What are the side-effects of antipsychotic meds?

Antipsychotics are a type of medication, used to treat a variety of mental health conditions. Their main uses are for mental illnesses that include psychotic symptoms, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. But they’re also used for other conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping.

Like all medications, antipsychotics can cause side-effects. Finding the right treatment for a mental health condition is a balancing act—you and your doctor work together to weigh the potential benefits of a medication against the potential side-effects. Medications affect each person differently, so this usually involves a lot of trial and error.

Still, it’s good to be aware of the potential side-effects a medication may cause before you start taking it. Knowing that something you’re experiencing may be a side-effect of a medication you’re taking can help you make the right decision about what to do next.

It’s common to experience these side-effects while taking antipsychotics:

  • Stiffness and shakiness
  • Feeling sluggish and slow in your thinking
  • Uncomfortable restlessness
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Breast swelling or tenderness
  • Weight gain
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety

Less common side-effects:

  • Involuntary body movements or facial tics (tardive dyskinesia and other movement disorders)
  • Decreased white blood cell production/reduce immune function
  • Pancreatitis
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Diabetes

If you experience any of these symptoms while taking an antipsychotic medication, speak with your doctor. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best way forward.

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