Antipsychotics, also known as neuroleptics, are of two kinds. They are categorized as typical and atypical antipsychotics. The older or first generation antipsychotic medication is typical and the second or newer generation of antipsychotics that was developed and approved in the nineties is known as atypical. Both typical and atypical antipsychotics have similar purposes. They are neuroleptics used to cure or regulate the symptoms of various psychotic conditions, including mood disorders, antidepressant, mania and other psychological problems. Antipsychotics must be prescribed. There are over the counter atypical and typical antipsychotics but they are not recommended.
Just to give you an idea, examples of atypical antipsychotics are amisulpride, aripiprazole, asenapine, clozapine, lurasidone hydrochloride, olanzapine, paliperidone, quetiapine and risperidone. There are various brand names or trading names of these atypical antipsychotics and we are consciously not mentioning them. A few examples of typical antipsychotics, which are the older medications, are chlorpromazine hydrochloride, flupentixol, haloperidol, levomepromazine, pericyazine, perphenazine, pimozide, prochlorperazine,sulpiride, trifluoperazine and zuclopenthixol.
Atypical Antipsychotics: Explained
Atypical antipsychotics have the ability to reduce or enhance the impact of various chemicals that affect the brain functions. The chemicals, which are also known as neurotransmitters, will have the desired impacts on the functioning of the mind depending on the psychological condition a patient suffers from. Whether it is anxiety disorder or clinical depression, any type of mania or age related psychological disorders, atypical antipsychotics are a pretty standard medication prescribed by doctors.
Atypical antipsychotics are of myriad kinds. They can affect the action of dopamine, a quintessential neurotransmitter that influences attention, memory and cognitive skills like solving problems. Dopamine also influences the control of movements. The spike or dearth of dopamine can have adverse effects on the brain and how it functions. Those with too much of dopamine will experience delusions, hallucinations and have disordered thinking. Those with too little will have poor memory, weak cognitive skills and might not be very attentive. There are of course many other effects, positive and negative, depending on the quantum of dopamine in the brain. Also, there are many other neurotransmitters that are of quintessence and significance.
List of Pros of Atypical Antipsychotics
1. Fewer Side Effects
Typical antipsychotics had a ton of side effects. Almost all medications had some kind of adverse effect on some aspect of a person’s health. Since they were primitive and had to evolve, the side effects were almost unavoidable. Atypical antipsychotics are substantially evolved from the first generation typical antipsychotics and hence there are fewer side effects. With typical antipsychotics, feelings like shakiness, moving constantly or feeling stiffness in various parts of the body were quite normal. Atypical antipsychotics have managed to avert such side effects. It is not to say that there wouldn’t be any side effect, but the chances are much less.
2. Immediate Adverse Impact Unlikely
Typical antipsychotics and all antipsychotics in history have had the tendency to cause an immediate adverse reaction. Since one tends to play with the chemicals in the body, particularly the brain, there can be rather violent reactions. Atypical antipsychotics don’t have such a risk. Years of testing, evolution of medicine and evidence of effectiveness assure you that there will be no major or disastrous reaction immediately after administering atypical antipsychotics.
3. Negligible Risk of Long Term Problems
Most medicines have some kind of long term impact. As medications tend to get their job done, they tend to affect some other part of the body, which could be a certain hormonal balance or a particular organ of the body. Atypical antipsychotics don’t pose such a threat. Unregulated psychotic drugs or antipsychotics of the past used to have rather unexpected long term risks. Today, you can be rest assured courtesy the stringent regulations and also the quality of atypical antipsychotics.
List of Cons of Atypical Antipsychotics
1. Weight Gain
Atypical antipsychotics can facilitate weight gain. Due to the changes in the brain functions and how different chemicals affect the functioning of the mind, there can be changes in perception and people will likely eat more, exercise less or even be less mobile. These avoidable fallouts can lead to weight gain. One can be watchful and with proactive help from family and friends it is easy to keep a check on weight. One side effect of atypical antipsychotics is metabolic syndrome. That will almost always lead to weight gain unless treated timely.
2. Health Problems
Atypical antipsychotics have certain side effects. Diabetes, high blood pressure, a spike in bad cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases are common side effects. They are not a given or would happen for certain but there is the risk.
Atypical Antipsychotics: The Bottom Line
Doctors have become watchful and they do factor in the overall health condition of a patient before prescribing and administering atypical antipsychotics. You can expect to be treated holistically and there are enough case studies for doctors to know which atypical antipsychotics are safe for whom.