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In the treatment of psychosis, mania or depression, medication is sometimes prescribed. Antipsychotics can help reduce the signs of psychosis, as antidepressants can help decrease depressive problems. Read this page to learn about medicines, taking medication, and coming off medication.

Antipsychotics

When you are having psychotic events that cause you lots of problems, a doctor might prescribe you with antipsychotics. These are used to reduce the psychotic symptoms, but sometimes are also used in treating bipolar disorder and depression.

Learn more about antipsychotics.

Antidepressants

When you are feeling down or having problems with depressive thoughts and emotions, your doctor might give you antidepressants. They affect certain chemicals in the brain, reducing depressive problems. It usually takes between two to six weeks before the medicine has the desired effect.

Learn more about antidepressants.

Benzodiazepines

Anxiety-reducing medicines are also known as anxiolytics, or anti-anxiety agents. An important class of medicines with a calming and relaxing effect are the benzodiazepines, including such medicines as diazepam (Valium) and oxazepam (Seresta). Long-term use (more than a few weeks) of benzodiazepines is strongly discouraged, as this may lead to dependence/addiction.

Learn more about benzodiazepines.

Mood stabilisers

Mood stabilisers are a kind of medicine that provide support with depression, mania or rapid mood swings. A well-known mood stabiliser is lithium, mostly used in the treatment of manic depressive disorder, also known as bipolar disorder.

Learn more about mood stabilisers.

Coming off medication

Every person responds to medication in their own unique way. While a certain medicine might work for some, others might only notice its side effects. Some have no problem with reducing their dosage, while others have lots of withdrawal effects when coming off medication. So there is no single way of reducing medication properly. But shared experiences, fundamental research outcomes and relevant information can still help you with the reduction process.

Learn more about reducing medication.


Logo Jim van Os

Prof. dr. Jim van OsChair Division Neuroscience, Utrecht University Medical Centre. He is also Visiting Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. Jim works at the interface of ‘hard’ brain science, health services research, art and subjective experiences of people with ‘lived experience’ in mental healthcare. 

Jim has been appearing on the Thomson-Reuter Web of Science list of ‘most influential scientific minds of our time’ since 2014. In 2014 he published his book ‘Beyond DSM-5‘, and in 2016 the book ‘Good Mental Health Care’. 

More information on medicines and their use:

  • www.drugs.com: a large and up-to-date database on prescription drugs.
  • Medlineplus: an American health website with (English and Spanish) drug info.
  • Comingoff.com: English website on reducing dosage and  quitting medication

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