Explains what antipsychotics are used for, how the medication works, possible side effects and information about withdrawal.
Some antipsychotics may also be used to treat:
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.
You can watch Steve, Joe, Laura and Ziaul talk about their experiences of taking antipsychotics in this video:
Antipsychotic drugs don't cure psychosis but they are often effective in reducing and controlling many symptoms, including:
Rather than getting rid of these symptoms completely, the drugs may just stop you feeling so bothered by them – so you feel more stable and can get on with leading your life the way you want to.
"They make me feel calm, help me sleep, stop racing thoughts and help blunt hallucinations. Meds don't make life perfect – they just help me cope with the imperfections and struggles I face."
There are several possible explanations why antipsychotic drugs can be effective in controlling and reducing psychotic symptoms:
Antipsychotic drugs tend to fall into one of two categories: first generation (older) antipsychotics and second generation (newer) antipsychotics. Both types can potentially work well, but they differ in the kind of side effects they can cause and how severe these may be.
For a full list of all antipsychotic drugs compared by type, form and half-life, see our page on comparing antipsychotics. For more details about specific antipsychotics and their side effects, you can also look up each individual drug in our A–Z of antipsychotics.
This information was published in 2016. We will revise it in 2019.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.