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Why People Don't Like Antipsychotics — They've Tried Them

October 9, 2022 Natasha Tracy

Antipsychotics are a class of medications that many people don't like to take. In fact, I was terrified of the notion that it was even a possibility once upon a time. But antipsychotics are often used to treat bipolar disorder and some depression, along with illnesses like schizophrenia, with which we classically associate psychosis. But even though antipsychotics are approved for use in those areas — thus proving they do work for some with those illnesses — people still don't like to take antipsychotics. Why don't people like to take antipsychotics? Well, if you're me, it's because you've tried them.

Why People Don't Like Antipsychotics — What's in a Name?

The very word "antipsychotic" sounds scary. It really, really sounds like a pill they give extra-crazy people. That isn't fair or accurate, of course; "antipsychotic" is simply a class of medication like any other, but the word brings about images of straight jackets, locked wards, and butterfly nets. I don't blame people for reflexively thinking these things. I did it too.

Why Don't People Like Antipsychotics — They're Hard to Take

But even once you get past the word and admit that, yes, the data shows they work for various conditions and actually try the darn things, you might not find you like antipsychotics much more. That's because antipsychotics can be very hard for some people to take. Take me, for example. 

Right now, I'm on day three of a new antipsychotic medication. In my case, I've added it to my existing cocktail. I can't afford to change anything until I find out if the new antipsychotic will be effective for me. This means a multiplication of the side effects as the new medication and the cocktail interact.

And let me tell you, the side effects have been nasty. Friday (day one), I felt like I'd been hit by a truck. I was pretty sure every muscle, joint, and bone in my body was in pain. And I was feeling massively over-drugged all day. It was like someone had slipped me something awful, and I couldn't get it out of my system.

Here, on day three, I may have only been hit by a car and not a truck. It's far from glorious.

And in some cases, previous outings with antipsychotics have been even worse.  

Loath or Love Antipsychotics, Here's What You Need to Remember

But here's the thing, while this is scary and does, in fact, scare some people into stopping the medication, stopping the antipsychotic is an overreaction and a mistake. Day three doesn't count. This suffering doesn't count, sorry.

The fact of the matter is I will likely adjust to this medication — most people do. It feels like being hit by a car today instead of a truck because I'm starting to adjust already. My body is acclimating to the new substance, and the side effects will lessen with time. This is true for almost everyone. The positive effects may take weeks to be seen, but the nasty side effects will start to clear sooner than that.

So, the thing to remember about not liking antipsychotics is that they get better over time. Your experience with them will get better over time (probably). So, stick it out. Suffer now, and get better later. That's the way this game is played.

While it's completely understandable not to like antipsychotics, it's important to remember they serve a function, and if you don't allow your body to get past this suffering, you'll never know whether there was usefulness for you on the other side. After all, many of us only get better with the right medication, and you can't know if this is the right one for you without giving it a proper trial.

So, yeah, I don't like antipsychotics. I don't like taking antipsychotics. I could write soliloquy after soliloquy about why I don't like antipsychotics, but that doesn't change the one thing that matters: Sometimes, they work. Sometimes, they make you better. Sometimes, you need a giant weapon to quell a giant disease.

I will take my antipsychotic, as prescribed, and I will give it a fair trial, not because it is easy, but rather because it's critical to my wellness. Yes, my suffering now could mean wellness later. And that's the thing to remember.

Note: None of the above is, in any way, to be considered medical advice. If you have any concerns about any of your medications, contact your doctor immediately. Only they can help you make the best decision possible about taking them.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2022, October 9). Why People Don't Like Antipsychotics — They've Tried Them, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2022/10/why-people-dont-like-antipsychotics-theyve-tried-them



Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Natasha is also unveiling a new book, Bipolar Rules! Hacks to Live Successfully with Bipolar Disorder, mid-2024.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleX, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

I beg to differ
October, 27 2023 at 9:52 am

Nah, I'll pass. Antipsychotics do more harm than good. If I have to wait weeks to months for improvement I'd rather deal with my symptoms the alternative way.
Antipsychotics lowered my cognitive abilities, gave me grand mal seizures, stopped me from forming sentences, couldn't concentrate, endless sleepiness, zero sex drive, and suicidal thoughts.
Medical cannabis saved my life better than any antipsychotic or antidepressant. It's time for a change.

October, 27 2023 at 11:25 am

Hi I Beg to Differ,
I'm sorry you had such a negative experience on antipssychotics. I've certainly never heard of anyone experiencing seizures to to antipsychotics.
Medical cannabis is helpful for some, I know, but it's also risky as it can induce psychosis.
Best of luck.
-- Natasha Tracy

Enrico Trama
May, 1 2023 at 1:16 pm

I've Tried Seroquel and Lybalvi,let me tell you completely awful !!! and I only took half of a half of pill!! I believe in listening to your body if you get nasty side effects immediately after taking your first tiny dose let me tell you that medication is not for you!! you shouldn't have to go through this huge adjustment period and risk your health in the process. I mean why can't they make medicines that target the problem and exclude all the nasty side effects? I'm Bi-Polar 1 I have a Mood Disorder and Topamax Has been very effective for me and I'm looking to add holistic treatment. Furthermore, I refuse to take any atypical anti psychotics that were produced in the Early 1990s its 2023 its time for some medication overhaul wouldn't everybody agree?

R
October, 24 2022 at 11:32 am

I’m rather suffer in silence that take that crap!
I have tried numerous type in the and the side effects have been intolerable!!!

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