Are Antipsychotic Drugs Safe?

Today’s topic is an interesting one to write about, are antipsychotic drugs safe?

I am by no means an expert in the field of medicine and what works for a mental illness. Instead I write from exeprience.

I have been taking antipsychotics since day one of my diagnosis of Bipolar disorder. My antipsychotic of choice is Quetiapine (known by its brand name of Seroquel.) In my own life, it is the most important drug that I take besides Ativan. I have taken Seroquel every day for the last ten plus years.

Seroquel became a part of my daily cocktail of medications because I was hearing voices. It was during my first suicide attempt when I was first brought to the hospital and entered the psych ward. Over time, my psychiatrist put me on the strongest dosage allowed. I have been up and down with the dosage ever since.

It is this one medication that I can’t live without, but the side effects are often something that I have “to deal with.”

That is where I want to go first. One of the things that I regret in the beginning when first receiving my diagnosis is that I didn’t ask questions about anything. I did what the doctors told me and took any medicine that they gave me. I did some research in later years but by then medication was a part of my life.


I didn’t care enough about myself at the time to understand taking antipsychotics would mean having to live with side effects.

Here are some of what I deal with daily when taking Seroquel.

The simple ones are dry mouth. I have to combat that with lithium as well so I drink lots of water throughout the day. I also chew gum. I often go through a pack in three or four days (sugar-free of course) and gum also helps with anxiety.

When I have already taken my dosage, it can sometimes leave me dizzy when trying to get up to walk around late at night. Even at a high dose, it can take me up to three hours to get any real sleep.

The one I struggle with the most is when waking in the morning. Seroquel is a powerful antipsychotic. I use for sleep beyond keeping my psychosis in check. But in the morning it sucks. I wake usually at around six or seven in the morning, but I am not really awake. I can feel still partly asleep. It can take up to three hours before the Seroquel has left my system completely and I can get out of bed.

When have to force myself to get up and it takes a mountain of caffeine before I am myself again. Seroquel stays in my system longer the higher dosage that I am on. At the moment I am at 500-600mg most nights.

I wanted to dedicate the rest of this blog post talking about an important part of any new medication but antipsychotics in particular. It is paramount to always research especially when taking antipsychotics.

  1. It is important to know the risks of antipsychotics. You can achieve this through research on more than one source. Complete information on any medication you will need to make the right decisions.
  2. Don’t be afraid to tell you, doctors, you don’t want to take an antipsychotic. In the beginning, it would have been better to know that over time I would become more reliant on Seroquel. My first dosage was 50mg and it has done nothing but increase over the years.
  3. Also don’t be afraid of the side-effects. Antipsychotics have their uses and if you decide you need it but are afraid of what you learn, don’t be. Everyone is different. You can write down what is working and the side effects in a journal and discuss it with your mental health team.
  4. My last point is exploring alternatives to medication when it comes to antipsychotics. I was very anti-counseling when I was first diagnosed. I still don’t go to group therapy because it’s not for me. But for you, it could mean never taking a medication ever.


I am sometimes left wondering if everything I deal with today could have been different without medication.

I am by no means an expert. I always write my blogs through my own experiences. It is always good to listen to what your psychiatrist or doctor is telling you. They have the expertise that I don’t, at the same time the long-term effects might be something you don’t want.

I can’t imagine taking Seroquel because without it I may slip back into psychosis. What is even worse I may never sleep again without taking my Seroquel. it is the only medication that can put me to sleep anymore, and I have tried everything under the sun to sleep.

To answer the question if antipsychotics are safe, my answer isn’t so easy. Antipsychotics have their place and for the most part other than depending more on it, Seroquel has been good to me. It’s important that we work with the people on our mental health teams to find what works for you.

Always Keep Fighting.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoJonathan Perez

unsplash-logoHush Naidoo

unsplash-logoKatherine Hanlon

13 thoughts on “Are Antipsychotic Drugs Safe?

  1. I’ve been on it for 5 years and it has not been awful. Dry mouth, it’s effecting my vision now and I use it for sleep. Take it and I’m out in 30 mins or less. I was originally on Geodon and that was awful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post. I have been on medication for a mental disorder (OCD) since I was 12 years old coupled with 2 years of intensive cognitive behavioral therapy. I have been through so many different drugs since then and it’s very interesting and helpful to read other people’s perspective and personal experiences with them. You are brave for sharing your journey, it is not easy. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey James. I’m really interested in reading. But in fact you make me wanna tell you my own experiences about antipsychotic drugs. I hope you don’t judge me for this but I really would like to share.
    I had been taking those drugs for about 10 years and they made me believe I need them. During those ten years (so since I was 16 I started to take anti-depressiva) I quit taking them one year and all symptoms like anxiety, nervousness and chaos quickly started to grow up again and I used to think I wouldn’t be strong enough to stand these feelings myself.

    Never ever those pills kept me from trying to hurt or even kill myself while I took them constantly again. This is the ironic stuff about.
    After ten years of taking anti-depressiva I noticed my own life and feelings changing the way they turned out to be worse than ever. I told my doctor and she gave me medicine you can take in a complicated or bad situation (diacepam). I really started enjoying taking these pills cause they totally knocked me out instantly so all my body and soul could relax immediately. I took them for about four months (besides I consumed my regular alcohol on the weekend etc.) and a short time later I developed a very bad and terrible psychosis with all of hallucinations etc.

    In several hospitals I was given haloperidol, olanzapine or lorazepam without my permission cause I was not able to speak for myself any more. Those drugs made me like their total mental slave and led to an enormous feeling of hunger so that I started eating the very most I ever did in my life. So I became fat. Afterwards, I quit taking everything. I grew the worst depression in human history then and was given aripiprazole. After 3 weeks I tried to kill myself for the first time. This was the normal “side-effect” to even read about in the package insert and so I quit taking them again. We tried another, same thing happened after 4 weeks. I quit again becoming almost clean and same thing happened after 4 more weeks again. After my last suicide attempt, which was very dramatic in May 2017, I made a decision to become clear and clean, totally. I haven’t been taking any kind of drug (except from alcohol from time to time) and since then my body has developed powers again I never thought I would even have those.

    Thing I learnd about pharma industry is they want to make cash and experiments on the patients’ risk and what truely is a fact is that all sorts of drugs can have those annoying side-effects or support those things they should actually help against. And they make you “addicted”, not even mentally only, but also in a physical way, which is the most absurd thing about medicine.
    After ten years of drugs my thyroid already had grown a very aggressive rebellion and was full of lumps so it had to be taken away, almost completely. At the age of 26 and doctors told me, this is an unusually young age.

    I am “free”, totally free now and I can strengthen my own health by choosing on what to eat and what to drink and this helps me for sports I can do (before I was the laziest person on earth), but all of this needed time of course, a long time of finding out that I need to go through the most destructing hell first before I could become stronger again. You need to survive the crisis before brighter days can start again. I’m sure about. I hope you don’t blame me for such a long comment.

    See or “read” you, coffeeld

    Liked by 1 person

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About James Edgar Skye

I am a novelist, screenwriter, and blogger. I have written a screenplay entitled “Memory of Shane” and working towards the completion of the novel version. I am also writing my memoir “The Bipolar Writer" which also serves as the name of this blog. I also write feature articles on other members of the mental illness community on my blog.