Antipsychotic (A guide)

Antipsychotic
JuanitaHFNE

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behaviour, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.

This article will be discussing the different antipsychotic drugs, the different medications that are antipsychotic, different drugs for psychosis, the benefits of these kinds of medications, neuroleptic drugs, low dosage of these drugs for anxiety, the best drug for depression, first and second generation of these drugs, list of typical antipsychotic medications, and these drugs in the NHS.

Antipsychotic

Antipsychotic medications are used to treat mental health conditions such as schizophrenia and other psychoses, severe anxiety conditions, mania and impulsive behaviour. These kinds of medications have also been used to treat physical conditions such as nausea and chronic pain. These kinds of medications can help in the patient’s control of moods and behaviours. This is why this kind of medication is good for some psychological disorders that are relevant to the control of moods and behaviours. 

These kinds of medications can also establish control over the person’s sleeping habits and eating habits. This is why this kind of medication has also been used to treat people with bulimia nervosa and insomnia. Bulimia nervosa is a kind of eating disorder where the patient eats a lot then pukes the food to lose weight. Adverse side effects are also experienced in taking these kinds of medications such as headaches and weight gain.

Antipsychotic drugs

Antipsychotic drugs are kinds of medications that are used to treat psychotic symptoms of psychological disorders which have these kinds of symptoms. Recently, 23 antipsychotic drugs are licensed in the UK. These kinds of medications have gone with different names, especially their trade names. These kinds of medications can have different effects on the patient depending on how the patient’s body can handle these kinds of medications. 

Aripiprazole is one of these medications which is taken by liquid form or tablets. Benperidol is the first-generation kind of antipsychotic medication which will be elaborated further in the following sections. Chlorpromazine is also a kind of antipsychotic drug that is considered as the first-generation kind of drug. You can learn more about these kinds of medications by buying this book on this website.

Antipsychotic (A guide)

Antipsychotic medication

Antipsychotic medications are used to treat symptoms that involve being out of reality in the patient. These kinds of medications can alleviate these kinds of symptoms in people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. These kinds of medications have also been known to treat anxiety disorders and depression. This is because some patients with anxiety disorders or depression have symptoms where they are susceptible to hallucinations and delusions.

These kinds of medications are used by most patients with detrimental psychological disorders as a quick form of treatment. Therapy can take a long time and patients who are getting therapy in government-owned mental health services tend to wait in long lines due to people who are also in need to treat these psychological disorders. Some of the psychological disorders that are treated by this kind of medication are quite common among citizens in the country. These kinds of medications serve as support devices to help patients alleviate some symptoms of these psychological disorders while waiting for their time to take therapy. 

Psychosis drugs

Psychosis drugs are another term for antipsychotic medications. Antipsychotic medications are used as short or long-term treatments for bipolar disorder to control psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, or mania episodes. These kinds of symptoms may occur during acute mania or severe depression. Some also treat the depressive episode in bipolar disorder and several of these kinds of medications have demonstrated long-term effects in preventing future episodes of mania or depression.

These kinds of medications have also been used to treat insomnia and anxiety disorders which are considered as off-label uses of these kinds of medications. Off-Label use is when medications are used for other kinds of conditions aside from the primary health conditions that they were accredited to treat. This is why these kinds of medications are also available as over-the-counter medications to help people with these psychological disorders. You can learn more about these kinds of medications as over-the-counter drugs by buying this book on this website.

Antipsychotic (A guide)

How do antipsychotics work

Antipsychotic medications work by changing the effect of certain chemicals in the brain which are dopamine, serotonin, noradrenaline, and acetylcholine. These chemicals have the effect of changing a patient’s behaviour, mood and emotions. This kind of change makes the patient less likely to experience the psychotic symptoms of a specific psychological disorder. These psychological disorders that have psychotic symptoms are schizophrenia spectrum disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse disorders.

These kinds of medications make sure that dopamine will be lessened in the brain. This is because this kind of neurotransmitter is one of the risk factors that cause psychotic symptoms on patients. This is because the appearance of too much dopamine in the brain can cause psychotic symptoms which makes the patient more likely to experience hallucinations and delusions. These kinds of psychotic symptoms make the patient feel distressed about the unrealistic thoughts and sensations and they may behave like dangerous people to other people which makes them withdraw from any social situation.

