Antipsychotics - modifying schizophrenia


Antipsychotics - 1st paragraph

  • Antipsychotics - formerly known as neuroleptics - main class of drug to treat people with schizophrenia 
  • Cab help to reduce and control positive symptoms 
  • Fall into two categories of conventional and atypical antipsychotics 
  • Modification based upon the medical model and the biochemical theory of dopamine hypothesis 
  • Aims to reduce the amount of dopamine in the brain due to an overactive dopamine system being assumed to be the cause of hallucinations and delusions experienced during psychosis
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Conventional - 2nd Paragragh

  • Also known as 'first generation ' - developed in the 1950s such as chlorpromazine 
  • Works by blocking the postsynaptic neuron and preventing dopamine from stimulating receptor sites
  • By affecting this neurotransmission, it acts primarily as a dopamine antagonist of D2 receptor sites but also blocks other receptor subtypes such as D1, D2, D3, and D5
  • this reduction in dopamine in the synapse combined with the blockade offered by antipsychotics leads to a substantial decrease in neural activity and seen as responsible for the decline in positive symptoms like delusions and hallucinations 
  • By 1970, 85% of patients in state psychiatric hospitals were receiving chlorpromazine as the preferred method of treatment
  • Soon followed by Proxilixin, Haldol, and Loxopine - generally higher potency than chlorpromazine and could be given as an injection rather than orally in order to stabilise the  schizophrenics symptoms and modify the disorder,
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Atypical - 3rd paragraph

  • Also known as 'second generation' - developed in the 1990s
  • acts as a dopamine antagonist which means they impede dopamine messages in the brain by only temporarily occupying the receptors and rapidly dissociating to allow normal dopamine transmission. 
  • By targeting the abnormal dopamine signals as well as influencing levels of serotonin in the brain it can help to decrease the severity of symptoms for schizophrenics
  • Most well known atypical antipsychotic - Clozapine - known to be very effective in rebalancing dopamine and serotonin to improve thinking, mood, and behaviour in schizophrenics - also tend to work quicker than conventional - this can be important in the long term management of modifying the symptoms of schizophrenia 
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Prescription - 4th paragraph

  • The length of time antipsychotics prescribed is dependent on condition of the patient being treated
  • For example, if the patient only has a single schizophrenic episode, there is a 25% chance of non-reoccurrence, so continued use of drugs in some cases might be unnecessary 
  • For patients who experience multiple schizophrenic episodes, an increase in dosage over a short period can help to level overactive feelings out and help to increase the patients quality of life by modifying the symptoms so they can experience relatively normal lives
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