What are antipsychotics?

Psychosis is a medical term. If you live with psychosis, you might see or hear things that aren’t there. These are known as hallucinations. Or you might have firm beliefs that don’t match up to the way others see the world. These are known as delusions.

If you live with psychosis, you will process the world around you differently from other people. This can include how you experience, believe or view things.

Some people describe psychosis as a break from reality. Doctors may call these ‘psychotic symptoms’, a ‘psychotic episode’ or a ‘psychotic experience’.

Psychotic symptoms can be part of conditions such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, personality disorder, and bipolar disorder. But some people can experience psychotic symptoms without having any of these conditions.

If you experience psychotic symptoms, your doctor may offer you antipsychotic medication to help you with your symptoms. Antipsychotics can help manage your symptoms of psychosis. This can help you feel more in control of your life, particularly if you are finding the psychotic symptoms distressing.

Research suggests 4 out of 5 people with severe mental illness, who take antipsychotics, find they’re successful in treating their symptoms. This is according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists. It isn’t possible to predict which one will work best for you, so you may have to try a few before you find the right one.

It’s important to remember it can take a few weeks for antipsychotics to work. You may not feel better straight away. Everyone responds to antipsychotics differently. It can take several days or weeks to reduce symptoms such as hallucinations or delusional thoughts. The effects of antipsychotics can take several weeks or months to work.

Some antipsychotics are used to treat mania. Mania is a symptom of bipolar disorder and psychotic symptoms of depression.

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