Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

antipsychotic medications

Chlorpromazine was one of the first antipsychotics and was first used for the treatment of psychoses in 1952. Pharmaceutical companies honed in on the idea of the apparent success of chlorpromazine and promoted their research into brain activity. In particular, a neurotransmitter is responsible for receiving messages that stimulate the production of dopamine, a chemical that, when over produced, isclosely linked with schizophrenia.

Gourney  refers to research in an effort to explore the progress into ourunderstanding of treatment methods. He relates it to the acquisition of knowledge,which has increased tremendously over the past two decades; particularly ofthe major chemical imbalances, or ‘chemical chaos’, experienced by people with schizophrenia and why the same form of antipsychotic medication may suit oneperson and be ineffective in another. However, in the main, there appears to be confirmation that people who suffer from schizophrenia respond better to antipsychoticsthan without them, and particularly to second-generation antipsychotics, or‘atypical neuroleptics’.

Watson  states that the attraction of atypical neuroleptics is their less debilitatingside effects, in particular weight gain, dry mouth, facial tics and tremorsassociated with older forms of antipsychotics. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence  recommends the rights of people with schizophrenia toexperience the best possible forms of antipsychotic treatment, psychosocial interventionsand medication.

According to Gillamand Bennet, overall, one antipsychoticappears as effective as the other with varying experience of extra pyramidal sideeffects (EPSE), e.g. tremors of the hands. The shuffling of feet while trying tomaintain a regular normal walking pace is another common symptom (this is usuallyreferred to as ‘a shuffling gait’). Raised prolactin, a hormone produced in both males and females, can be overproduced in males, which enlarges breast size inwomen and occasionally in men and has accompanying weight gain, both of which are very distressing. The person with schizophrenia may experience an excessively dry mouth or excessive saliva production. This can be very distressing as it alterstheir body image and confidence in everyday activities. It is essential that these symptoms are explained to the person and their families as early detection andreporting assist in a rapid response and review of medication. These symptoms arecited as reasons for non-compliance (non acceptance) with medication. However,the term ‘compliance’ has been replaced by the term ‘concordance’, which suggests that treatment is an equal partnership based on mutualeducation and a discussion of the benefits and side effects of medication.

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