Antipsychotics Block Pleasure in Life: It’s All About Dopamine…

It has always been about Dopamine, but they never told us that impeding our dopamine receptors would impair our ability to feel pleasure and the high of "reward" -- No wonder our "negative symptoms of "not wanting to do" so many things! The drugs blocked our native dopamine flow! (Decades ago they knew that it has NOTHING whatsoever to do with schizophrenia, but they persisted in the lie nevertheless...
It has always been about Dopamine, but they never told us that impeding our dopamine receptors would impair our ability to feel pleasure and the high of “reward” — No wonder our “negative symptoms of “not wanting to do” so many things! The drugs blocked our native dopamine flow! (Decades ago they knew that it has NOTHING whatsoever to do with schizophrenia, but they persisted in the lie nevertheless…

To explain the picture/letters above, I was practicing some lettering, briefly, and did not know what I was writing until later…which makes what I wrote all the more interesting a message from my subconscious.  Clearly I agree with almost everyone else I have ever heard from: Haldol is the drug from hell!  About the rest of it, well, Psychiatrie macht frie derives from the sign that was posted above Auschwitz and other concentration camps during WWII, Arbeit macht frei, or Work makes (you) free. So this transposition is meant to suggest (sardonically) that psychiatry will free you in just the same way… NOT!

What particularly sickens me personally is the damage the fiction called the Dopamine Hypothesis  — how an excess of dopamine causes schizophrenia — may have done to the millions of people like me who have taken antipsychotic drugs for decades, unknowingly buying into the medical model and this notion that we somehow had too much dopamine coursing around in our brains.

Life is ALL about dopamine, LIFE has always been about dopamine. Here are some of the human functions to which dopamine is essential

  • movement
  • memory
  • pleasurable reward
  • behavior and cognition
  • attention
  • inhibition of prolactin production
  • sleep
  • mood
  • learning

Why on earth would anyone deprive another human being of the one neurotransmitter that allows us to feel good about things? It would seem to be a diabolical plot, if anyone actually did such a thing, right? And yet, for decades right on through today, that is what doctors want us to do, block the transmission of dopamine to the brains of those of us diagnosed with schizophrenia. They know, of course, that it is impossible, that the brain up-regulates the flow of dopamine in such a way as to thwart at least in part the antipsychotic receptor blockade. Homeostasis will be re-established eventually, even if at abnormal levels due to the drug’s presence.*

No one can live without dopamine, after all. But to understand the necessity of dopamine, and that they have known for years that an imbalance of dopamine metabolism is NOT implicated in schizophrenia, and finally to “grok” that they have nonetheless perpetuated the lie that is the “dopamine hypothesis” just boggles the mind with its enormity. How can we believe anything they tell us about negative symptoms, now, when  as one website informs us:

“Low D2 receptor-binding is found in people with social anxiety or social phobia. Some features of negative schizophrenia (social withdrawal, apathy, anhedonia) are thought to be related to a low dopaminergic state in certain areas of the brain.”

The atypical AP drugs induce a D2 receptor blockade as a matter of course. After all, if you don’t feel any reward-sense from your life and living, your normal dopamine being in an antipsychotic blockade, why would you want to change your clothes, or take care of yourself, much less bother to go to work or even think? But we have been led to believe that such negative symptoms are part of schizophrenia and NOT part of the drug treatments for it! No one told us they were taking away all our incentive to do anything, to even move or think. They told us they were helping us, not hurting us, not destroying our lives!

Even more diabolical, to my way of thinking is the idea that some doctors actually add an atypical antipsychotic onto the treatment of mere depression. Can you imagine how you would feel if you were taking an SSRI (which is ineffective) and which already deprived you of sexual satisfaction or any sexual feelings at all, and then you are given an adjunctive antipsychotic that subsequently deprives you of dopamine? It might add twenty to forty pounds or even more in no time, up your cholesterol and blood sugar, and then deprive you of any feelings of reward or pleasure…Ah but it will boost your antidepressant’s antidepressant activity? J’en doute fortement… I doubt it highly!

What do the doctors care? Either they bought into the drug company’s literature and haven’t read anything independently since med school…or they are on the take themselves from Big Pharma in some fashion and don’t give a damn.

