Whether you’ve just been prescribed antipsychotics, know someone who is on them or just want to learn, here’s a quick guide to get you started.
Antipsychotic sounds like a scary word. There’s already huge stigma around taking medication for mental health without a name like that being involved. Another term used for antipsychotic medications is neuroleptics, which when broken means something like ‘seizing of nerves.’ This helps to make the intention of antipsychotics a little easier to understand.
What are they for?
Antipsychotics, as you might have guessed from the name, are drugs which help to treat psychosis. Illnesses which commonly have symptoms of psychosis are Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, and some severe cases of depression. They help to reduce symptoms such as anxiety and psychosis and help you to feel calmer in order to help you deal with other symptoms.
There are 2 types of antipsychotics – typical and atypical.
Typical antipsychotics are older. They tend to have more severe side effects than the newer drugs and the side effects are more varied depending on the medication.
Some typical antipsychotics you might have heard of are: Chlorpromazine, Flupentixol, Fluphenazine, Haloperidol, Promazine, Sulpiride, Trifluperazine, Zuclopenthixol.
Atypical antipsychotics are newer. They have fewer side effects but are more likely to cause side effects such as increased appetite and weight gain.
Some atypical antipsychotics you might have heard of are: Amisulpride, Aripiprazole, Clozapine, Risperidone, Olanzapine, Quetiapine, Paliperidone.
How do you take them?
Antipsychotics are usually taken in tablet form, or in liquid form if you struggle with taking tablets. They can also be injected in the form of a depot injection, where the medication will be released slowly over a period of time, usually over a fortnight or a month.
To make things a little more digestible, here’s a cheat sheet: