Antipsychotic medication for psychosis and schizophrenia
Strong evidence – there is lots of high-quality evidence that some young people find this treatment option helpful.
Antipsychotic medication can help to reduce your positive symptoms (e.g. hallucinations or delusions), reduce anxiety and agitation and reduce your negative symptoms (e.g. feeling unmotivated or withdrawn). Antipsychotic medication is the main treatment for schizophrenia, and it is unlikely that you will recover without it.
There are different types of antipsychotic medication. Some antipsychotic medications can work better for some people than others, and they all have slightly different side-effects. Antipsychotic medication for young people is usually prescribed or overseen by a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist.
If you are prescribed an antipsychotic medication this will usually be at the lowest dose possible, to balance the positive effects of the medication with any side-effects. Sometimes, if an antipsychotic medication doesn’t suit you (e.g. because of side-effects or it doesn’t help with your symptoms), your psychiatrist will suggest that you try a different antipsychotic medication.
Antipsychotic medications are sometimes called ‘typical’ or ‘atypical’, and the difference is related to how they work in the body. The side-effects of antipsychotic medication can be different for each type, with ‘atypical’ antipsychotic medication usually recommended to help with psychosis for young people.
Commonly used antipsychotic medications include aripiprazole, olanzapine and risperidone.
Treatments outlined on these webpages may not be available in every local area. It’s important that you discuss with your GP or mental health professional the treatment options available to you. You can also search for services near you on our Youth Wellbeing Directory and find out more about referral processes here.