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Explains what antipsychotics are used for, how the medication works, possible side effects and information about withdrawal.
Many psychiatrists believe that severe mental health problems like schizophrenia must be treated with medication, but if you don't want to take antipsychotics, there are alternative treatments you can try. You may find it’s possible to manage your symptoms, or to make a full recovery, without medication. This page covers:
"In conjunction with antipsychotics, I have found that distraction techniques are a great way of dealing with troubling thoughts and voices in my mind. Anything and everything that is a distraction is ever so helpful for me, from painting my nails to baking a cake, from watching a DVD to colouring."
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) – the organisation that produces best practice guidelines in health care – recommends that, for most conditions, you should be offered other kinds of treatments in addition to medication, such as a talking treatment. For more information see our pages on:
For information about which types of talking therapy are recommended for specific conditions, you can look up our information on different diagnoses in our A-Z of mental health.
You might find this kind of treatment a helpful way of dealing with your symptoms – especially if you find it difficult to talk about them. You may be able to express your feelings very effectively through painting, clay work, music or using metaphor in stories or drama therapy.
See our pages on arts therapies for more information.
Ecotherapy is the name given to a wide range of treatment programmes which aim to improve your mental and physical wellbeing through doing outdoor activities in nature.
See our pages on ecotherapy for more information.
Some people also find other complementary therapies helpful in managing symptoms, such as aromatherapy, reflexology or ear acupuncture. Complementary therapies may also help manage some of the side effects of medication, if you decide to continue with it.
See our pages on complementary and alternative therapies for more information.
"I enjoy prayer and meditation as well as working at my local Food Bank. I also enjoy doing creative writing."
Making connections with people who can relate to what you're going through can be really helpful.
"[What helps me is] running, healthy diet and Pilates. I also have friends and a support group that I trust."
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.