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Benefits and Side Effects of Schizophrenia Medication

The drugs commonly used for schizophrenia are antipsychotic drugs. This drug is used to improve symptoms experienced by sufferers. Antipsychotic drugs usually must be used in the long term, so that schizophrenic patients and their families need to understand the side effects that might arise.

Schizophrenia is a chronic disease, so patients with this mental disorder need treatment that is long enough to heal. One effective treatment method is to take schizophrenia medication regularly. If the patient does not take schizophrenia medication regularly, the chances of symptom recurrence will increase.

Symptoms that appear can be:

  • Negative symptoms, such as loss of motivation for life, difficulty concentrating, unable to show expression and feeling, no desire to care for yourself.
  • Positive symptoms, such as hallucinating and having strong beliefs about things that don't exist or are wrong (delusions).
  • Having a mindset disorder, for example, a mindset that is strange and difficult to understand by others.
  • Difficult to remember (memory disturbance).
  • Difficult to establish social relationships with other people.
  • A mood or mood that changes easily.

Benefits of Antipsychotic Drugs

Schizophrenia drugs or antipsychotics work by changing the activity of certain chemicals in the brain. These drugs are given in the form of drinking drugs, such as tablets, capsules, or syrup, and some are in the form of injections.




Antipsychotic drugs can help reduce symptoms of schizophrenia. The effects were seen in schizophrenics after taking this drug include:

  • Reduced hallucinations.
  • Delusions begin to weaken and disappear after a few weeks.
  • Reduced anxiety, guilt, tension, and difficulty concentrating.
  • The ability to interact with others is better.

After 6 weeks of taking schizophrenia drugs or regular antipsychotic drugs, most sufferers will feel that their condition is generally much better than before.

It should be understood that antipsychotic drugs can indeed help prevent recurrence and relieve symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations and delusions, but cannot cure schizophrenia completely.

Most sufferers need to take the medication in the long term, even when there are no symptoms, so as not to relapse.

Taking antipsychotic drugs in doses recommended by doctors regularly is expected to maintain mental and physical health conditions for people with schizophrenia to remain stable. That way, various therapies and other efforts made, such as psychotherapy and family support, can provide optimal results.

Read Also : 5 Tips for Facing Schizophrenic Sufferers

Side Effects of Antipsychotic Drugs

At present, there are two categories of antipsychotic drugs, namely first-generation antipsychotic drugs (haloperidol and chlorpromazine) and second-generation (risperidone, olanzapine, and quetiapine). A mental health specialist (psychiatrist) will determine the type and dosage of the drug users based on the diagnosis and condition of the patient.

Each drug has different side effects, but in general, the side effects that might be caused by atypical drugs are:

Extrapyramidal syndrome

This syndrome consists of a set of symptoms consisting of:

  • Dystonia or muscles move uncontrollably, especially the muscles in the neck area. This condition can cause the head to snap or look back repeatedly, eyes glaring, tongue sticking out, and unnatural posture.
  • Akathisia, where patients feel restless and continue to move the body.
  • Tardive dyskinesia, which is characterized by the mouth repeatedly chewing or sucking.
  • Symptoms resemble Parkinson's disease, such as trembling (tremor) and body movements

This symptom of extrapyramidal syndrome is more common in schizophrenic patients who use first-generation antipsychotic drugs.

Other side effects

In addition to the extrapyramidal syndrome, there are also several other side effects of the medication for schizophrenia, such as:

Increased body weight, as well as increased blood sugar and cholesterol levels. This effect is mainly due to second-generation antipsychotics.

  • Limp.
  • Dizzy.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Heartbeat.
  • Skin rash.
  • Libido disorders.

Read Also : Various causes of male libido decline

Uncomfortable side effects are indeed one reason many patients or their families stop the treatment of schizophrenia when symptoms begin to improve. But keep in mind, these drugs are not recommended to be stopped suddenly without the knowledge of the doctor, because it can trigger a recurrence of symptoms of schizophrenia.

If the dose of the drug needs to be reduced to prevent the risk of side effects of the drug, the doctor will usually reduce it gradually. In addition, the side effects of antipsychotic drugs can be minimized by administering anticholinergic drugs, which are usually used for the treatment of Parkinson's disease.

It is important for schizophrenic patients to routinely examine the doctor and tell the progress of the symptoms so that the dosage of the drug is adjusted to the patient's last condition. If the schizophrenic patient is difficult to communicate with, the family is expected to accompany during the examination.

 





References

References

1. National Institute of Health (2016). National Institute of Mental Health. Schizophrenia.

2. Royal College of Psychiatrists UK. Schizophrenia. 

3. Framingham, J. Psych Central (2018). Schizophrenia: The Challenges of Taking Medication.


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Health and clinical interests include all aspects of infectious diseases

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