The Common, Damaging Effects of Antipsychotic Drugs

Examples of some of the modern antipsychotics are Abilify (aripiprazol), Seroquel (quetiapine), Zyprexa (olanzapine) and Risperdal (risperidone).

At first, the modern antipsychotics were mainly marketed for mental patients and children seized by Child Protective Services. In the 1990’s they were also marketed for elderly with dementia. In the early 2000’s they were marketed for children, including very young children and for United States soldiers.

The following is a list of some of the kinds of health damage these drugs often cause:

Tardive Dyskinesia Antipsychotics often cause tardive dyskinesia, a disease that causes uncontrollable body movements in patients’ faces or limbs, which can last a lifetime, even if they stop taking the drugs.

Akathisia A very uncomfortable effect for some patients taking antipsychotics is a continual feeling of restlessness, so they feel compelled to keep moving all the time. They may find they cannot stay seated or standing or lying down without feeling constant discomfort.

Premature death of elderly In April 2005 the FDA ordered warnings on these drugs because they noticed from 17 studies that they caused elderly to die much more quickly when put on them.

Premature death of mental patients In 2006, a study was published titled “Morbidity and Mortality in People with Serious Mental Illness.” The study showed that patients treated by the American mental health system were dying on average 25 years earlier that the general population (at average age 51 compared to 76). A main reason cited for this phenomenon was the use of the modern antipsychotics on the patients.

Steady loss of brain tissue In 2011 a study was published titled: “Long-term antipsychotic treatment and brain volumes: a longitudinal study of first-episode schizophrenia.” This was an 18-year study of over 200 schizophrenic patients. One of the most important findings from this study was that the use of antipsychotics on the patients was causing them to lose brain tissue at the rate of approximately one percent a year. The amount of tissue loss correlated to the sizes of the doses the patients were being given. Use of these drugs over periods of years resulted in sizable of amounts of brain tissue loss.

Decreased bone density These drugs also cause loss of bone density leading to porous fragile bones, that is to say the disease osteoporosis.

Weight gain and Diabetes The drugs commonly cause rapid weight gain which often leads to diabetes, high blood pressure, increased sugar levels in the blood and build up of fat around the waist.

Breast growth in young boys and men The antipsychotics can cause gynecomastia, which is breast growth in men and even very young boys. Sometimes the breasts will be lactating and may last for life, even when the patient stops taking the drug. Some boys and men get mastectomies.

Dementia A new study was just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in June, 2019 concerning drugs that increase the chances of someone developing dementia as they get older. The title of the study is “Anticholinergic Drug Exposure and the Risk of Dementia: A Nested Case-Control Study.” For instance, the researchers found that people being on certain drugs for a period of 3 years increased their chances later in life of developing dementia by about 50%. Antipsychotics and other psychiatric drugs, like antidepressants, were included in the lists of drugs that can lead to dementia.

Numerous other side effects There are lots of other side effects that can be caused to patients due to taking antipsychotic drugs. For example they may drool a lot. They may have trouble walking or even verbalizing a full sentence. You can imagine what each of  the above side effects do to a patient’s hope, confidence and happiness. Use of these drugs and “antidepressants” are probably major reasons why some patients, including American military veterans, give up and take their own lives.

Often serious side effects of these drugs remain with the patient for life, even when they cease taking them. The patient’s quality of life may be damaged forever. Do you think there is anything approaching honest, informed consent when these drugs are prescribed?

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