Neuroleptic drugs

Neuroleptic drugs are also called typical antipsychotic medications. These kinds of medications can minimize confusion, delusions, hallucinations, and psychomotor agitation in patients with psychotic symptoms. The first-generation neuroleptic medications or typical antipsychotic medications which are also known as major tranquillizers comprise a group of several classes of drugs which include butyrophenones, dibenzoxazepines, diphenylbutylpiperidine, phenothiazines, thioxanthenes. These kinds of neuroleptic medications are approved by the Food and Drug Administration with the necessary uses of these drugs such as specific psychological disorders.

These kinds of medications that will be given to the patient have precautions needed to be followed in taking these medications. The doctor will state the adverse effects of the medication and will make sure to prescribe the kind of medication that can have fewer side effects on the patient based on his or her medical background. The patient will also be instructed on how to take the drug to avoid any adverse side effects and ineffectiveness of the medication. You can learn about the adverse side effects of these neuroleptic drugs by buying this book on this website.

How do antipsychotic drugs work

Antipsychotic drugs work by making various neurotransmitters to work again to minimize psychotic symptoms in patients. These different neurotransmitters are dopamine and serotonin. The increase in the flow of serotonin can make the psychotic symptoms controllable by the patient and be able to realize that those delusions and hallucinations are not real. The decrease in the flow of dopamine by these medications can make patients with schizophrenia lessen their psychotic symptoms.

Various kind of these kinds of drugs has different effects on patients who take these kinds of medications. The second generation of these kinds of medications commonly referred to as the atypical antipsychotic medications and block D2 receptors as well as a specific subtype of the serotonin receptor which is the 5HT2A receptor. It was discovered that this combined action at D2 and 5HT2A receptors treats both the positive and the negative symptoms of schizophrenia in affected patients. Older forms of these kinds of medications are known as conventional antipsychotics medications which block the D2 receptor and alleviate positive symptoms in any kind of psychotic disorder in schizophrenia spectrum disorders.

Antipsychotic (A guide)

Psychosis medication

Antipsychotic medications can reduce or relieve symptoms of psychosis such as delusions (false thinking) and hallucinations (sensing something or someone that is not there). These kinds of medications are formerly known as major tranquillizers and neuroleptics. These kinds of medications are the main class of drugs used to treat people with any psychotic disorder categorized under schizophrenia spectrum disorders. The psychotic disorders that are under schizophrenia spectrum disorders are schizophreniform disorder, schizoaffective disorder, delusional disorder, brief psychotic episode, and schizophrenia disorder.

These kinds of medications can help to steer away from the confusion in a person with acute psychosis within some hours or days but these kinds of medications can take up to four or six weeks to show the effects on the patient. These kinds of medications can help the patient control the psychotic symptoms but they do not cure the psychological disorder fully. When these kinds of medications are taken as long-term treatments, these medications can help affected patients to prevent further episodes of psychosis. You can learn more about psychotic episodes by buying this book on this website.

Definition of antipsychotics

Antipsychotic medications are kinds of psychotropic drugs that are effective in treating symptoms of psychotic disorders. These kinds of medications are known to change the brain chemistry of the patient. These kinds of medications increase the flow of serotonin in the patient’s brain to help him or her to control the psychotic symptoms. These psychotic symptoms are categorized into positive and negative symptoms.

The positive symptoms are what is added to the patient who is having a psychotic disorder. These symptoms are hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized behaviour. The negative symptoms are what is taken away from patients during the psychotic disorder. These symptoms are anhedonia (loss of pleasure), avolition (loss of will), catatonia (less or no movement), and inappropriate affect (unexpected emotional expression in a situation).

Benefits of antipsychotic medication

The benefits of antipsychotic medications are focused on relieving the symptoms of psychotic disorders. As mentioned before, these kinds of medications do not cure the psychotic disorder fully but only serve to alleviate some psychotic symptoms. These kinds of medications are also beneficial in making these psychotic symptoms less distressing since these kinds of symptoms can be very intrusive for the patient. This can help patients with psychotic disorders to feel better and relaxed from the overwhelming stress given by psychotic symptoms.

