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Antipsychotic Medications: How They’re Used in Mental Health Treatment

antipsychotic medications

Antipsychotic medications treat symptoms associated with psychosis as well as other conditions. Delusions and hallucinations are hallmarks of psychosis, and without these medications, psychosis can be so severe that hospitalization is necessary. Used by mental health treatment centers like Resurgence Behavioral Health’s Costa Mesa treatment facility to treat conditions such as schizophrenia, delirium, mania, dementia, and others, antipsychotic drugs improve how the brain processes information. 

At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we treat a wide array of mental and behavioral health disorders. Our clinicians are licensed and experienced. They can treat conditions such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders, substance abuse, and more. We offer comprehensive treatment, which features programs like inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, clinically supervised detox, and aftercare. 

Our treatment modalities include evidence-based therapies, alternative treatments, and holistic therapies. Our clinicians can also offer medication-assisted treatment and dual diagnosis treatment. If you have a mental or behavioral health condition, you need clinical care that’s customized for your specific needs. Our clinicians can provide you with therapeutic and pharmaceutical treatments that are ideal for you. 

Antipsychotic medications can help people with severe mental health conditions lead more independent lives. They can improve patients’ well-being and ability to manage their condition. These medications have allowed many people to function outside hospitals and return to their lives and routines. Although they cannot cure mental health disorders, they can be a powerful part of condition management. 

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Overview of Antipsychotic Medications

Antipsychotic drugs offer patients improved management of conditions associated with psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations. Many conditions, such as schizophrenia, are characterized by improper processing of certain types of information in the brain. Antipsychotic drugs specifically target neurotransmitters and receptors that are involved in this type of processing, either blocking or activating these parts of the brain. As a result, the symptoms of psychosis diminish, and the individual can experience an improvement in the way their brain functions. Generally, antipsychotic drugs allow people to return to their homes and daily routines safely. 

Types of Antipsychotic Medications

mental health treatment with antipsychotic medications

There are two major types of antipsychotic medications: first-generation and second-generation antipsychotics. Both types target neurotransmitters in the brain, blocking certain signals or blocking some types of receptors. They may also activate certain receptors. The result is an improvement in the way the brain processes certain kinds of information and a reduction in symptoms related to psychosis. First-generation antipsychotics are associated with more side effects. Second-generation medications have fewer side effects and have become the main medications for treating conditions associated with psychosis. 

How Antipsychotics Work

Antipsychotic drugs work by targeting neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine and serotonin, and either blocking or activating them. When a person develops symptoms of psychosis, certain neurotransmitters and receptors behave in slightly abnormal ways that can result in severe symptoms like delusions. The medications resolve the abnormal behaviors of these brain parts so that psychosis dissipates and individuals achieve improved stability and behavioral normalcy. 

Gage Whisman
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Bethany Breaux
Bethany Breaux
All of the staff and nurses at resurgence are phenomenal. They helped me a lot and gave me hope at my lowest.—the two different times I came to both of their locations. Costa Mesa and riverside locations. I would recommend their programs to anybody! That is if you are looking for detox AND 30 day residential, not just detox. Thank you Resurgence! <3
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Hailey Thomas
Milton! This was my first time in treatment and I was pretty scared but muse and staff have been incredible. Steve(o) and corrina have been my favorite! Make sure to go on the outings with Steve(o) he’s amazing! Corrina spoiled me and is easy to talk to! All the staff is amazing if I’m being honest! They work hard and always have our backs ❤️
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Naomi Wheeler
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Tina Cargle
Tina Cargle
Best decision we ever made. The staff is amazing. Thank you to Lauren Sean and Nikki you guys are great we really appreciate all you did at Riverside thank you to all those amazing staff as well Derek Tyler Sarah Oscar and April you guys did so much for us we can never repay you. However you guys pick your staff continue because you guys do a great job once again thank you and mad love
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KeeMo Beltran
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Conditions Treated with Antipsychotics

Various mental health conditions can be treated with antipsychotics. These conditions include:

  • Mania.
  • Bipolar Disorder.
  • Schizophrenia.
  • Major depressive disorder.
  • Dementia.
  • Borderline Personality Disorder.
  • Delirium.
  • Substance-induced psychotic disorder.