We need to be on the look out for ourselves, because god knows the doctors are not on our sides, most of them. They cannot be. This is their bread and butter, folks esp the psychiatrists and if they cannot prescribe pills, what will they do? They won’t be “real doctors” any more and their prestige will plummet yet again…OH NO! The fact is, they need to learn to do psychotherapy again, or get out of medicine because they cannot prescribe pills that do not work, and there are none that do! None that do reliably and well or better than placebo. In fact, except for the occasional use of a benzodiazepine, and the judicious use of cognitive enhancers for the proper people, and meds for sleep, I am convinced that precious few drugs in the psychoactive armamentarium are worthy of anything but the dustbin.

I think most are ONLY placebos, if they do anything at all. Frankly. And I say this despite having once written testimonials in praise of Zyprexa and other drugs…I dunno, I dunno. How could Zyprexa be anything except a placebo? It is a dirty drug that hits nearly every known neurotransmitter of importance…And yet we do not know how it does what it does…and it has horrendous side effects. That much we know. Since we do not have any reason to think  it is the action on dopamine or serotonin that is the “antipsychotic” activity, in essence we cannot say why or if it does anything at all. ALL the AAPs drugs work on the neurotransmitters in a more or less dirty fashion. In fact the OLDER drugs were less dirty, being more specific to just dopamine!

I reiterate, there is no “chemical imbalance” in schizophrenia, or bipolar “illness’ or in depression. No one has ever proven or shown any such animal ever. Only after patients have taken a drug to “treat” such conditions is there ever an “imbalance” and this imbalance is a direct result of having taken the drug. PLEASE remember this and question your doctors next time they warn you that if you stop your meds your “chemical imbalance” will reassert itself and make you sick again. Ask, “What chemical imbalance and where did it come from? What chemicals and what is the normal level I should have?” I know I know, the doctor will say, dopamine, if you “have” schizophrenia, or “serotonin” if you “have” depression. Lord knows what she will claim if you “have” bipolar tendencies of one sort or another, as so many millions upon millions of Americans these days have been told they now do…But it isn’t true. Not even if they claim it is. There has never been any proof of altered neurotransmitter levels and in fact it is the opposite: drug-naive people with schizophrenia and depression, that is to say, those who have never taken any medication, have been shown to have the exact same dopamine and serotonin levels as anyone else!

As for those who suffer from the condition called “bipolar” — You know, it used to be a very rare condition,  manic-depression. Now, you see “bipolars” coming out of the woodwork everywhere. One used to have to have been crazy-manic at least once, to the extent of having been hospitalized to qualify for the diagnosis, and this made sense as it was restrictive and not a broad umbrella. Given that the illness was considered a very serious one, no one wanted to bring too many within the definition. Now, with so many drugs used to “treat” (ha ha ha) the condition,  and with the help of DSM IV and 5 to bring patients to the drug companies’ financial assistance, you need only complain of a garden variety “depression” to be counted as bipolar…

But remember: 1) the drug companies treating bipolar etc only want to make money, 2) the drugs treat something — a neurotransmitter imbalance that doesn’t exist 3) bipolarity is a fiction that keeps lengthening, like Pinocchio’s nose, with every newly expanded definition…

Think about malaria, a real illness. It doesn’t make more people ill just because it gets redefined. Malaria is caused by a protozoan (injected through the bite of a mosquito), and it sickens people who are vulnerable to the ravages of that organism inside the body…in the same way each time. You don’t “get” malaria more because a financially- interconnected organization of doctors/drug companies decides to change the definition of what constitutes malaria. No, you  get malaria the way people always gotten malaria, largely through not using mosquito nets and other preventive measures…i.e. via a mosquito bite.

Ay, this is NUTS! It should not be so fricking easy to fit everyone into a diagnostic category of mental illness.  Emotions are NOT illnesses by definition, they are normal and necessary, even excessive emotional reactions are quite normal; they happen every day to everyday normal people. Some cultures define themselves by their emotionality! It behooves us to remember this and not pathologize it.