These kinds of medications also help the patient to be more industrious in life than be dysfunctional due to this mental disability. These kinds of medications can also relieve psychotic symptoms in psychological disorders that are not under the schizophrenia spectrum disorders. This means that these kinds of medications can help minimize the psychotic symptoms in people with bipolar disorder and depression which can also have debilitating psychotic symptoms as schizophrenia spectrum disorders. You can learn more about the psychotic symptoms of these kinds of mood disorders by buying this book on this website.

How do antipsychotics make you feel

Antipsychotics will make you feel stable and peaceful. This is because this medication can help alleviate psychotic symptoms of patients. This means that this medication will take away your hallucinations and delusions. These cognitive distortions will cause distress in your life but this medication can help stop these symptoms and make you more liberated in life.

Antipsychotic (A guide)

Antipsychotic drugs definition

Antipsychotic drugs are used as short-term treatments for psychotic symptoms in people with psychological disorders that have these symptoms. These psychological disorders with these symptoms are bipolar disorder, depression, and a schizophrenia spectrum disorder. Aripiprazole is one of these antipsychotic medications used to treat schizophrenia. This medication has been known to be effective on the psychotic symptoms of this psychological disorder.

These medications help to control the symptoms of psychosis as well as less serious mental health conditions such as bipolar and mood disorder that may develop into later psychosis. These medications reduce or increase the effect of neurotransmitters in the brain to regulate levels. Neurotransmitters are chemical messages that help transfer information throughout the brain. The neurotransmitters affected by these medications are dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin.

Antipsychotics examples

Two classes of antipsychotic medications are known. These two classes are second-generation medications and first-generation medications. Another group is called the atypical medications of this class where this medication cannot be grouped with the two primary classes and the side effects of this medication are different from the other classes of medications. Clozapine is one of these atypical medications that are used to treat the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia.

Psychosis treatment drugs

Treatment for patients with psychosis are treated with a class of drugs known as antipsychotic medications is the most common therapy for people with this illness. These medications are effective at reducing psychotic symptoms in psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia but these medications do not themselves treat or cure underlying psychotic illnesses. The second-generation antipsychotic medications are most commonly used by doctors to treat patients with psychosis. These medications affect the chemicals in the patient’s brain such as dopamine and serotonin.

This medication can be taken by the patient throughout his or her life. This medication doesn’t care if the patient is considered better from the psychological disorder since the psychological disorders cured by this medication tend to be chronic. However, these medications are not suitable or effective for every patient since side effects can affect patients differently. In particular, these medications will be monitored closely in patients who also have epilepsy which is a condition that causes seizures or fits.

Antipsychotics for schizophrenia

Antipsychotics were primarily used for schizophrenia but this medication has been proven useful in other psychological disorders. Schizophrenia has both positive and negative symptoms of psychotic episodes for at least 6 months. This medication can help get rid of these symptoms and help patients to get out from these psychotic symptoms that only worsen their disorder. This medication is only used as an accompaniment to patients with this disorder since social support is required to fully treat this disorder.

Low dose antipsychotic for anxiety

Antipsychotic medications have been known to also treat anxiety disorders. These medications have been found to be effective in treating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Recently, most doctors would prescribe these medications to patients with anxiety disorders. The use of these medications for anxiety disorders is an off-label use for these medications.

This means that these medications, when used for anxiety disorders, are considered as outside of the prescription. Possible side effects may appear in patients with these disorders by using these medications. These side effects are rigidness in the muscle and slow movements. Illnesses can also be side effects to these medications such as type 2 diabetes.

Antipsychotic medication for schizophrenia

Antipsychotic medications have always been used for patients with schizophrenia. This is because these medications have proven to be effective in treating this disorder. Most patients with this disorder are reluctant to take their medication due to side effects such as slow movements. This is why social support is encouraged to help these patients be motivated to get themselves to control their disorder.

