ON MENTAL ILLNESS: The Binding Effects of Antipsychotics

Jack Bragen
Saturday August 18, 2018 - 03:37:00 PM

"Muscle Rigidity" is one of the many documented side effects that are probable in all antipsychotic medications. We also get "motor restlessness," as well as dry mouth, tremors, and, in instances more frequent than doctors would like to admit, there is "Tardive Dyskinesia." Tardive Dyskinesia is a syndrome of disfiguring, crippling, involuntary movements of the mouth, face, and upper body. Some of the militant pro-medication advocates have tried to assert that TD is a symptom of the illness. This is one of the more bogus things I've heard someone say. 

The newer antipsychotics in the past ten years have been called, "Second Generation Antipsychotics." Twenty years ago, the doctors and the drug companies called them "Atypical Antipsychotics." The pharma industry and psychiatrists were promoting the false impression that the newer antipsychotics did not have the same awful side effects that the earlier ones are known to have. After atypicals had been prescribed for about ten years, it was clear that they caused the same side effects. 

It is thanks to "second generation antipsychotics" and numerous other factors, that the mental health consumer self-help movement is essentially extinguished. The newer meds are more powerful at suppressing brain function than the earlier ones. 

Because of the fact that my "positive symptoms" of psychosis can become so severe, the disease forces me to take very large dosages of two antipsychotics, one of them is an older medication, and the other is a second generation antipsychotic. If I had a viable alternative to being medicated, I would be utilizing that. However, every time that I have tried to reduce or discontinue meds, the results have been anywhere from very bad, to a disaster. 

Medication makes it painful to concentrate for extended periods. When I write, I have to take frequent breaks. When I read, I have to take frequent breaks, about every ten pages. As a teenager, I could read about fifty pages of dense material at a time, and I could read over a hundred pages in a day. This impressed an English teacher. 

When I try to concentrate for extended periods now, the side effects interfere with that. My head and entire body tense up, and this worsens and becomes unbearable after a while. I am guessing that when I concentrate too long, I am using up the available serotonin in the synapses. The medication blocks serotonin. 

Physically, I have poor movement, and this is attributable to getting a little older and to the meds. Some people have likened antipsychotics to a "chemical strait jacket." Antipsychotic side effects, to an extent, resemble Parkinson's disease. This is why additional medications intended to relieve side effects are called, "antiparkinsonians." Parkinson's disease seems to have some common threads with schizophrenia. Apparently, Parkinson's sometimes causes hallucinations. 

Being put on antipsychotic medication can mean years of misery until you learn essentially to tolerate and ignore the side effects. Having side effects becomes the new normal. Meds that are supposed to alleviate some of the side effects have their own side effects. 

Medications haven't been introduced that don't cause this suffering. Such medications either don't exist or are being withheld. As I say, if I had a viable alternative to being medicated for psychosis, I would employ that. It is not worth it for people with a psychotic disorder to try going without medication, because psychosis must be addressed on a physical, brain level. Secondly, if you don't have proper use of your mind, you have nothing. 

Untreated psychosis is no way to live, and it can get you or someone else killed. When psychotic, you cannot live in society and you will be completely unable to make a life for yourself, or even survive. It is foolish to try noncompliance, especially if this has not worked in the past. While being medicated is bad, untreated psychosis is a hundred times worse. 

To get tangential: We need more brain research to find better methods of treatment of mental illness, treatments without side these awful side effects that induce large amounts of suffering and/or being crippled. If the current conservative government is going to blame mental illness for the numerous shootings, so that they can deflect attempts at gun control legislation, they need to stop being hypocrites and take the logical step that follows from their assertion, that of providing more funds toward mental health research and treatment.