So too, think of this: depression frequently is just sadness, folks. We used to know the truth of the saying, “This too will pass…” There are problems in living that are just problems in living, and I think that some people for whatever reason are simply miserable, without having a mental illness. They would not do better being labeled with an illness or being treated for one. In fact, I have seen people in states of abject misery do a great deal worse under the burden of a label…

I have had it. I do not trust a drug company or a prescription at all, none of them. The foxes are in charge of the chickens and they are up to no good, no good at all. So this weekend I am OFF all Abilify. HURRAY! After that I start cutting out the Geodon…(I have already halved the Ritalin simultaneously with the decrease of Abilify. I had to, I simply don’t need the Ritalin as much, as I am not as sleepy. After Geodon, there is only the Topamax, which I take for seizures and migraines.. Have to decide about that one. I want to be off it, I really do. But can i?**

*Note that although some of these conclusions are my own, I drew most of the research I have based them on from my readings in Robert Whitaker’s fine books MAD IN AMERICA and ANATOMY OF AN EPIDEMIC. I highly recommend reading both of them, which can be accessed through the link I provide at the top of the page in my blogroll. The link goes directly to ANATOMY but MAD can be found easily through there. Good reading! And please do let me know what you think at any time. (Adding this note at a later time, very much the same information can be found in Dr Joanne Moncrieff’s books — a British psychiatrist who came to similar conclusions as Whitaker. Her book on antipsyhcotics is THE BITTEREST PILLS, and her book on psychtherapeutic drugs in general is THE MYTH OF THE CHEMICAL CURE.

**writing in Dec 2017 i have never been able to get off the Geodon or the Abilify, nor the other drugs, though i have cut the Geodon in half somewhat successfully. (I am unable to speak at present, but i do not believe the two are linked, as i dropped the Geodon/ziprasidone dose more than a month ago and the muteness started less than a week ago). That said, i still do not believe they help me. I just maintain that once you have been on these drugs for literally decades as i have been, more or less by force, then your brain changes in response and ends up “imbalanced” and in that sense alone does need the drugs.

19 thoughts on “Antipsychotics Block Pleasure in Life: It’s All About Dopamine…”

  1. Dear William, if you do not agree with the opinions on this page, you have no need to read or comment further. I have a long long history with this diagnosis, and I reject it and the treatments entirely. However I do know enough NOT to go cold turkey off of meds as that will induce the problems that I came in with. That said, your experiencing psychosis after going off these drugs in such a foolish fashion PROVES nothing about the condition called schizophrenia. Look into this if you dare, but you likely experienced WITHDRAWAL psychosis due to the drugs themselves and not any inherent illness. That said, if you want to take drugs and end your life 25 years earlier than most people, be my guest. But geodon and all the others are really no better than street drugs, and less researched, unless you consider MARKETing to be real research.

    I have much more to say but will cease and desist because I doubt you will be back or even read this.

    Best wishes to you nonetheless,



  2. Sorry, but it appears that this blog and most of the commentary is simply written by patients who still harbor certain paranoid delusions regarding their illness and the medications they have been prescribed to them at different points in time. This type of cluster-fuck, with patients comparing and reinforcing each other’s mistaken beliefs and delusional thoughts is fairly typical of many blogs and certain forums available on the internet. I fail to see any therapeutic value, this type of writing simply contributes to patients deciding arbitrarily to refuse or stop meds. For the most part, patients who do this simply experience a return of positive symptoms inevitably resulting in a return to psychosis.
    I am schizophrenic. I began experiencing symptoms at the age of 23. I am 48 years old now.
    For many years i harbored many similar delusional beliefs regarding medication and psychiatry in general. Early on, when faced with the terrible side-effects from taking both Navane and Haldol at different times, I went back and forth between med compliance and refusing meds. I also refused to abstain from substance abuse, which further complicated my prognosis.
    The first med I could tolerate with minimal trouble-some side-effects was Zyprexa. I was on it for several years and i did well enough, although i admit I had fairly substantial negative symptoms and other health problems like weight gain, and diabetes type 2. Unfortunately, when I was 32, I decided to try quitting meds cold turkey.
    For the next two or three years, my positive symptoms slowly crept back on me and my ability to cope and live independently slowly eroded. I made many poor decisions and my psychosis was more profound than any I had experienced previously. My problems with substance abuse cotinued and snowballed.
    After a very frightening visit to a psych unit at a local hospital, I decided that I have had enough. I took the necessary steps to insure I could no longer buy drugs and I decided to be med-compliant again.
    Over the last fifteen years, I have slowly gotten better and better. I quit using drugs and only on rare occasions will I drink alcohol in moderation.
    I participated in several clinical trials, two of which contributed in the fairly recent introduction of both Abilify and Latuda. I also tried Geodon, Fanapt, and Invega. All of these were excellent meds for me personally. When old side-effects like akathesia and dystonic reaction occurred, I controlled them by taking propranolol for the restlessness or Benedryl (or a generic equivalent) for the painful muscle spasms.
    I have seen a new generation of atypical medication emerge and have taken these meds, with surprisingly good results.
    I am currently on a year-long study for a new experimental drug called ITI-007-303. It is a new breed of medication and I have done extraordinarily well on it. Whether or not it is released is still up in the air.
    Schizophrenia is a medical illness. It requires medical treatment and supervision. Psychiatry and medications are not the enemy. The illness of schizophrenia is the enemy and it requires medication as the first-line defense against the positive symptoms associated with this illness.