Although these are the main mental health conditions that may be treated with antipsychotic drugs, other conditions may also benefit from antipsychotic medications. These conditions will include Tourette syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and more. 

Addiction Treatment that
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Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.

Benefits of Antipsychotic Medications

There are numerous benefits associated with antipsychotic medications, including the reduction or elimination of the symptoms of psychosis. These medications can reduce the discomfort and anxiety associated with psychosis. Another benefit is that these medications have allowed many individuals to live outside supervised hospital settings, returning to their homes and daily living routines. Although first-generation antipsychotic drugs cause many side effects, second-generation drugs have fewer unpleasant side effects. 

Side Effects and Risks Associated with Antipsychotics

Unfortunately, many medications come with a risk of side effects. Even though the benefits of taking antipsychotic drugs often outweigh the risks, there are still side effects that patients need to be mindful of. Some of the most common side effects associated with uncontrolled facial movement disorders (i.e., tardive dyskinesia) are circulatory problems, cardiac problems, hyperglycemia, sedation, dizziness, amenorrhea, weakened immune system, constipation, and weight gain. People who are on other medications might experience problematic interactions between drugs.

Some people may not be able to take antipsychotic drugs because of other health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, glaucoma, liver damage, heart disease, and chronic respiratory problems. If you are prescribed antipsychotic medications, it’s important to inform your physician about any side effects you experience. 

Considerations for Long-Term Use

The long-term use of antipsychotic medication may be important for people who have certain chronic mental health disorders such as schizophrenia. Some antipsychotic drugs are safe for long-term or indefinite use. However, the long-term use of these medications can increase the risk of developing metabolic conditions such as diabetes and stroke. However, when taken for a long period of time, the medications can prevent the symptoms of psychosis from occurring. At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we individualize the care of each patient. As a result, we consider a person’s current health and risk factors when prescribing any medication. 

Alternatives to Antipsychotic Medications

There are alternatives to antipsychotic medications, which are helpful for people who cannot take these medications because of their risks and side effects. For instance, a person who develops debilitating side effects from taking antipsychotics may need alternative help. Other types of medications that may be helpful include benzodiazepines, anticonvulsants, mood stabilizers, and serotonin stabilizers. Some people use nutritional supplements to help them manage their condition. Also, psychotherapy forms can be employed to support the condition management process. 

Contact Resurgence Behavioral Health for Guidance on Antipsychotic Treatment

Resurgence Behavioral Health offers experienced clinical care for many conditions that are associated with psychosis and its symptoms. We treat a wide array of mental health and behavioral health conditions. If you need guidance on antipsychotic medications or treatment for your condition, you can rely on our clinicians. Because we offer both inpatient and outpatient treatment plans, we can provide the support you need to achieve your recovery goals. Using these medications may be right for you, but you may also qualify for alternative treatments that may alleviate symptoms of your condition. 

Contact Resurgence Behavioral Health or call 855-458-0050 today to learn more about our streamlined enrollment process and accepted health insurance plans. We accept many forms of insurance and can discuss other payment options with you when you call. When you enroll for treatment, our clinicians can thoroughly evaluate your health to begin you with the ideal treatment plan individualized to your needs. Expect our clinical staff to monitor you closely if you need antipsychotic treatment to ensure that you’re on the proper medication and optimum dose. With treatment, you may improve the management of your condition and overall well-being.  The sooner you call, the sooner we can help you achieve your recovery goals.

Josh Chandler
Josh Chandler
After growing up in Chicago and North Carolina, Josh chose to get help with substance use disorder and mental health in California because of the state's reputation for top-tier treatment. There, he found the treatment he needed to achieve more than five years of recovery. He's been in the drug and alcohol addiction rehab industry for four years and now serves as the Director of Admissions for Resurgence Behavioral Health. Josh remains passionate about the field because he understands that one phone call can alter the course of a person's life.


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