The Hidden Epidemic Exposed: The New Tardive Dyskinesia (TD) Resource Center

Peter Breggin, MD
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Tardive dyskinesia is a dreadful disorder caused by all the antipsychotic drugs.  Most obviously, it causes disfiguring and sometimes wholly disabling bizarre involuntary movements that afflict any muscles of the body that are normally partially or wholly under voluntary control.  This includes the eyes, mouth, tongue, face, arms and legs, fingers and toes, neck and shoulders, and back and torso.  It can impair the diaphragm and breathing, the vocal cords and speech, or the esophagus and swallowing.  It can cause painful and deforming spasms, often of the neck and shoulders (tardive dystonia).  TD can cause a torture-like inner agitation (tardive akathisia) that drives people into psychosis, violence, and suicide.  Especially when severe, TD is often associated with cognitive impairments, dementia, and psychosis.  People who suffer from it tend to become isolated from society and many become disabled.

The list of newer antipsychotic drugs includes Risperdal (risperidone), Abilify (aripiprazole), Geodon (ziprasidone), Invega (paliperidone), Latuda (lurasidone), Rexulti (brexpiprazole), Risperdal (risperidone), Saphris (asenapine), Seroquel (quetiapine), and Zyprexa (olanzapine). Older antipsychotics include Haldol (haloperidol) and Thorazine (chlorpromazine).  All cause TD.

Everything described here is backed by scientific articles easily retrievable on my new Tardive Dyskinesia (TD) Resource Center on www.Breggin.com.  

After an individual suffers from TD for more than a few months, the likelihood of recovery becomes very small.  There are no effective and safe treatments.

When removed from the drugs, some people with TD improve over time, usually without full recovery. Others develop new symptoms and grow more impaired.

TD can manifest as one or multiple symptoms, varies from day to day, and tends to disappear in sleep. Tension, anxiety and fatigue can temporarily worsen the symptoms, but play no role whatsoever in causing TD.

TD rates for people on antipsychotic drugs are astronomical. In healthy young adults given antipsychotics, the cumulative rate is 5%-8% per year, which builds up to 15% to 24% at 3 years. The rate steadily rises with age, equaling or exceeding a cumulative rate of 25% to 30% per year patients 65 and older. It afflicts children on antipsychotics at rates similar to young adults and can ruin their lives before they get started.

Worse yet, the actual rates are even higher because the patients who are studied are usually taking the antipsychotic drugs at the time of the study, and these drugs mask the symptoms of TD while they are developing.

How many victims are there? In the last few decades, the drug companies and psychiatry have suppressed any estimates. However, we are informed that in 2011, more than 3 million patients were given antipsychotic drugs in the US. With such high rates of TD, we can make a modest estimate that approximately 10% (or 300,000) newly medicated patients will develop tardive dyskinesia each year. (Since many of the patients are in nursing homes, many would have TD rates as high as 30% per year.) Those who stay on the drugs, as many do, will face increasing risks in the future.  If we consider the many people living with TD that they incurred years earlier, along with those now approaching a risk reaching 25% to 30% per year, it is certain that many millions of Americans have TD.  Probably tens of millions have been afflicted since the drugs first came out in 1954.

Scientific reports first identified tardive dyskinesia in the late 1950s.  We must give up hoping that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the drug companies, or the medical profession will do anything substantial about this growing pandemic. My work, and that of Bob Whitaker and others, has demonstrated that these neurotoxins produce widespread harm and that their demonstrable value approaches nil. Long-term, people on antipsychotic drugs tend to deteriorate physically and mentally.  We must continue to educate the public until people begin refusing to submit themselves to the epidemic.

The Tardive Dyskinesia (TD) Resource Center is one more step in the direction of educating the public, as well as the professions.   The Tardive Dyskinesia Resource Center offers a simple yet thorough introduction to the drug-induced disorder, a list of offending medications, and illustrative videos.  PDFs of about 150 scientific articles are organized by subject such as rates for adults, children and older people; evidence that the newer drugs are as bad as the older ones; studies showing brain damage and cognitive dysfunction, and a dozen more subjects.

Please help to spread the word about this new and entirely free TD resource center.

10 COMMENTS

  1. I have TD which began during my withdrawal from Klonopin, a benzo. I’ve never taken an AP. I can’t stop pressing my front teeth together and have to wear a mouth guard to suppress the urge. It began 54 months ago and has not improved at all in that time. I suspect it is permanent. Great. TY Dr. Breggin for your life-long effort in fighting drug treatment. The brain was not meant to be bathed in these chemicals. More harm than good.

  2. Thank you Dr Breggin,

    I think most people exposed to strong psychiatric drugs for a period of time end up permanently neurologically compromised. Maybe it’s not as obvious as fully disabling “Tardive Dyskinesia” . It can be longterm muscle weakness, slowing down of movement, and poor coordination.

