The Dangers and Side Effects of Psychiatric Medications
Psychotic medicines have always been under the scanner because of the side effects linked to them. The old anti-psychotics have proven to be toxic to the brain in many instances. When a patient needs their brain to calm down, the anti-psychotics work almost against them as the brain cells start to die because of their reactions in the brain. There are, however, medications that can be neuroprotective in nature and help the brain recover from the psychiatric condition.
Blast From The Past
Over the years, doctors have done numerous scans on patients who have schizophrenia. They found out that the brain cells deteriorate over time and the ventricles in the brain would get bigger as time passed. This brought into question as to whether the illness or condition of the patient was making the situation worse or the anti-psychotics that the patient took was taking a toll. On further research, it was found that the most common anti-psychotic that was used on such patients, Haldol, was one of the key reasons why the ventricles in the brain got bigger. This meant that as the ventricles got bigger, the brain started to become smaller.
In recent years, it has been found that Haldol is the contributing agent that causes the brain cells to die. There are many psychiatrists who still don’t believe that Haldol is the reason for the brain destruction. This is because they are unaware of the modern research results and how these medicines are affecting the patients in one way or the other. Not only Haldol, there are other old anti-psychotics that have been proved to cause toxicity to the brain cells and eventually the cells die because of these medicines. What makes the situation worse is the fact that a disease like schizophrenia is already a degenerative one and with these medicines, the patient starts to deteriorate fast instead of taking a step forward to recovery.
The Modern Improvements
The modern medicines that are used today are rather neuro-protective. On the contrary to the old anti-psychotics, the new ones protect the brain cells from dying. In addition to that, they also promote neurogenesis; they have the ability to produce and grow new neurons in the brain. This happens because the medicines are created to affect serotonin receptors and not just the dopamine receptors.
The issue with Haldol is that it is neither fully neuro-protective not it is degenerative. It is the dose that causes the problem with patients. Another reason why this medication is on the verge of extinction is that it has a lot of side effects. Apart from killing the brain cells, it can also cause stiffness in your body or lead to Parkinson’s too. Also, the toxicity level does not help the patient at any level. That is why it is better to use it on a very low dose like 1 mg or 2 mg. When patients use it such low doses, it can prove to be neuroprotective.
There have been times when patients who have had frequent panic attacks had to be admitted to the hospital and they ended up getting high doses of Haldol. That is basically leading the attack that could make the brain cells toxic. Another reason why this medicine is often used on patients and on prisoners too is that it is cheap. This makes the prisoners mentally ill. Depression is another area of concern for psychiatrists. Severe depression can often make the patient to not function for a while. After the phase of depression is over, it has been observed that the cognitive abilities of the patient go down by 2 �” 4%. This makes it an additional responsibility of the psychiatrist to make sure that the symptoms or the causes do not reoccur in the patient.
Episodes Of Recurrent Manias
This is another significant problem amongst patients. When someone has already got 5 or 6 manic episodes, it becomes difficult for them to function properly. Be it at their job or perform household activities, everything seems too tough for the patient. The ability to make basic decisions and their executive functioning decline at a staggering rate.
The Brighter Future
Amongst all the Haldol and other degenerative medicines, there is good stuff that is neuroprotective and not dangerous to the brain cells; one of them is lithium. Anyone who is above the age of 60 should take a small dose of lithium. This will reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer’s. Not just that, lithium has been proven to be a protector of the brain. They are a boon to manic depressives as these patients slow succumb to Alzheimer’s in the long-run. This can be prevented if lithium is used in very low amounts.
Another thing that is neuroprotective is NAC or Acetylcysteine. This is often given to patients who have an agitated depression attack or is getting a manic attack. It helps to produce self-antioxidant and cleans the poisons and free radicals in the body.
Research is still ongoing to make sure that the new anti-psychotics are improved. But, overall, the feedback from the psychiatrists is good. All the A-typical antipsychotics are considered safe for patients and they are neuroprotective as well. The main motive of these medicines is to not degenerate the patient in any way. It is to improve their condition from what they are presently and lead them to a healthier and more suitable environment they deserve to be in.