Lately, however, some studies have suggested that antipsychotics may do more harm than good, especially in the long-term. Some researchers have raised concerns over the toxic effects of these medications, suggesting that patients may only benefit from the medication in the short-term.
Psychiatric drugs do more harm than good and the use of most antidepressants and dementia drugs could be virtually stopped without causing harm, an expert on clinical trials argues in a leading medical journal.
Antipsychotics can help manage your symptoms of psychosis. This can help you feel more in control of your life, particularly if you are finding the psychotic symptoms distressing. Research suggests 4 out of 5 people with severe mental illness, who take antipsychotics, find they're successful in treating their symptoms.
The problem with “indefinitely” is that antipsychotic drugs have many troubling side effects. They can cause muscle stiffness, tremor and something called tardive dyskinesia, where muscles in the face or limbs move uncontrollably.
But according to a new study, long-term use of these drugs may also negatively impact brain structure. Share on Pinterest Researchers say long-term use of antipsychotic medications – particularly first-generation antipsychotics – may lead to gray matter loss in the brain.
Because untreated psychosis can result in irreversible structural brain damage, clinicians must act swiftly to provide assertive treatment.
The following structural brain changes appear to be caused by antipsychotic drugs. Decreased brain volume with associated increased volume of the ventricles. These changes appear to be caused both by the disease process and by antipsychotic drugs, making it difficult to differentiate their impacts.
For neurological, neuropsychological, neurophysiological, and metabolic abnormalities of cerebral function, in fact, there is evidence suggesting that antipsychotic medications decrease the abnormalities and return the brain to more normal function.
“Results of several observational studies have found that antipsychotic drugs either have no effect on mortality, or they reduce mortality when compared with no treatment.
Conventional antipsychotics, antidepressants and benzodiazepines often administered to nursing home residents are no safer than atypical antipsychotics and may carry increased risks, according to an article in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
But with the right treatment, most people can live complete and fulfilling lives – thanks mainly to their antipsychotic medication. But of course, all medications have side-effects and for some people on antipsychotics these side-effects can range from mildly debilitating to life threatening.
Previous studies found that the death rate among people with schizophrenia on antipsychotic medications was 30%-50% lower than among those who took a placebo. But most of the studies were shorter than six months, which does not reflect the fact that antipsychotic treatment is often lifelong, the study authors noted.
Patients on non-standard antipsychotic medication demonstrated poorer performance than those on standard medication on visual memory, delayed recall, performance IQ, and executive function.
We know that antipsychotics shrink the brain in a dose-dependent manner (4) and benzodiazepines, antidepressants and ADHD drugs also seem to cause permanent brain damage (5).
Although antidepressants may provide a small benefit over placebo over the short term, there have now been a number of studies concluding that these drugs increase the risk that a person will become chronically depressed over the long term.
Long term harm
Because psychotropic drugs are immensely harmful when used long term, they should almost exclusively be used in acute situations and always with a firm plan for tapering off, which can be difficult for many patients.
Clozapine and olanzapine have the safest therapeutic effect, while the side effect of neutropenia must be controlled by 3 weekly blood controls. If schizophrenia has remitted and if patients show a good compliance, the adverse effects can be controlled.
Both first-generation and second-generation antipsychotics cause adverse effects that are known to increase the risk of dying from cardiac, respiratory, and endocrine diseases. Psychiatric users of antipsychotics die at high rates from these somatic illnesses.
Conclusion: In a large cohort of older adults, antipsychotics were associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality. While significant increase in mortality was attributable to the diagnosis of dementia, the addition of antipsychotics resulted in added mortality risk among all patients.
Taking antipsychotic medication will not change your personality.
Progressive brain volume changes in schizophrenia are thought to be due principally to the disease. However, recent animal studies indicate that antipsychotics, the mainstay of treatment for schizophrenia patients, may also contribute to brain tissue volume decrement.
Neuroplasticity, my brain's potential to adapt to change, proved to be crucial to both surviving incarceration and recovering from psychosis. Much has been written about neuroplasticity and our brain's ability to lay down new neuronal networks as a result of disease or trauma.
Drug for schizophrenia causes side effects by shrinking part of the brain. A leading antipsychotic drug temporarily reduces the size of a brain region that controls movement and coordination, causing distressing side effects such as shaking, drooling and restless leg syndrome.
Side-effects of typical antipsychotics vary depending on the drug and may include drowsiness, agitation, dry mouth, constipation, blurred vision, emotional blunting, dizziness, stuffy nose, weight gain, breast tenderness, liquid discharge from breasts, missed periods, muscle stiffness or spasms.
Voineskos. Because it is believed that antipsychotics protect against the harmful effects of untreated psychosis in the brain, they remain the foundation of treatment for schizophrenia.