Antipsychotics

Treating Psychotic Experiences

What Are They?

Antipsychotics are psychiatric drugs which are available on prescription, and are licensed to treat types of mental health problems whose symptoms include psychotic experiences.

Examples of Psychotic Experiences

Examples include:

  • schizophrenia
  • schizoaffective disorders
  • some forms of bipolar disorder
  • severe depression

Some antipsychotics may also be used to treat:

  • severe anxiety (but only in very low doses)
  • physical problems, such as persistent hiccups, problems with balance
    and nausea (feeling sick)
  • agitation and psychotic experiences in dementia (although they're not
    usually recommended in this case)
How Are They Taken

Antipsychotics can be prescribed to be taken in various different ways. Most commonly this will be orally in tablet or liquid form, but some of them can also be prescribed as depot injections.

What should I know before taking antipsychotics?

Informed consent

The law says that you have the right to make an informed decision about which treatment(s) to have. To consent properly, you need to have enough information to understand what the treatment is, what its benefits should be, possible harms it might cause, its chance of success, and available alternative treatments.

Even after you have given your consent you can change your mind at any time. Consent is fundamental to treatment, and treatment given without consent can amount to assault and negligence.

However, if you are in hospital as an involuntary patient under the Mental Health Act (sectioned), you can be treated without your consent. For more information on this, see the Mind page Consent to medical treatment.

If you have taken medication before, you may know which drugs work best for you. You might want to write a statement saying which drugs have and haven’t helped you in the past, to help make the right choice in the future; especially if you are not able to make your wishes known clearly at the time.

How Can This Be Done
  • making a note on your care plan
  • using a crisis card
  • making an advance statement (see Mind's legal briefing on the Mental
  • Capacity Act 2005)
Find Out More

Download the PDF about Antipsychotics

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