Antipsychotic medications can be used as a short-term treatment option for bipolar disorder. This form of medication aims to control psychotic symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, and mania. They are also used as “off label” sedatives for anxiety, insomnia, and agitation. Usually taken with mood-stabilizing drugs, antipsychotics can decrease mania symptoms until the stabilizers go into full effect. Some can even stabilize moods without another drug. In that case, they can be used for long term treatment.
Antipsychotics help control thinking, perception and mood. Some side effects that may occur include:
- Weight gain
- High cholesterol levels
- Increased diabetes risk
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
The long term use of antipsychotics can put a patient at risk for the condition tardive dyskinesia. Newer atypical antipsychotics have a lower potential of causing this condition. Patients with tardive dyskinesia experience random repetitive movements of the tongue, lip smacking, chewing motions of the jaw, or grimacing. There is no current FDA-approved medication for tardive dyskinesia. If you are required to go on a long-term treatment with antipsychotic medications for your bipolar disorder, speak with your doctor on the potential side effects. Y
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