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Tips for Preparing for Your First Neurology Appointment When You Have Tardive Dyskinesia

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If your doctor has recommended seeing a neurologist for tardive dyskinesia (TD) and you are wondering how to approach your first appointment, you are not alone. Building a connection with any new doctor can feel daunting at first, but it is an exciting opportunity to seek care focused on your individual case and needs. The Mighty is here to provide some tips for staying as relaxed and prepared as possible. 

1. Preparedness is power! Locate any necessary documentation and organize your medical history. 

Preparing information ahead of time can help ease the stress when showing up for your first visit. Make sure to have any relevant documentation or insurance materials that you may need to bring to the appointment. If the neurologist’s office requested any medical records, following up to make sure that these materials are received ahead of time can help your care provider and avoid any last minute problems.

We also recommend preparing some answers to questions that the doctor may ask you at this visit. For your first TD appointment, your neurologist will likely ask you for a detailed history of all medications taken, including types and dosages, as well as a description of all symptoms (when they began, how they have changed over time, etc.). Answering these questions will help your doctor analyze your condition and determine the best treatment for you, and making note of your answers ahead of time will help you to feel confident and ready to discuss your case.

2. Make the most of your visit by thinking about your  comments, questions, or concerns ahead of time. 

In the end, your doctor’s main goal at this appointment is to make YOU feel better — do not be afraid to voice your questions and concerns with them! We recommend considering any questions you may have about your condition, your treatment, or anything else about TD beforehand in order to get the best possible advice.

It can also be helpful to learn about the different treatment options for TD prior to your appointment. Remember that neurologists are experts in nervous system conditions such as TD and will determine your treatment based on what fits your individual case. However, becoming familiar with options will be helpful for you to make the best decision together. In addition, if there are any aspects of your treatment that confuse you at any point, do not hesitate to ask them to clarify. It is also a good idea to take notes so you can review them later. 

3. Surround yourself with support. 

An appointment with a new specialist for your TD is a significant step forward towards caring for your physical self, but it is also important to take steps to nurture yourself emotionally as well.

One of the best ways to do this is by allowing others to support you through this process. Check out these tips from The Mighty for creating your TD support team.

We recommend informing others about this next step, or even asking a trusted family member or friend to accompany you to your first appointment. Members of your support team are also excellent resources to confide in, brainstorm, or pitch potential questions and concerns prior to your appointment. 

Whatever it may look like, your support circle will be a great resource — and they, along with your doctor, will be along for the ride as you continue your journey.

4. Manage stress and focus on self-care.

In addition to increasing relationships with others in your support group, it is also important to manage stress in your everyday life. Emotional stress can alter how TD shows itself in the body, and studies have shown that engaging in mindfulness and meditative practices can help relieve symptoms of TD.

Additionally, getting adequate amounts of sleep, exercise, and avoiding stressors in any way possible can reduce the concern of worsening TD symptoms prior to your appointment. 

5. Make sure to prioritize your health on the day of your appointment. 

If possible, allow plenty of time before and after your appointment to minimize distractions and make your care a priority. Arrive 10-15 minutes early, and save some time for yourself after to collect your thoughts and review your doctor’s notes and recommendations. You deserve to take time to relax and absorb the information, and remember that you have taken a significant step for your health.

Your first appointment is an exciting opportunity to work with a specialist on your health, and with this mindset, you will be prepared to take this important step in finding the right TD treatment for you.

Originally published: July 31, 2023
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