Note: This information came from the websites of NAMI, goodtherapy.org and other sources, as well as my own experience.
Antipsychotics come in two major categories: typical and atypical. Occasionally they are called first and second generation.
The antipsychotics developed in the mid-20th century are the typical and first generation class. Atypical or second generation were developed more recently. These medications reduce or eliminate the symptoms of psychosis, such as delusions and hallucinations, by affecting the brain chemical dopamine.
Both types of antipsychotics are used to treat schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. The atypical also are used to treat acute mania, bipolar disorder and treatment-resistant depression. Both kinds work, but they have different side effects.
What are the names of these medications?
- Typical antipsychotics include:
- Atypical antipsychotics include:
What are the side effects?
Side effects are most common at the beginning, and most get better over time. The most common are:
- Upset stomach
- Increased appetite
First generation antipsychotics are more likely to cause movement issues, such as tardive dyskinesia (a condition in which the brain misfires resulting in random, uncontrollable muscle movements and tics.)
The second generation can cause weight gain.
How long does it take to produce results?
It often takes four to six weeks for the medication to fully work. However, in the first three days, the person may feel less upset and angry.
After one or two weeks, the person may have a better mood and improved self care habits. You may see clearer thinking, with fewer hallucinations and delusions.
How long do people take this medication?
It depends on the situation: how bad the problems were, how long the illness lasted before treatment, and how many times they have had episodes. Some people only need it for one or two years, while others need it for a lifetime.