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What are antipsychotic medications?

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Quick Answer

Antipsychotics are medications prescribed for treating mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety and depression. They block a neurotransmitter known as dopamine in the brain, says Everyday Health. Antipsychotics are effective in regulating the areas of the brain that manage thoughts, mood and perceptions, states WebMD.

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What are antipsychotic medications?
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Full Answer

Antipsychotic medications first originated around 1950. Nowadays, due to negative side effects such as tremors, stiff muscles and random movements, original antipsychotics are no longer used often. Atypical antipsychotics where originated in the 1990s and as of 2015 are the primary types of antipsychotics used. Types of atypical antipsychotics include Risperdal, Seroquel, Geodon, Zyprexa and Abilify, according to MedicineNet. Types of older antipsychotics include Haldol, Thorazine and Trilofan.

Antipsychotics come with numerous side effects, including dizziness, restlessness, muscle spasms, blurred vision and fast heartbeat, notes Everyday Health. Metabolism changes, rashes, sluggishness, light sensitivity and weight gain are additional side effects. There is a high risk of developing a movement disorder known as tardive dyskinesia when antipsychotics are used long-term, and a higher risk of developing diabetes and high cholesterol.

Most side effects, such as dizziness, fast heartbeat and sluggishness usually diminish after a while. Antipsychotics are sometimes taken once a day, commonly before bedtime in order to reduce the side effects of drowsiness, says MedicineNet. Other antipsychotics come as an injection that last 2-4 weeks. If there are complications with side effects, addressing the issue with the doctor is recommended.

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