Atypical antipsychotics definition

Atypical antipsychotics are prescribed to treat schizophrenia and to assist the treatment of a major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizoaffective disorder. These medications are less likely to cause extrapyramidal side effects. These medications are also known to cause weight gain, metabolic problems, and sexual side effects, unlike other medications. These medications are thought to be better in treating the negative symptoms of schizophrenia although differences may also be due to fewer adverse effects and/or better patient compliance. 

Members of this class of medications are amisulpride, aripiprazole, clozapine, olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone, and ziprasidone. This medication has also been known to be effective in treating acute manic episodes in people with bipolar disorder. Metabolic side effects have been known in taking these medications. These side effects are diabetes and hyperglycemia.

Typical antipsychotics

Typical antipsychotics which are also called conventional antipsychotics or conventional neuroleptics are a class of antipsychotic medications that were first developed in the 1950s and used to treat psychosis such as schizophrenia and are generally being replaced by atypical antipsychotic medications. These medications may also be used for the treatment of acute mania, agitation, and other medical conditions. These medications are broken down into low-potency and high-potency classifications of medications. Fluphenazine and haloperidol are examples of the high-potency class of these medications and chlorpromazine is an example of a low-potency class of these medications. 

Best antipsychotic for depression

Antidepressant medications don’t always work for people with depression. This is why there is a need to have other psychotropic medications to help people with this psychological disorder. Antipsychotic medications have been used to treat this psychological disorder since this disorder has affected the lives of people with this psychological disorder. This medication helped these people with depression to be able to heal their symptoms despite the scarcity of antidepressant medications.

The scarcity of antidepressant medications led researchers to investigate if antipsychotic medications can help minimize the symptoms of this disorder. Second-generation antipsychotic medications have been used to experiment with individuals who have depression. Researchers found that second-generation antipsychotic medications are effective in treating this disorder. This medication is highly useful for patients who are suffering from psychotic symptoms in this disorder.

First generation antipsychotics

First-generation antipsychotic medications were formerly known as neuroleptic medications. This is because these medications are the first medications in this class of psychotropic medications. Chlorpromazine is one of these medications in this class. This was the first medication used to treat psychotic symptoms and has been effective ever since.

Neuroleptic drugs definition

Neuroleptic drugs refer to the antipsychotic medications used by a patient, especially on his or her cognition and behaviour. These medications may produce a state of apathy, lack of initiative, and a limited range of emotion. In patients with psychotic symptoms, these medications cause a reduction in confusion and agitation and tend to normalize psychomotor activity. The term for this medication comes from the Greek “lepsis” which means a taking hold.

These medications are now called first-generation antipsychotic medications. This is because these medications were the first medications of this class. These medications have also been used for people with severe psychotic symptoms. One of the drugs in this class have been used throughout time ever since these medications were first introduced in the class of psychotropic drugs.

Typical antipsychotics side effects

The second-generation antipsychotic medications such as clozapine and olanzapine tend to cause more problems relating to metabolic syndromes such as obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Also, the first-generation antipsychotic medications are more likely to be associated with movement dysfunctions but this is primarily true of medications that bind tightly to dopaminergic neuroreceptors such as haloperidol and less true of medications that bind weakly to these receptors such as chlorpromazine. Anticholinergic effects are especially prominent with the weaker-binding first-generation class of these medications and the second-generation class of these medications which is clozapine. All of these medications are related to an increased likelihood of sedation, sexual dysfunction, postural hypotension, cardiac arrhythmia, and sudden cardiac death.

First generation antipsychotics side effects

Antipsychotic medications reduce the positive symptoms of schizophrenia and prevent relapses in patients. The side effects of first-generation antipsychotic medications revolve around the movements of the patient. The possibility that the patient will exhibit slow movements is high if he or she takes this medication. These medications are also ineffective in treating negative symptoms of people with a schizophrenia spectrum disorder.

This means that patients will continue having symptoms of inappropriate affect, lack of will, and lack of pleasure throughout their lives if they take this medication. This medication has been found to have more side effects than the second-generation class of these medications. These medications tend to have common side effects despite the different classes in these medications. For instance, patients are more likely to get sexual dysfunction due to these medications.

Second generation antipsychotics side effects

Second-generation antipsychotic medications are the latest medications in the antipsychotic medications class. These medications have less chance to have side effects than their older counterparts which are the first-generation medications of this class. These medications are less likely to give patients movement dysfunctions which are prominent in the first-generation class of these medications. Although these medications can cause weight gain in patients who take this medication.

