Antipsychotics are a psychiatric medication used as a tranquilizer for psychosis, which is usually found in mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Antipsychotics help to manage symptoms like hallucinations, psychosis and disconnection from reality. They are very sensitive medicines, however, and come with a variety of serious side effects and risks. Only a professional can prescribe antipsychotic medication, and the patient should use them exactly as directed. Because antipsychotics are often used in schizophrenia cases, the help of a loved one may be necessary.

Here are the names of some antipsychotic medications:

Typical antipsychotics (developed in the 1950s):

  • Chlorpromazine
  • Haloperidol
  • Perphenazine
  • Fluphenazine

Atypical antipsychotics (developed after the 1950s):

  • Risperidone
  • Olanzapine
  • Quetiapine
  • Ziprasidone
  • Aripiprazole
  • Paliperidone

What are the Dangers of Antipsychotics?

As with all psychiatric medication, antipsychotics have side effects. The side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, increased heart rate, sensitivity to light, rashes and menstrual problems. More serious concerns are a risk of developing diabetes, high cholesterol, weight gain, decreased white blood cell count, lowered life expectancy and permanent chemical dependence. It’s very important to discuss these risks with your doctor, and pick the best medicine for you. Though these side effects and risks are serious, antipsychotics can be of great help to people suffering from serious illnesses like schizophrenia.

How to Safely Implement Antipsychotic Medication

Because of the serious side effects of antipsychotics, it’s important to closely monitor a patient using them. For example, because of the risk of decreased white blood cell count, the patient’s white blood cell count should be monitored every week or couple of weeks. After the patient begins medication, they shouldn’t operate a vehicle or participate in dangerous activities like that until they know how the medicine affects them. The patient should still regularly see a therapist and doctor, to keep track of symptoms and keep them at bay.

Why are Antipsychotics Helpful?

Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other related disorders are very serious. The psychosis that comes with schizophrenia disconnects the patient from reality. This is unsafe, and can lead to a multitude of other problems. People with schizophrenia have a hard time adjusting to society, and are often victims of prejudice and not accepted by peers. Antipsychotics help the patient to harness reality and function normally. While they do come with serious side effects, when used properly and combined with regular therapy, they can allow somebody suffering from a serious mental disorder to live a normal life. To the sufferers and their families, this is a blessing.

What Should You Do?

If you or someone you know is suffering from schizophrenia, psychosis or bipolar disorder, it’s urgent to seek professional therapy. A trained professional can prescribe and monitor this medication, if you decide that it is a good idea for you. With continued therapy, patience and effort, you or your loved one can live a normal life.

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