  3. Oh this life! I can’t believe this post is several years old, yet my struggle regarding antipsychotic medications and psychiatric labels/diagnoses, is still a struggle.

    My son has gone back on Zyprexa. I figured this out when he gained 30 lbs! When he needed to lose 20. I hate that I am not informed of the truth when I am the main person in my son’s life.

    Sigh… I also read thru the comments again. I recall now that Latuda gave Neil a movement disorder very quickly. He stopped taking it.

    I can’t write now. I hope to be writing again soon. I can only hope my brain will work. I had RMSF in April 2016 (my third tick bourne disease). My cognitive thinking has been hit hard.




  4. Apparently the writer has never read any of my blog or he would know of my EXTENSIVE experience with psychosis and with first generation AP drugs and second generation AP drugs as well.


  5. I think this is a very naive post and I wonder about the actual first-hand experience of the writer. Sure we don’t know how a med like Zyprexa works, but we do know that it works. I’ve been in states of paranoid ideation, sweating, thought disorder, unable to do anything, radically manic, and with 10 mg olanzapine I can finally lay down and feel how I reintegrate, I gain thinking order. When manic, with psychotic depression, with fear of going out of the corner, Zyprexa picks me up and I’m fully functional. I am bipolar and I’ve tried to stop the meds in a very gradual manner (through a year) only to find myself alienated again and ruining relationships. In the matter of dopamine as related to psychosis, there is abundant research that demonstrates that deep psychosis is related to -overactivity- of the frontal lobe driven by dopamine. It has also been demonstrated that untreated psychosis actually “burns” brain cells, like literal loss of gray and white matter. If untreated, things like causeless fear create a stronger self-reinforcing pattern. There are gray zones yes. Labs push meds when not needed, doctors prescribe meds when not needed, patients request prescriptions when not needed, we don’t know how the meds work, yes, we know that there are terrible side effects, yes. However there are some of us that have been saved by these meds and otherwise, would be locked down like it was the case before the introduction of the first generation of AP, and when Haldol allowed patients to go out of the hospital for the first time.


  6. It is fascintating in an absurd way that at the end of the first article they wind up discussing the treatment of bipolar disorder…as if they had not started out discussing depression and whether or not AD drugs engineered a bipolar rapid cycling that never existed before…at least that is how i read it. Great article, in any event, especially the first. I am going to crib it once i am back on my good computer and the truth right here on my blog! Thanks to you!


  7. Yeah, the conversations researchers and practitioners have among themselves are very different to the stories handed out to the general public.

    Here’s some analysis of the iatrogenic rapid cycling caused by ADs by a very mainstream and conventional mood disorder researcher.

    And here’s a potted history of research into the serotonin theory of depression.

    A bit different to what you get told by prescribers and drug companies, no? (BTW, it’s estimated that around 80% of medicated people carrying the bipolar label in the US are receiving SSRIs despite longstanding, solid evidence linking SSRI use to poor prognoses).


