Tardive Dyskinesia: A Historical Perspective

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The goal of this column is to provide historical context on tardive dyskinesia (TD) to help the reader understand how the concept was studied and evolved over time. Psychiatrists today should understand this history and consider it in combination with more recent data on the neurobiology of TD, including data from animal studies. This combination of classic data with modern science can help readers develop a more complete understanding and lead to a more judicious use of the term TD, after consideration of all of the alternative causes of abnormal movements, including spontaneous dyskinesia (SD). We advocate that clinicians use the term SD when in doubt about the cause of a movement disorder in a given patient, as TD is never distinguishable from SD in a given patient but is instead an issue of a statistical odds ratio.

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