Antipsychotics = major tranquilizers?

I have seen this reference before and I don’t really understand it. When I search this I can find other’s asking yet no concrete answer.
I see:
Typical antipsychotics (sometimes referred to as conventional antipsychotics, classical neuroleptics or major tranquilizers)
Antipsychotics (also known as neuroleptics or major tranquilizers)
Typical antipsychotics, also known as conventional antipsychotics or major tranquilizers…

Based on this is seems 1st generation or typical AP’s are more known as tranquilizers. Not 2nd generation or atypical AP’s. It seems more like an aka reference rather then a fact.

I think I like how wikipedia breaks it up and it appears the term major tranquilizer is not in use so much anymore as it seemed to refer more to the affect then what the medication actually is.

Until the 1970s there was considerable debate within psychiatry on the most appropriate term to use to describe the new drugs.[160] In the late 1950s the most widely used term was “neuroleptic”, followed by “major tranquilizer” and then “ataraxic”.[160] The first recorded use of the term tranquilizer dates from the early nineteenth century.[161] In 1953 Frederik F. Yonkman, a chemist at the Swiss based Cibapharmaceutical company, first used the term tranquilizer to differentiate reserpine from the older sedatives.[162] The wordneuroleptic was derived from the Greek: “νεῦρον”(neuron, originally meaning “sinew” but today referring to the nerves) and “λαμβάνω” (lambanō, meaning “take hold of”). Thus, the word means taking hold of one’s nerves. This may refer to common side effects such as reduced activity in general, as well as lethargy and impaired motor control. Although these effects are unpleasant and in some cases harmful, they were at one time, along with akathisia, considered a reliable sign that the drug was working.[158] The term “ataraxy” was coined by the neurologist Howard Fabing and the classicist Alister Cameron to describe the observed effect of psychic indifference and detachment in patients treated with chlorpromazine.[163] This term derived from the Greek adjective “ἀτάρακτος” (ataraktos), which means “not disturbed, not excited, without confusion, steady, calm”.[160] In the use of the terms “tranquilizer” and “ataractic”, medical practitioners distinguished between the “major tranquilizers” or “major ataractics”, which referred to drugs used to treat psychoses, and the “minor tranquilizers” or “minor ataractics”, which referred to drugs used to treat neuroses.[160] While popular during the 1950s, these terms are infrequently used today. They are being abandoned in favor of “antipsychotic”, which refers to the drug’s desired effects.[160] Today, “minor tranquilizer” can refer to anxiolytic and/or hypnotic drugs such as the benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepines, which have some antipsychotic properties and are recommended for concurrent use with antipsychotics, and are useful for insomnia or drug-induced psychosis.[164] They are powerful (and potentially addictive) sedatives.

Antipsychotics are broadly divided into two groups, the typical or first-generation antipsychotics and the atypical or second-generation antipsychotics. The typical antipsychotics are classified according to their chemical structure while the atypical antipsychotics are classified according to their pharmacological properties. These include serotonin-dopamine antagonists (seedopamine antagonist and serotonin antagonist), multi-acting receptor-targeted antipsychotics (MARTA, those targeting several systems), and dopamine partial agonists, which are often categorized as atypicals.[54]

Antipsychotic drugs are now the top-selling class of pharmaceuticals in America, generating annual revenue of about $14.6 billion.[165]


Zyprexa made me really sleepy. Abilify does not. I have no problems with insomnia or too much sleepiness with Abilify. I don’t get drowsy or “drunk”.

Drs seem eager to pass out these pills. Medicine is a business, drug companies and doctors are not eager to find cures for our ailments ,as they’d go out of business if everyone was healthy. What would a physician do if you were healthy? nothing. Instead they invent more pills.

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Zyprexa also sedated me heavily it made me a zombie and quetiapine/seroquel made me sleep a lot but now I’m on chlorpromazine/Thorazine and I’m not sedated at all.

However saying this my mum accidentally took my evening pills during the morning and it sedated her so much she was taken to hospital as she could barely walk or stay awake. The doctors thought she’d been spiked with rohypnol. She slept for about 24 hours I felt terrible but it also made me stunned I take that medicine everyday and it doesn’t sedate me at all.

It just goes to show how these meds can effect those who don’t need them, Or how it effects each person differently, I find it fascinating and frightening all at once!


When I was diagnosed I asked my psychiatrist for a tranquiliser to help with my intense anxiety at the time. She told me that the anti psychotic I was prescribed is a tranquilizer and she didn’t prescribed anything else for me for the anxiety. I was on Risperdal imi at the time. My anxiety levels did came down as time went on. So my psychiatrist do still refer to antipsychotics as major tranquilizers

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All antypsychotics have tranquilizer effect, they just want to keep us tranquilized so we wont rage on anger even if we become psychotic wile on med.

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The older typical antipsychotics do a more efficient job at “tranquilizing” people than the newer atypical antipsychotics

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I guess for me when I think tranquilizer, I think drug intended to put asleep. I’m not used to the term being used in connection with prescribed medications. I get that AP’s have tranquilizing affects which seems to be the reason why they are also known as or referred to as tranquilizers. They are not created to be tranquilizers is I think the distinction I was going for or questioning.