    I think this can limit a person in two important ways – in romantic relations, and in workplace performance.

    It’s basically a type of medically induced Brain Damage.

  3. I’m in a situation in which I must take a neuroleptic “voluntarily” (oral route, at home) or…else. Such is the nature of 21st Century American psychiatry. This is a bad situation, but I’m in a better situation than many other “patients” around here.

    I’ve been doing my own Orthomolecular routine. Its just some basic, high dosed vitamins, with an emphasis on c, e, b-complex, and b3. There’s some limited data from back in the day that indicates these sorts of vitamin mixes can considerably reduce the risk of TD. Orthomolecular protocols have also been used to help those who already have TD, with some success.

    So far, so good. No tics, tremors, stiff gait, akathisia, twitches, and definitely no full on TD. The vitamin mix also seems to help reduce major cognitive problems from the tranquilizer, which is a godsend. The neuroleptics are definitely a dangerous class of drugs, but I don’t think the situation is necessarily all doom and gloom. Mainstream medicine may not have any viable treatments, but I think the alternative health people can help prevent and treat TD. There may be hope for a lot of us “mental patients,” after all.

  4. I lived with a visible TD as a teenager, over time it has become a teeth and jaw clenching thing. Nobody I meet knows I have it unless I have to talk to them. I’m 33 now and sometimes it goes away. Antihistamines like benadryl make it worse, way worse, but drugs like alcohol make it way better. Funny that.

    Children have no power. Everything you know about the effects of these drugs is on adults. Nobody ever bothered to find and know the effects of these drugs on children.

  5. GOD BLESS YOU, Dr. Breggin! I first read your “Toxic Psychiatry” in the early 1990’s. It literally saved my life. I’ve been “shrink-proof” for over 20 years now. My TD has morphed into *IATROGENIC**NEUROLEPSIS*.
    That’s the (too!) short version of my story. I was never informed about the risks of TD, or Akathisia. Sadly, I still have some friends who are today still victims of these “mad doctors”, and the greed of PhRMA….
    Thanks again for all you do! I’ll get over to the new TD Resource Center at >breggin.com< later today….

  6. Thanks, as always, Dr. Breggin for helping to educate “the public, as well as the professions.” And absolutely educating the professionals is imperative, since every doctor I dealt with while I was on the neuroleptics, and I did suffer from quite serious TD for a while, claimed this involuntary movement disorder could NEVER be caused by the drugs.

    This is just shameful on the part of today’s medical community, given “Scientific reports first identified tardive dyskinesia in the late 1950s.” I’m absolutely shocked that none of the many doctors I dealt with knew anything about tardive dyskinesia. And they thought the TD symptoms were either “bipolar” or “the classic symptoms of schizophrenia,” according to my medical records. It boggles the mind when one thinks about how truly unethical the majority working within the psychiatric profession actually are.

    I, too, yeah_I_survived, was on a cocktail of vitamins and supplements, when I was being poisoned by psychiatrists. I think these alternative treatments did probably help prevent me from dying from extreme anticholinergic toxidrome poisoning.

  7. They know, whether they say it or not, whether they warn or not, PSYCHIATRISTS KNOW! Back in 1973 we virtually stopped giving the major tranquillisers, (because that’s what they are, they DO NOT affect psychosis, they just shut people down), because the senior psychiatrist in the unit I worked in had a horror of giving tardive dyskinesia to anyone. We therefore had to actually TALK to our patients and their families and sort out what the problems were that way. We also never prescribed benzos because they were too addictive. I only recall one person getting valium, for alcohol withdrawal, to prevent the DTs. We never used shackles either, in fact I never even saw any in a storeroom, much less on a bed or patient. What has happened? All these new drugs/treatments and we’re back to ancient times, using drugs and chains (sorry, they’re Velcro now) to tie loonies to the wall/bed. Psychiatry is the only part of medicine to go back to the middle ages or can we expect to see the return of leeches, bleeding, purging and mercury across the rest of medicine. Maybe the drug companies can come up with some scientific names for those procedures, too. Of course we’ve kept Electroshock and lobotomy’s making a comeback, under the radar as cingulotomy & capsulotomy (to the horror of neurologists when they find out). As Peter Breggin says, the days of the brain disabling theories of treatment for mental `illness’ haven’t gone, they’re just not spoken of. If we look at history, the `moral treatments’ of the Quakers 180+ years ago where the `insane’ were offered a clean comfortable place to stay while they got their act together, and produced a 50% discharge rate, the others stayed on, working to run the place, and they kept the DOCTORS out because they knew the DOCTORS would harm their residents. Sadly the gentle Quakers were no match for the aggression and market savvy of those DOCTORS and the `insane’ have been harmed ever since, with no end in sight.