“The precise mechanism by which the medicine works is unknown.” This is what is written in the drug information for Seroquel, the second antipsychotic my son was put on. They say “This is a major area of research. One belief is that psychotic symptoms are related to over activity in the brain of the neurotransmitter dopamine. It is thought that antipsychotic medications reduce the activity of dopamine in the synaptic cleft. They do this by blocking the dopamine receptors – that is, preventing dopamine from attaching to the receptors. These medicines may also affect several other neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and glutamate. The overall purpose of anti-psychotic treatment is to restore the disturbed chemical balance of the brain.”
In fact, the atypical anti-psychotics block several other neurotransmitters that block transmission of neurons from other governing centers in the brain, such as the Limbic region that provides the emotional color in life, the movement center of the brain which governs movement and the cerebellum, the cognitive center of the brain which governs thinking.
These adverse effects result from anti-psychotics: flattened or dead emotions, movement disorders such as akinesia or movement indifference, akathisia or inner restlessness and tachycardia or Parkinson-like tremors. This is why the side effect medicine benztropine is prescribed with risperidone to take when tachycardia side effects occur. Cognitive disorders result in disconnected thoughts and slow thinking.
The hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid axis is affected and blocks the release of vital hormones, causing adverse effects such as amenorrhea, (stopping of menstrual cycles) in young women and sexual impotence in men. (Dr. Jose Mackliff, 2012)
The hypothesis about the schizophrenic brain containing an excessive number of dopaminergics receptors explains some of the effects of the antipsychotics. It explains that when the dopaminergics receptors get blocked, the symptoms improve. It also explains how the antipsychotic drugs control behaviors, but don’t cure schizophrenia. As soon as they are eliminated from the body, the receptors become free and an excessive number of them start producing the schizophrenic pathology again. (Dr. Jose Mackliff, 2012)
Since 75% of young people diagnosed with schizophrenia stop taking the medicine during the first year and a half of treatment because the side effects are so intolerable, the schizophrenia pathology begins again and again. (Promising New Programs To Treat Schizophrenia, Dr. Lisa Dixon, New York Times, Jan 2016)
The antipsychotic effect on schizophrenic patients hospitalized for a long time implies a permanent action on the cerebral synapses. The antipsychotic alters the capacity of the cell to respond to the synaptic impulse, and furthermore alters its capacity to transmit information to other nervous cells. (Dr. Jose Mackliff, Schizophrenia and Parkinson, A new and efficient regulation of dopaminergic synapses after B.E.A.M (bilateral electrocoagulation of adrenal medulla), 2016)
Antipsychotics do not eradicate symptoms, but create a state of “detachment” from them. And the actions of antipsychotics in the conditioned avoidance response model, one of the best established animal models for identifying antipsychotic action, are consistent with the idea that they dampen aberrant as well as normal motivational behavior.
My son was a highly motivated, intelligent and sexual young man. The antipsychotic drug treatment made him feel completely unmotivated, incapacitated and dead. My son chose suicide (adverse effect called the final episode) rather than to live a life not worth living.
Please leave your comments of your experiences using antipsychotic drugs and experiences with alternative treatments for schizophrenia.