Actually, most are. Thorazine was developed as a pre-surgical anesthetic.


@anon40540444 is right, the first typical antipsychotics were originally created for the purpose of completely sedating the patient before surgery - Thorazine is a prime example of this. The old Soviet Union used very high doses of Haldol to subdue and completely pacify their “enemies”, Haldol when prescibed wisely benefits many people, but at higher doses has a definite tranquilizing effect. Minor tranquilizers like benzos are what most people think of when hearing or seeing the word tranquilizer


Yes, the USSR gave people 300-500 mg of Haldol for being dissidents.


Most antipsychotics are major tranquilizers. Ones like Clozapine and Abilify are not, however. Taking too much of an antipsychotic makes you feel depressed and sedated, most of the time. They’re known to just knock people out in high doses.

If someone healthy were to take my dose of Geodon, they would sleep for a day. I take it and just need a coffee to function.

I’ve seen Zyprexa knock someone out in 15 minutes when they couldn’t sleep… Also, people who take Seroquel have major tranquilizer effects. Both are Atypicals.

Hey guys, I an reading about iodine deficiency and problems with the use of flourine and bromine on human. The problems go with that really reflect 100% of what I have gone through after receiving psychiatric drugs. I mean all of the side-effects and negative symptoms and cognitive symptoms. I doubled my body weight after a few months on AP and changed from an active high functioning normal person to a low energy confused lethargic person who lie on bed 20 hrs a day struggling to get up and do not find enjoyment in anything as long as I was on med.

Highly recommend you to read about iodine supplementation. I read about brominization of drugs and then find that the active ingredient of an anti depressant I was prescribed on, which is Prozac/fluoxetine, is fluorine itself. I was medicating myself with a poison.

The good news is that we can reverse the displacement process of halide by supplementing iodine.

Highly recommend you to read about Dr Guy Abraham and Dr David Brownstein’s article and books. You can find some articles in


Ahhh, another anti-psychiatry post. Fluoride is not the active ingredient in Prozac. It is a hydorchloric acid.

The name for sleep drugs is “barbituate” and for anxiolytics it is “benzodiazapine”.
Benzos are controlled substances and have very high abuse potential. Kids take Xanax with vodka and get really messed up. I need xanax to function.

Antipsychotics actually were intended to pacify raving mad psych patients at first. They dramatically lower dopamine and serotonin and cortisol levels in the brain. When I was on too much Geodon I was depressed and sleepy. My friends could tell when I had taken my night time dose, I got silent and stared at the floor.

These days they are engineered to have minimal side effects so that schizophenics can function, not sleep and drool most of the day. Old antipsychotics are called neuroleptics because they would ■■■■ up peoples nervous systems and they call the parkinsons-like side effects “the thorazine shuffle” because some people, not all, walk like they have parkinsons on thorazine.

Other side effects are annoying crap like drooling and constipation, and tardive dyskinesia, when you cant control your facial muscles and tongue. I’ve been constipated for a week before when I was trying out meds last summer.

But like Alien and Wave said, old school meds ARE straight up tranquilizers with antipsychotic properites. Actually most of the atypicals are too, they just dont have such dramatic side effects. But yeah old school meds have a reputation for taking a kicking and screaming person and putting them fast asleep.

I asked my doc for thorazine at first and he asked me what on earth made me want it and I said “Im crazy as ■■■■”. He said “yeah, it will work but you have a 7% chance of getting tardive dyskinesia and it would probably dope you up too much”. I am a behavioral neuroscience major and I had just taken a class on drugs so we settled on Geodon because it is one of the least sedating meds. He said to keep lifting weights and take a less sedating med. I was like OK. It took forever to get the right dosage and timing down. Then it gave me akathisia, restless legs, and he put me on more meds for that. I really wanted to be sedated but he convinced me that tardive dyskinesia was just no, it is irreversible in some cases. I knew this but he just wouldnt give me thorazine.

I was an alcoholic and loved being sedated. I wanted something to replace what a fifth of whiskey did for me.

To be more accurate, it’s fluoxetine hydrochloride, with 3 fluorine in its chemical formula.

I think I have not told you not to take anti-psychotics. I am writing about the side effects and provide some possibility people could help themselves manage it. You have every right to ignore me.

Thank you everyone. I do appreciate all the feedback and information.

I thought that tardive dyskinesia was along the same lines as Parkinsons and that it was basically being caused by lowering of domapine levels in the body due to trying to lower it in the brain. That the brain may need a lower dose but the body doesn’t. Hopefully I’m not that off in my interpretation of what I have been trying to research :astonished:

@BarbieBF Let’s use Haldol as an example. In doses over 10mg, it causes a 98% upregulation of dopamine. More dopamine equals more dyskinesia. Parkinsonism and TD are examples of EPS (extra pyramidal symptoms), as are dystonia and akathisia.

EPS’s being drug induced side affects like too little dopamine causing TD? Is my previous post at all accurate?