Typical antipsychotics list

Antipsychotic medications which are sometimes referred to as neuroleptics or major tranquillizers are prescribed to treat schizophrenia and to reduce the symptoms associated with psychotic conditions such as bipolar, depression, senile psychoses, various organic psychoses, and drug-induced psychoses. People experiencing psychosis are sometimes a danger to themselves and others. Antipsychotic medications have both a short-term sedative effect and the long-term effect of reducing the appearance of psychotic episodes. Most of these medications are available in oral dosage forms such as tablets, dry powder, and, capsules, while some can be given in the parenteral form such as intramuscular and intravenous injections.

These antipsychotic medications are grouped into low-potency and high-potency classifications. The high-potency medications of this class tend to be associated with more extrapyramidal side-effects and less possibility for sedation, alpha-adrenergic such as orthostasis, and anticholinergic such as dry mouth side effects. While low-potency medications of this class tend to be associated with fewer extrapyramidal symptoms or movement dysfunctions but more H1, alpha1, and muscarinic side effects. The following are the most commonly prescribed medications of this class.

NHS antipsychotics

Antipsychotic medications are recommended as the initial treatment for the symptoms of an acute schizophrenic episode in patients. These medications work by blocking the effect of the chemical which is called dopamine on the patient’s brain. These medications can usually reduce feelings of anxiety or aggression within a few hours of use but may take several days or weeks to reduce other symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions. It is important that the patient’s doctor gives him or her a thorough physical examination before the patient starts taking these medications and that he or she works together to find the right one for the patient.

First generation antipsychotics list

First-generation antipsychotic medications can be classified by these medications’ chemical structure into phenothiazines, thioxanthenes, and diphenylbutylpiperidines. Few studies have found any significant differences among the various medications in this class in terms of their efficiency. In this case, these medications are thought to be equally effective and the drug of choice depends on the profile of adverse events and the presenting medical situation of the patient. These medications are usually called typical antipsychotic medications.

Typical antipsychotics were developed in the 1950s to treat psychosis in patients. The usage of these medications has been expanded to include acute mania, agitation, and other debilitating mood disorders. Depending on your symptoms, the doctor may choose to use a low-potency, medium-potency, or high-potency kind of these medications. This means that the high-potency medications of this class are more effective than low-potency ones since the latter require higher doses to achieve the same effect. Here are the medications of this class

  • Amitriptyline
  • Chlorpromazine
  • Fluphenazine
  • Haloperidol
  • Loxapine capsule
  • Molindone
  • Perphenazine
  • Pimozide

Second generation antipsychotics

Second-generation antipsychotic medications are more preferred by patients who are prescribed with these medications. This is because these medications have a lesser chance for the patient to get extrapyramidal symptoms from this medication. These symptoms make the patient have problems in moving which makes them considered as catatonic. This symptom is part of the negative symptoms in schizophrenia spectrum disorder.

Conclusion

Antipsychotic medications are treatments used to cure psychotic symptoms of psychological disorders that have these symptoms. These psychological disorders are bipolar disorder, depression, and a schizophrenia spectrum disorder. These medications have different groups such as the second-generation group and the first-generation group. You can comment below on your experiences with these medications and your thoughts about these medications.

FAQ Questions

Are antipsychotics dangerous?

Antipsychotics are dangerous when taken in higher dosages.

Do antipsychotics shorten life expectancy?

Antipsychotics don’t shorten life expectancy.

Can antipsychotics cause permanent brain damage?

Antipsychotics can cause permanent brain damage if taken in higher dosages.

Do antipsychotics shrink brain?

Antipsychotics shrink the patient’s brain as research has found this outcome.

What is tardive psychosis?

Tardive psychosis is a psychosis that is caused by the long-term use of neuroleptic medications.

Citations

GOV. UK. (2005, August). Antipsychotic medications. Retrieved from here.

Mind. (2016). Antipsychotics A-Z. Retrieved from here.Royal College of Psychiatrists. (2019, April). Antipsychotics. Retrieved from here.

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