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Here’s What You Need To Know About Antipsychotics

Antipsychotics, which is also known by the name of neuroleptics, happen to be a category of psychotropic medication that is usually beneficial in the treatment of psychosis including paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, etc. The principal use of antipsychotics is to manage schizophrenia and bipolar disorder as well. Antipsychotics have different effects on different people. Taking antipsychotics might have side effects like weight gain, impotence, gynecomastia, metabolic syndrome, and involuntary movement disorders. The first-generation antipsychotics (typical antipsychotics) were introduced in the 50s decade, while the second-generation (atypical antipsychotics) and others came into being in the early half of the 70s decade. The following pints would tell you all that you need to know about antipsychotics.

What are Antipsychotics?

You know by now that antipsychotics are used to cure psychosis. But what is psychosis? It’s a medical term or a condition. An individual suffering from psychosis might hallucinate i.e. see or hear things that are not present there or delusions i.e. have beliefs or ideas that have no connection with reality. Often, people term a break from reality as psychosis. Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, personality disorder, and schizoaffective disorder display psychotics symptoms.

However, some of you might display psychotics symptoms even if you are not affected by any of these conditions. Hen you are suffering from psychosis, the doctor may advise you to stay on antipsychotic medication to get rid of the symptoms. With the help of antipsychotics, you may feel that the steering of your life is in your hands, especially if you are distressed owing to the psychotic symptoms. If the data released by the Royal College of Psychiatrists are taken into consideration, 4 out of 5 individuals affected by psychosis find the use of antipsychotics helpful in managing the symptoms. Certain antipsychotics can cure mania and depression too.

How Do They Work?

Messages are transmitted from one part of your brain to another with the help of chemicals present inside your brain. Dopamine is one such chemical. If the brain contains excess dopamine, that may force the brain to function differently. This eventually leads to the development of psychosis symptoms. Antipsychotics medications have a key role to play here as they can bring down the dopamine levels in the brain to that of the other chemicals.

Types of Antipsychotics

The most common antipsychotic medication is of two types – first-generation or typical antipsychotics and second-generation or atypical antipsychotics. The first-generation medications have been in use since the 50s decade. Second-generation medications have been in use since the 70s and the 90s decade. Their respective side effects differentiate one from the other. The typical antipsychotics may affect your movement more than the atypical ones.

However, this doesn’t imply that atypical medications don’t come without any side effects on your movement. All individuals don’t react the same way to medication. You can’t be completely sure about what effects the medication will have on you. Typical antipsychotics might not suit you, while the atypical ones might and vice-versa. Get to know more about these two types.

First-generation or Typical Antipsychotics

The list of medications termed as first-generation or typical medications includes Chlorpromazine, Benperidol, Haloperidol, Fluphenazine, Flupentixol, Pericyazine, Levomepromazine, Pimozide, Perphenazine, Promazine, Zuclopenthixol, Trifluoperazine, and Sulpiride. The list of medications termed as second-generation or atypical antipsychotics includes Paliperidone, Quetiapine, Olanzapine, Risperidone, Clozapine, Aripiprazole, and Amisulpride.

The Side Effects of Antipsychotics

There exist a host of side effects of antipsychotic medication. Shakiness and stiffness, sleepiness and slowness, weight gain, constipation, blurred vision, dry mouth, diabetes, hormonal changes, lips, jaw, and tongue movement, and uncomfortable restlessness. With that being said, not all antipsychotics are associated with these side effects. You might experience fewer movement side effects with atypical antipsychotics. But the side effect might still be there. If that is the situation, the doctor might put you on a different medication.

What to Do if You Want to Come off Antipsychotics?

If you wish to discontinue your antipsychotic medication, you must first consult your doctor. The doctor will bring down the dose with time so that you can gradually stop taking antipsychotics. In case you come off the medication all of a sudden, that might lead to rebound psychosis. The symptoms will make a comeback suddenly and you will start feeling unwell once again.

Always discuss with a psychiatrist or a general physician if an antipsychotic isn’t working for you or it’s getting difficult for you to cope with the side effects of the medication. Also, you must inform your doctor of any other medicine that you have been taking since antipsychotics can interact with them.

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