What Do Antipsychotic Drugs Do?

Antipsychotic drugs are used in psychosis and other mental and emotional disorders’ treatment.

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Table of Contents

What do antipsychotic drugs do?

Mechanism of action

  • Mesolimbic and meso frontal systems (concerned with emotional reactions). 

The alpha-adrenergic blockade causes Sedation. 

  • Anti-dopaminergic drugs cause the EPS (Extrapyramidal Symptoms)
  • Atypical antipsychotics have anti serotonergic (5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT) and adrenergic and antihistaminic actions. These are therefore called serotonin-dopamine antagonists.

Antipsychotic drugs are used to treat...

Treat organic psychiatric disorders 

  • Delirium 
  • Dementia 
  • Delirium tremens
  • Drug-induced psychosis 
  • Other organic mental disorders 

Treat functional disorders 

  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizoaffective disorders
  • Paranoid disorders 

Read: Is Schizophrenia a Disability?

Treat mood disorders 

  • Mania 
  • Major depression with psychotic symptoms 

Also read: What Is Mood Disorder?: Types, Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

 Treat childhood disorders 

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder 
  • Autism Enuresis
  • Conduct disorder 

Treat neurotic and other psychiatric disorder 

  • Anorexia nervosa 
  • Intractable obsessive-compulsive disorder 
  • Severe, intractable and disabling anxiety 

Treat medical disorders 

  • Huntington’s chorea 
  • Intractable hiccough
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Tic disorder 
  • Eclampsia
  • Heatstroke 
  • Severe pain in malignancy Tetanus 


  • Parkinsonism
  • hepatic dysfunction
  • glaucoma
  • QT prolongation 
  • CNS depression
  • bone marrow depression
  • hypotension

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Side effect of antipsychotic drugs

  • Extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS) 
  • Nausea; GI upset
  • Skin rash
  • Sedation
  • Orthostatic hypotension 
  • Photosensitivity
  • Hormonal effects 
  • ECG changes
  • Reduction of seizure threshold
  • Agranulocytosis
  • Hypersalivation

For further reading:

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