Definition: The atypical antipsychotics (AAP) (also known as second generation antipsychotics) are a group of antipsychotic tranquilizing drugs used to treat psychiatric conditions. Some atypical antipsychotics are FDA approved for use in the treatment of schizophrenia. Some carry FDA approved indications for acute mania, bipolar depression, psychotic agitation, bipolar maintenance, and other indications. Both generations of medication tend to block receptors in the brain's dopamine pathways, but atypicals at the time of marketing were claimed to differ from typical antipsychotics in that they are less likely to cause extrapyramidal motor control disabilities in patients, which include unsteady Parkinson's disease-type movements, body rigidity and involuntary tremors. Oh Good.
So the side effeects are:
Headaches -- in up to 27 percent of people
A sedated feeling -- up to 23 percent
Agitation -- up to 19 percent
Insomnia -- up to 18 percent (see Abilify and Insomnia)
Fatigue -- up to 17 percent
Anxiety -- up to 17 percent
Drowsiness -- up to 16 percent
Nausea -- up to 15 percent
Vomiting -- up to 14 percent
Restlessness -- up to 12 percent
Constipation -- up to 11 percent.
Some other common side effects (occurring in 2 percent to 10 percent of people) included:
Indigestion or heartburn
Weight gain (see Abilify and Weight Gain)
Dry mouth (see Abilify and Dry Mouth)
Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
Swelling or water retention in the arms, legs, or feet.
Bless my psychiatrist and his ways. This is his new idea to ensure my sanity and stability. He tells me that as well as ensuring a non hyper manic state the abilify should increase my mood to stop the dip that I am experiencing. After the quetiapine experience I am very reluctant to play ball but he promises me this will be a better experience and gives me 20 mg to set me off. I am also told that as the patent hasn't run out on this medication and is costs approx. £200 a pop for 28 days supply. Now I am an emotional burden as well as a financial one. Fabulous. So off I trolley with my prescription and try not to be worried about the extensive list of side effects. What a nightmare. Sometimes I wonder whether or not to risk just coming off of everything and trying to go it alone. I am sure everyone would completely freak out if I did this but sometimes I fantasize about a medication free life. I am sure at some time in my life I was well and didn't need a host of medicines to determine my every mood but it is a distant memory. Thinking the possibilty through of being medication free though makes me think about what I did use in order to stop feeling high or low before my diagnosis. I think everyone tries to manage their mood in some way by using a stimulus whether or not it's a film, a drink, a cuddle, a prayer. I didn't realise how much your mood can shift during a day until I kept a mood diary. It's exhausting. I did a CBT course on self esteem. Have I told you that already? I had to monitor my mood every hour I was awake for a week and explain what was going on and how I felt. When the week was over I was emotionally crucified. There's nothing like a bit of mood diarying to help you feel crap about yourself. Talk about down on yourself. I have the lowest opinion of myself going - you don't need to tell me how bad I am, I am a practised and qualified person at doing that all by myself thank you very much. My bottom line is a deeply entrenched one I can tell you.
So yes, my mood is dipped and I am struggling a little with self esteem.OK so I have no self esteem, and this is compounded by work stress, parenting and being a wife. More on this another day. So I take the damn abilify and will ride out the consequences. And the consequences begin quite soon. Sedation, my old friend, returns with avengence. I have to peel myself off the bed in the morning and hold my eyes open for an hour and force caffeine down my throat just to begin functioning. Don't let me close them again as I will sleep for a few hours without warning. I have to drive to work with music blaring and window open to keep focussed. I have a dry mouth permanently and want to EAT. EAT, EAT and EAT! Oh my goodness. Craving for food that cannot be diminished by any amount of food. After eating, give it half and hour and I feel like eating another meal again. It's an insatiable hunger that doesn't disappear. I want to gorge on MacDonalds beakfasts and cakes and all the bad things in the world. I keep wanting to buy family packs of whispers again. The quetiapine feeling is on the return and I have to trust that it will ease up at some point. If I carry on I am going to be the size of a house. I have to weigh up whether or not to carry on with these new tablets or give up on them altogether and be stuck in the depressive rut. It's not a great choice to make, but I need to decide, and decide soon.