I hear a lot about antidepressants, but much less about antipsychotics. There is still a lot of stigma around taking antipsychotic medication and lots of myths about their use. They are not just taken for psychosis as the name suggests, but can be used to help stabilise mood and/or for very anxious thoughts.
About three years ago, I started taking antipsychotics at a low dose as prescribed by my psychiatrist. I took them once daily for around two years and, although I had some side effects, the medication helped me enormously. I don't take them anymore and I stopped gradually around six months ago.
Whilst I have found antipsychotics helpful, the side effects were substantial. I remember how drowsy I felt when I first took them and how debilitating this was. For the first time in my life, I felt disabled by side effects.
I also want to draw attention to the fact that many people are forced to take antipsychotics against their will whilst they are being detained and at high doses. This type of medication, especially at high doses, can cause extreme tiredness, intense drowsiness, inability to do even small tasks and weight gain.
I believe that people on antipsychotics should be carefully monitored for physical and emotional side effects. There were times when I should have been monitored more than I was (I never was offered a blood test whilst on this medication which is good practice). I also think antipsychotics need to be prescribed alongside helpful therapies that suit the individual’s needs. I know this all too often doesn’t happen.
I also wanted to add that there are many types of antipsychotics. There are first generation and second generation, as well as extended release (XR) and immediate release (IR). The type I’m talking about in this video are second generation extended release, but I also have a limited amount of experience with second generation immediate release. I found the Mind website useful for general info about antipsychotics.
Whilst antipsychotics are often prescribed for some people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, some psychiatrists prescribe them for people with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.
There is so much more I could have said, but I had limited time to make this video so hopefully I will share more soon!
Please consult with a doctor if you need support with an antipsychotic (or any other medication) and please only take medications as prescribed. I am not a doctor and everyone responds differently.