Fast Five Quiz: Assessment of Tardive Dyskinesia

Christoph U. Correll, MD


January 19, 2022

The Hillside Akathisia Scale or the Barnes Akathisia Rating Scale enable the quick and objective assessment of akathisia in the clinical setting. Patients should be examined with bare feet and hands exposed so that movements of the extremities can be studied.

Tardive tremor is characterized by involuntary rhythmic sinusoidal movements of limbs, head, neck, or voice. Tardive tremors are persistent and are usually present at rest and with voluntary movement.

TD is commonly associated with involuntary athetoid movements (ie, slow, snakelike writhing) of the extremities, such as wiggling, twisting, and tapping the fingers and toes. Movements usually become continuous during waking hours and individuals often cannot suppress them for longer than 1 second. Involuntary movements stop during sleep.

Neuroleptic-induced TD is increased when the patient's attention is distracted from the movements, such as when the examiner asks the patient to move a different body part. For example, finger dyskinesias may be increased by asking the patient to walk with arms resting comfortably at their sides.

Learn more about the assessment of TD.

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