Hello Lee, first off I’d like to express my gratitude toward you for choosing to work in the mental health/medical field. As a person who suffers from a mental illness it is nice to know there are people interested in learning more in order to help. Now let’s get to talking about medications!
Note: This is from my personal experience with treatment for schizophrenia paranoia.
First off I’d like to say that when it comes to medication, and treatment for mental illness, it would be better to view patients as individuals. By that I mean two people can (and often do) react differently to the same medication. For example, I take 10 milligrams of Abilify once daily. There are a few posters here who also take abilify, some have stated it works for them (as it does me) others have said it did not help much.
I can’t speak for everyone of course, I simply wanted to share that there is no one miracle antipsychotic that will work for everyone. I’d imagine you might have heard that already while doing research. Nonetheless, I felt it would be good to mention it. Onto my personal experiences with antipsychotics and treatment for a mental illness!
I was diagnosed with schizophrenia paranoia when I was 20 years old. Before that I had a relatively normal and productive life. Sometimes memories of my life before schizophrenia seem like a dream. Anyway, the very first antipsychotic I was placed.on after leaving a psychiatric hold was Haldol (also known as Haliperidol) Deconoate. It was administered by a psychiatrist once a week.
At the time I was newly diagnosed and highly skeptical about the illness and the medications for it. Many people seem to be during the first couple of years after first being diagnosed but again, I don’t speak for everyone. At the time of diagnosis, I was around at a fairly healthy 180 pounds (and 5’11"). The Haldol was given to me as an intramuscular injection on the butt cheek. (As a 20 year old it was not exactly a positive experience.)
Well, the Haldol certainly stopped my psychosis however it was at the cost of some harsh side effects. I should mention that I have nothing against those who take Haldol especially if it works best for them, the thing is, it had a detrimental impact on me. In those days, I was a college student, had a job, and was physically active. (I’d play football soccer [for fun, not in a league] around 3 times a week).
After receiving the first dose I went home and remember feeling slightly sore (that is pretty normal) then falling asleep on a couch. My memory is a little hazy of those days now. Over the next two months of continued Haldol, everyone around me noticed certain drastic changes in my lifestyle. I was sleeping on the couch throughout the day and would only wake up to eat before sleeping again.
I remember drooling and having some good friends who had heard I was going through some rough times dropping by to visit. Naturally, I could not work. I tried to go back to college after missing a few weeks though I had fallen behind and ended up dropping out. My life was effectively turned upside down. And to top it off, I had one problem (that persists to this very day); I was gaining a lot of weight.
My acting psychiatrist at the time (who was excellent, the only reason why he is no longer my psychiatrist is because I moved 400 miles away) realized that the medication had begun to show some adverse side effects. The first thing he did was reduce the dose in half. That did help some although I still had side effects.
(Gah! My apologies, the post is considerably long and my phone is running low on battery, I’ll continue later. If you want a very brief version of it, I have tried Haldol Deconoate, Risperdal (in dissolvable pill form), Thorazine, Prolixin, Risperdal Consta, Invega Sustenna, Invega Trinza, Olanzapine, and Aripiprazole (Abilify). Some worked better than others for me. Risperdal Consta was okay, Invega Sustenna was fairly good in my treatment, Abilify so far has been “the right meds” a term some posters here are familiar with when expressing proper treatment. Sometimes it can take years to find “the right meds”. I may have missed a med or two, however if I did, I wasn’t on that for long. Different meds have different side effects. Some people react well to meds that I did not. I just want to make it clear, I don’t want to make anyone feel less for finding a treatment that works for them. Well, time to charge my phone. I was planning on going into more detail about side effects, how my symptoms were affected, and some positive experiences I had with particular meds as well. Oh and, I was also administered medication by a nurse practitioner for about two years so you definitely can find a way to help people in a similar position to mine. Again my apologies for cutting it short, hope that helps you some!)