  8. Argh, wish i could say any withdrawal goes has gone well. Am back to withdrawing from the gd geodon again, with the abilify in full force again and has been for many months. It doesnt seem to work to get off these drugs, at all, not that i have bad side effects i just dont wanna take them!

    Thank you for elucidating the rationale for the addition of AP drugs to an AD regimen. However, that is far far from the impression that the tv gives and that most lay people take away. Most people believe in fact that Abulify and even Latuda are AD drugs only! So while i can see why the MFMDs might add an AP to the AD in fear of switcheroonis, i do not believe that is the message they even begin to convey to their patients. So it is all lies lies lies up the wahzoo as far as i am concerned…why even give am AD of questionable use for MDD in curing depression, esp when you do in fact run this absurd risk of inducing mania or hypomanic behavior? Oh, oh, oh, wait a minute, of course, i see! Because then you have a captive drug taking audience for life who actually believe the garbage that they have BP2 and always did (“it’s genetic, you know!”) just because they had one episode of racing thoughts and blah blah blah….i had that too! You know why? Because i was beaten up and assaulted so badly on a psychiatric unit i lost my memory for everything that happened to me for three weeks, and when i came to, after the abuse ceased with a new doctor, and i asked them why i was in physical pain, they told me i was lying that i did not remember…then my mind started to race and the amxiety and speediness increased as did my pace of speech and everything accelerated…why? Because they told me only a tiny bit about what they had done to me, repeatedly, but my body understood it, and something was triggered….oh, my doctor at home, the bastard could talk of cluster B personality traits, but in fact all it was was a reaction to the situation of being in what was supoosed to be a refuge and asylum, and having been brutalized out of my mind, quite literally…no wonder i became hypomanic! Luckily i was not overmedicated and with a little sleep and the patience of friends, i came down after about two weeks.

    Also, because i was NOT then diagnosed as bipolar, i did not need to stay bipolar or fall into the anti-depressant or mood stsbilizer (ha ha ha ) trap.

    But funny thing: why is it that people who take ADs never get undepressed? I mean, how good is an anti depressant if it never actually counters the depression for longer than a month or three? Id say that is about as good as luck or placebo! Ditto the non-mood stabilizing mood stabilizers!

    But enough. I like the name of your blog,and you clearly know your stuff, so i will check it out.



  9. Great post.

    By chemically blocking the D2 pathways neuroleptics are simply a form of titrated lobotomy – and that’s before you even start looking at the other systemic impacts they have on neurotransmitters (not just in the brain).

    About all I’d add is that antipsychotics are often given as an adjunct to antidepressants not to boost the AD but to try to reduce the risk of manic switching caused by the AD (or at least suppress some of its positive symptoms).

    Bipolar II was coined as a kind of excuse for the switching and rapid cycling side-effects of ADs, the argument being that people who suffered such effects weren’t really depressive but bipolar people who were ‘fooling’ diagnosticians by only seeking treatment for the depression and not for the hypomania. That’s part of the reason for skyrocketing rates of bipolar diagnosis.

    Yet another case of psychiatry reverse engineering its nosology and aetiology from the drugs already prescribed. That is, they discover diseases to match their treatments rather than visa versa.

    I hope your Abilify withdrawal went well.


  10. You know, Michelle, NONE of the drugs has ever been shown to actually help cognitively, despite the advertising claimsNot clinically, not research-wise. So I wonder what you are seeing when you claim that Latuda helps him cognitivelyNOT doubting you, just wondering what it is. BEcause I do not think that Latuda has any particular claims to fame in helping people cognitively. CBT and other specific cognitive remediation therapies DO help. BUt so far no drugs have been shown to truly help in schizophrenia cognition. You yourself said that he brightened considerably just taking the calming drug clonazepam.

    So I am wondering just what it is that you are seeing and whether it is all the time or only something you see because you live with Neil and he tends to shut up and not talk when around youPerhaps it is more like elective mutism, in the sense that it is elected, rather than involuntary cognitive processing problems? After all, you cannot know what is or is NOT going on in his head if he refuses to engage or speak freely with you at all times. It is frustrating, but you must not make assumptions, just because he gives you nothing to go on. It might be a passive aggressive way for him to assert a form of independence. FOr him to say, WEll, if i have to live here, I don’t have to tell you what I think or even speak to you at allLet her guess,and guess wrong. What do I care????

