The patient with tardive dyskinesia may exhibit unusual movements of the eyebrow, forehead, cheeks, and periorbital area. These movements can include frowning, blinking, smiling, grimacing, and twitching.
The patient’s tongue will move in and out of the mouth at an increased rate as a result of tardive dyskinesia.
The patient with tardive dyskinesia will exhibit rapid, purposeless, and irregular movement of the upper and lower extremities. These movements can include twisting, squirming, rocking, tapping the foot continuously, and pelvic gyrations.
Tardive dyskinesia causes the patient to present with a stiff neck, which results in further difficulty swallowing and can increase discomfort in the patient.
Due to unusual tongue movements and a stiff neck, the patient will experience increasing difficulty swallowing known as dysphagia.
The patient must stop taking the antipsychotic medications immediately. The faster the medication is stopped, the more likely the symptoms will be reversible. However, in some cases the symptoms can become so severe that they become irreversible.
The assessment of signs and symptoms using the the abnormal involuntary movement scale (AIMS) is a tool for nurses to use to assess for early symptoms of tardive dyskinesia. The AIMS scale focuses on examination of facial, oral, extremity, and trunk movement. When nurses conduct a regular AIMS exam to detect tardive dyskinesia, then early recognition of symptoms is possible.
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