Neuroleptics – drugs for the treatment of mental disorders

Neuroleptics are representatives of a large class of psychotropic drugs. The latter have a selective effect on the human psyche, i.e. on his thinking and emotions. Neuroleptics, in turn, slow down the neuropsychic processes and calm a person.

However, if these antipsychotic drugs are prescribed to a healthy person, then a state of neurolepsy develops. It is characterized by the fact that any emotions are suppressed, both positive (joy, love) and negative (fear, anxiety), but the ability to think normally is preserved. Therefore, if neuroleptics are prescribed incorrectly, they turn a healthy person into a soulless and indifferent one.


Neuroleptics – what class of drugs

These drugs have their effect by blocking nerve receptors of different classes. The blockade of dopamine and serotonin receptors is most pronounced. It leads to the manifestation of an antipsychotic effect. Histamine, adrenergic and cholinergic are inhibited to a lesser extent. Such a complex receptor effect causes a number of positive effects on the patient:

  • Uniform suppression of symptoms of psychosis
  • Elimination of delusional ideas, hallucinations, disturbed behavior and thinking
  • Suppression of pathological disinhibition of drives, including sexual
  • Activation of mental processes, if they are suppressed (for example, with depression)
  • Improvement of the ability to think
  • General calming and normalization of sleep in cases of severe insomnia.

Neuroleptics have not only an antipsychotic effect. They also have other therapeutic effects.

Some of them can be used in medicine to treat diseases not related to the mental sphere. And others may cause the appearance of adverse reactions when using neuroleptics. These drugs:

They enhance the effect of painkillers, especially from the group of narcotic analgesics, and deepen anesthesia
Have an antiemetic effect, as well as suppress hiccups
Reduce the manifestations of allergic reactions due to the blockade of histamine receptors
They increase the likelihood of convulsive syndrome, because they reduce the minimum threshold of arousal
They can lead to the appearance of tremors (trembling of the hands) due to the effect on dopamine receptors
They increase the secretion of prolactin, leading to the appearance of colostrum when pressing on the nipples, including in men
In women, these drugs can cause menstrual disorders, because they reduce the production of FSH and LH and, accordingly, estrogen and progesterone
They lower the body temperature, bringing it closer to the ambient temperature (this condition is called poikilothermia). This effect is successfully used during surgical interventions on the heart and brain.

Situations when neuroleptics are irreplaceable

Neuroleptics as drugs that interfere with the work of the brain, doctors prescribe only if there are special indications. These include:

  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Alcohol addiction
  • Psychomotor agitation, when a person’s irritability is accompanied by strong gestures and unmotivated movements
  • Manic states (this may be megalomania, persecution mania, etc.)
  • Depression, accompanied by obsessive delirium
  • Diseases in which involuntary muscle contractions, grimacing are observed
  • Insomnia that cannot be treated by other means
  • Vomiting of central origin, which cannot be dealt with by other methods
  • Persistent hiccups
  • Severe anxiety
  • Stroke (neuroleptics protect nerve tissue well from progressive damage).

In addition, a person may encounter neuroleptics before surgery or other intervention accompanied by pain. They are used for anesthesia and for neuroleptanalgesia (turning off pain sensitivity with muffling consciousness).

Side effects of neuroleptics – what to fear when taking them and what to do

The use of neuroleptics is a serious treatment. It can be accompanied by various adverse reactions. Therefore, in the process of taking them, it is necessary to visit a doctor periodically to identify possible side effects and eliminate them in a timely manner. They can be varied:

  • Acutely developing muscular dystonia (manifested by spasm of the muscles of the face, tongue, back and neck, resembling an epileptic seizure)
  • Motor restlessness (causeless movements), at the appearance of which it is necessary to reduce the dose of the drug
  • Parkinsonian–like symptoms are maskiness of the face, trembling of the hands, shuffling when walking, stiffness of the muscles. These signs require the appointment of antiparkinsonian drugs
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Pressure drop during the transition from horizontal to vertical position
  • Weight gain
  • Reduction of the number of leukocytes in the blood (it is recommended to conduct a general clinical blood test every week)
  • Jaundice caused by stagnation of bile
  • Hyperprolactinemia, which leads to impotence in men, and in women – to menstrual cycle disorders and infertility
  • Pupil dilation and increased sensitivity to light
  • Skin rashes.

In some cases, these drugs can cause depression. Therefore, the first stage may require the appointment of tranquilizers, and the second stage – neuroleptics.

Is it possible to cancel a neuroleptic on your own?

Prolonged use of neuroleptics leads to mental and physical addiction of the body. It is especially severe if the drug is canceled quickly. This leads to aggressiveness, depression, pathological arousal, emotional lability (causeless tearfulness), etc. Abrupt cancellation is fraught with aggravation of the course of the underlying disease. All these symptoms are very similar to narcotic “withdrawal”.

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