• ADHD books published by NorthEast Books & Publishing, by Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology
  • ADHD books published by NorthEast Books & Publishing, by Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology


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Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry Is Medicating a Nation, by Charles Barber

In 2006, 227 million antidepressant prescriptions were dispensed in the United States, more than any other class of medication; in that same year, the United States accounted for 66 percent of the global antidepressant market.

Barber explores the ways in which pharmaceutical companies first create the need for a drug and then rush to fill it, and reveals that the increasing pressure Americans are under to medicate themselves (direct-to-consumer advertising, fewer nondrug therapeutic options, the promise of the quick fix, the blurring of distinction between mental illness and everyday problems). The pharmaceutical industry is profit-driven.

Refusing Care: Forced Treatment and the Rights of the Mentally Ill,
by Elyn R. Saks

Elyn Saks, who herself battles with schizophrenia, is a writer, professor, and spokesperson for schizophrenia. Saks, in her book, Refusing Care, helps the reader to appreciate that, even in serious situations, the patient still has the right to refuse certain types of medical care, in this case drug treatment. She feels that it would be rare situations where forced drug treatment would be appropriate. She is an eloquent and dignified, humorous speaker, and spoke at Columbia University earlier in 2009 on subjects related to schizophrenia. Her ideas on the subject are worth taking note of.

Blaming the Brain: The Truth About Drugs and Mental Health by Elliot Valenstein

Blaming the Brain provides evidence that the medical model or "chemical imbalance" theory of mental health is not accurate. It is a detailed, well-documented account worth reading.

Page updated: January 31, 2016

Antipsychotic Drugs: Effects and Side Effects

Typical Antipsychotic Drugs

Typical antipsychotics are also referred to as major tranquilizers or neuroleptics. They are an older class of antipsychotics, used predominantly until 1994 when atypical antipsychotics were released for general use. Still used today, when other drugs are not effective, and in institutional settings. Sometimes used for seniors to control agitation. Controversial use in nursing homes on seniors. Some studies indicate that they may increase the risk of death for seniors.

The first typical antipsychotic to be used on a wide-scale basis was Thorazine, which was introduced to mental institutions around 1958. Thorazine changed the practice of psychiatry in mental institutions. It was found that the drug quieted agitated patients, and contributed to a more serene atmosphere in mental institutions. Gone were the days of widespread use of lobotomies and physical restraints (50,000 forced lobotomies were carried out in the United States during several decades prior to 1960).

Typical antipsychotics are sometimes referred to as first generation antipsychotics, neuroleptics, or classical neuroleptics, or major tranquilizers.

These may also be used for the treatment of acute mania, agitation, and other conditions. The first typical antipsychotics to enter clinical use were the phenothiazines. Stronger side effect profile than atypical antipsychotics. Sedation and heavy sedation common. These are the drugs that have been used as "chemical straightjackets" or as a "chemical lobotomy" in mental institutions. When used heavily they can be incapacitating. Overmedicating in mental institutions can be common.

"'Chemical lobotomy' and regressive electroshock bring about alterations in behavior superficially resembling those of lobotomy, but without the changes in personality that are the object of lobotomy." (Freeman, W.)
See page: A Closer Look at Biopharmacology

Antipsychotic drugs - Types, Uses, Effects, Side Effects:

Generic: chlorpromazine
Trade Name: Thorazine
Description: Low potency dopamine blockade

Generic: thioridazine
Trade: Mellaril
Description: Sometimes classified as a minor tranquilizer. A derivative of the first typical antipsychotic, Thorazine.

Generic: fluphenazine
Trade: Prolixin
Description: Extremely high potency antipsychotic. Derivative of chloropromazine (Thorazine). 50-70 times more potent than chloropromazine (Thorazine). Given orally in institutional settings, or by long-acting intra-muscular injection especially for those non-compliant with medicine and who have frequent relapses. Used for severe psychosis, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Generic: haloperidol
Trade: Haldol
Other trade names: Aloperidin, Bioperidolo, Brotopon, Dozic, Duraperidol (Germany), Einalon S, Eukystol, Haldol, Halosten, Keselan, Linton, Peluces, Serenace, Serenase, and Sigaperidol.
Description: High potency antipsychotic
Haloperidol is an older antipsychotic used in the treatment of schizophrenia and for acute psychotic states and delirium. A long acting injection given every 4 weeks to people with schizophrenia or related illnesses who have a poor compliance with medication and with frequent relapses.

Generic: mesoridazine
Trade: Serentil

Psychosis (especially schizophrenia), agitation, delusions, hallucinations, aggressive or violent behavior.

Other Typical Antipsychotics


Generic: Thiothixene
Generic: Trifluoperazine

Generic: Loxapine
Loxapac, Loxitane

Generic: Perphenazine
Prochlorperazine Compazine, Buccastem, Stemetil

Generic: Pimozide

Generic: Zuclopenthixol

Effects and Side Effects of Typical Antipsychotics

Variable in suppressing symptoms. Sedating, extremely sedating, dry mouth.

Long-term Effects

  • motor disturbances
  • Parkinsonism or Parkinson-like symptoms (in teens also)

  • tardive dyskinesia (which involves involuntary facial movements, a disfiguring disturbance e of motor control).
  • Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, or NMS

    Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrom (NMS) is a rare, but potentially fatal side effect of antipsychotic treatment. It is characterized by fever, muscle rigidity, autonomic dysfunction, and altered mental status. Discontinuation of the use of typical antipsychotic is of necessity.

    Typical Antipsychotics Page Sources

    1. Antipsychotics: Side-effects of Typical Antipsychotics, (2000). Professor George Beaumon Medscape Today.

    2. Introduction: Mental Health Medications, (2008). National Institute of Mental Health.

    3. PSYCHOSURGERY—Present Indications and Future Prospects, (June 1958). Walter Freeman. Western Journal of Medicine. PubMed Central

    4. Typical Antipsychotics, (November 2011). Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust.

    References Related to Antipsychotic Drugs - off-site links

    Psychiatric Drugs: Thorazine, (1999). Gene Zimmer. SNTP

    The risks of prescribing (atypical) antipsychotics to kids, (February 5, 2012. Carly. The Globe and Mail.

    Szalavitz, M. August 9, 2012. Antipsychotic Prescriptions in Children Have Skyrocketed: Study The dramatic rise of antipsychotic prescribing in youth occurred in conjunction with the illegal marketing of the drugs by their makers, resulting in multibillion-dollar settlements with the government. Time Healthland (Time Magazine). (off-site link)

    Pages Related to Atypical Antipsychotics (on-site)

    Issues in Psychiatry - A Closer Look at Psychopharmacology

    Psychiatric Drugs - Types

    Opium and Brief History of Psychiatric Drugs

    Atypical Antipsychotics