    Just a thought



  11. Hi Pam (and Rossa!),

    Thanks for your email Pam. I will respond as soon as I can. I’m still fighting mental fatigue, and so, it is hard for me to write anything at all when my brain is tired. Plus, my days are so often difficult and when each one is over, I sigh with relief. Then, I lie down beside my Ruthie girl and fall asleep. (She is back on GI meds and prescription food. We are watching her closely. I’ll have to buy her a special collar so she can’t eat dirt, rocks, and dead animals).

    You know, I can’t say for sure, nor can Neil, how long he has taken the Zyprexa this go around. Today we are making a note calendar (out of the paper you sent) for this purpose. He has lab work done every three months. They (his family doctor) check his sugar and do a metabolic panel. The most recent time his cholesterol had gone down (with a 5mg dose of Zyprexa, but I don’t think he was taking it every day). High cholesterol is genetic for him too, but Zyprexa and Latuda makes it higher.

    The new ACT team hasn’t even asked if he has had lab work done. They stop by, yesterday for about seven minutes, and ask, “Are you taking your meds?” I am so tired of hearing, “your meds,” as if the company made them just for my son! The nurse who came by (oh jeeze, I could write ten posts just on her), couldn’t remember which meds were his, so she had to ask. (She won’t sit down when she comes here with her blocked-healed shoes from 1940, so as she stood trying to balance herself, she said, “Well. As long as your on meds that’s what counts.”)! Oh, how frustrating it is for me and Neil thought they were coming by to talk with him, keep him company, you know. He was sad after she left. I was sad too.

    During the fall of 2011 when he was in the hospital (ha! What a place it is to call a hospital), they gave him 20mg of Zyprexa!!! He was there over two months! He gained almost 70lbs! His liver enzymes had gone up, but as you know, most psychiatrists don’t count them as abnormal unless they are tripled in numbers, but due to a genetic liver disease on his father’s side of the family, his former MD told him once to, “stop taking all antipsychotics forever.” He also told him, in front of me, that the, “antipsychotics would kill him if he didn’t stop taking them.” I guess I can never forget those words. The ACT team he was with at that time told us to fire that doctor. We later went back to our former family MD, but not b/c the psychiatrists told us to fire the other one.

    He was diagnosed by his MD with serious Metabolic Syndrome after being discharged in 2011. He came off Zyprexa with the guidance of that NP who also started him on Latuda during the process of coming off the Zyprexa. He lost about seven to eight pounds a week for a couple of months, as he came off the Zyprexa. She told Neil he had probably developed a sensitivity to the drug, but later, told him he could take 5mg (after the Latuda caused such problems). Since then, he has taken it off and on, sometimes daily for up to ten days or so. I know this is not so great, but of course, I can only do so much. At least he has agreed to keep a medication diary. I told him he didn’t have to show it to anyone, but that his MD, who keeps his confidences, would need to know so that he can have a good understanding of any lab work.

    My apologies for this comment going in different directions. I’m having a hard time focusing.

    The paranoia seems to be the most troubling and/or disabling symptom (which is why Neil has gone back on Zyprexa), as well as some negative symptoms, but my heart and good mind tells me the negative symptoms are very likely a result of him being isolated out here with me for the past year. He was trying to call on friends to go swimming or play basketball, but they kept saying no and when he gave up, he became so sad. They each have ACT teams and I tell you, they get upset learning that Neil isn’t on a cocktail of drugs like they are! He and I both need to get out of these woods and into a place where we will have a social life. That’s why I wish so much we could buy a home. Or, we could move to VT, if I could take the cold.

    The Klonopin was first given to him for a temporary treatment of Akathesia. Then, the NP who diagnosed him literally dropped him and never saw him again. He saw another NP at that practice about a week or so later, and she accused me of making up the Akathesia! She said she didn’t see the symptoms.

