed all of those,
self-advocacy means communicating what you need and what you desire. Self-advocacy is beneficial when it comes to your health care.
If you're sick, doctors can prescribe medications to help, but sometimes, those treatments can cause serious side effects.
Advocating for yourself involves engaging your doctors to help you understand, to make an informed decision
by weighing the benefits and the risks of any treatment. Tardive dyskinesia is also known as TD.
It is a serious side effect that can occur from a particular class of medications known as neuroleptic medications.
Neuroleptic medications are important medications that are used for both psychiatric conditions and, in certain cases, for severe nausea and vomiting.
Tardive dyskinesia happens with involuntary movements that largely involve the head, your eyes, your face, your jaw,
and your tongue. But it can also sometimes be seen in your arms and your legs and your chest. It is very common.
About half a million, or 500,000, people in the United States are estimated to have tardive dyskinesia.
What do these movements look like? These are involuntary movements, so that means they happen out of your control.
It can be something like looking like your fingers are playing the piano, your tongue is thrusting,
your jaw is swinging, or your eyes are blinking rapidly. If any of these types of symptoms are occurring,
it is important that you contact your health care provider immediately. When you have symptoms of TD, this is where self-advocacy is essential.
You must advocate for yourself by, first of all, contacting your health care provider immediately and letting them know your concerns, your signs
and your symptoms, and asking for help. In addition, find trusted resources of medical information, and not only share that with yourself,
but also your family members and your loved ones. And last but not least, find a support group of others who can understand TD.
TD does not need to control your life. And the earlier that it is detected, the better.
Self-advocacy is an essential step to ensure that you continue to receive the best care possible
and support and treatment that you need. If you've been diagnosed with TD, it is essential that you use self-advocacy to speak
with your physician. There are now potential new treatments that are available for tardive dyskinesia,

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