Advertisement

How do antipsychotic drugs treat schizophrenia?

Mark Moronell, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
A psychiatrist often prescribes antipsychotic medications to treat patients with schizophrenia. Antipsychotic medications are often very effective in decreasing troubling symptoms of schizophrenia, like psychotic thoughts and bizarre behaviors. These medicines reduce the symptoms of the illness by affecting certain chemicals in the brain called dopamine and serotonin. Sometimes, antipsychotic drugs are given along with antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications, which also affect one's brain chemicals. Usually, a person's symptoms will be reduced within several weeks after starting the medication. Unfortunately, these drugs all cause side effects, and some of the side effects can be serious. To keep side effects to a minimum, a psychiatrist will try to give a patient the lowest dose possible. People may react differently to certain medications, and psychiatrists will often see their patients on a regular basis to reduce side effects from the antipsychotics. Regular visits also allow a psychiatrist to observe and manage the patient's symptoms.

Continue Learning about Antipsychotic

What are the side effects of antipsychotic drugs in people with dementia?
Sarah N. Mourra, MDSarah N. Mourra, MD
The side effects of antipsychotic drugs used to treat people with dementia vary depending on the pot...
More Answers
Can atypical antipsychotic medications help treat bipolar disorder?
John Preston, PsyDJohn Preston, PsyD
Although atypical antipsychotic medications are highly effective in treating psychotic symptoms,...
More Answers
What are dibenzapine derivatives?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
Dibenzapine derivatives are second-generation (atypical) antipsychotic drugs. They work by blocking ...
More Answers
What are the risks of antipsychotic drugs in people with dementia?
Sarah N. Mourra, MDSarah N. Mourra, MD
When considering the risks and benefits of antipsychotic drugs in people with dementia it's importan...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.