    Both NP’s left shortly after that, so we were both left without providers. I had been going there b/c I’ve been taking Klonopin for years as a treatment for anxiety, but I have an essential tremor as well. I know it isn’t the best drug, but coming off of it is hell. A neurologist I once saw told me that organic Cannabis would be the best treatment for me. Ironically, so did the expert Rheumatologist I saw for fibromyalgia, but of course, in NC, that isn’t a legal option.

    Neil came off the Latuda, even though it did help with the cognitive processing issue, which is a real problem much of the time. Latuda made him compulsive and somewhat aggressive in his movements. It also caused a rise in his cholesterol. And of course, the Akathesia was super bad! He continued, and has since, using the Klonopin on an as needed basis, but this new ACT team has not offered him a refill. He still has some left over from the NP he had seen for a couple of years. I know he has gone several plus days without it, and I can tell b/c he gets a lot like me when he doesn’t take it. I think his anxiety is actually a lot like mine, but the paranoia also causes anxiety and I can only imagine how awful that must feel. It truly breaks my heart!

    Argh, I must stop to help Ruthie now, and Neil get to Horticulture Therapy. Sorry for the spelling errors, and poor focusing. I’ll try to do better with this when I return later, okay. I did want to respond more directly to the subject of coming off the meds slowly, and to the fact that the NP who treated Neil for so long, told him he could use Zyprexa every other day, or every two days, or as needed. I don’t think the new psychiatrist believes anyone told Neil this, and they surely don’t agree. It is all about, “Take your meds. Take them every day, no matter what,” –even while they don’t remember which medicine he’s taking and have no clue about his cholesterol or sugar at this time. I am so sick of that attitude and way of treatment.

    Thanks for your thoughtful replies Pam. I hope you are feeling okay today. I look forward to more conversations!

    Your friend(s), with love,
    Michelle ‘dogkisses’ and Son.


  12. Hi, Pam (and hey Michelle),
    I’m trying to get a handle on the number of neurotransmitters that antipsychotics affect and can’t seem to find a straight answer no matter how I try googling it. I understand that Abilify affects seven, and Risperdal affects four, but I have no idea if this is correct, and what the number is for other drugs. The reason I’m asking is that within the past year, my son weaned himself off Abilify and was okay for about three months, then started getting paranoid again. With much regret, he went back on the Abilify. I suggested he think about switching to Risperdal, because since it supposedly affects fewer neurotransmitters (?) than Abilify, he might perhaps be able to get off it and stay off it easier than with an antipsychotic that affects more neurotransmitters. So, now he’s on Risperdal, which presented another surprise in that he added to the weight he had gained on the Abilify. Didn’t see that one coming………..


  13. Hi Michelle,

    As you know, I replied to you personally, via your email, but I wanted to respond publicly as well.

    Interesting that your son never did take the Zyprexa last night, but only the KlonopinBenzos have their place as an occasional drug. I am not against them entirely. Only when taken “three times a day” the way they are so often prescribed. (Actually they are usually prescribed that way “as needed” but too many people don’t see or understand the “as needed” part and only see the “take three times a day” part! And that is how they get addicted)

    Anyhow, Klonopin is powerfully calming, so I am not surprised it helped Neil’s paranoia! Hurrah for that. Certainly the Zyprexa would have had immediately bad side effects and dubious benefits, imho.

    I don’t really know what is in Zyprexa either. All I know is it is a tremendously dirty drug, affecting a dozen different neurotransmitters if it hits one. The cleanest older neuroleptics “hit” mostly dopamineand you know what problems they cause! The truth of the matter is likely that NO ONE knows how Zyprexa does what it does, NOR that anyone knows just what it does at all. Does it DO anything at all in the GOOD department? Who is to say? I thought it did. But I am inclined to believe it was mostly the placebo effect, or the effect of my being NOT on Haldoli.e. the effect of NOT being hit over the head with a sledgehammer any longer is a nice relief!

    It is possible that Neil has not actually taken enough Zyprexa long enough for it to have increased his cholesterol very high. Has he gained a lot of weight. That would be a good indicatorIf not, I would not worry about it. Likely, if he has not gained a huge amount, then his cholesterol is not too high either. But possibly the two don’t correlate well in him. For me they do. When my weight was high on Zyprexa so too was my cholesterol. When my weight went very low, so did my cholesterolNow both are fine! (cholesterol runs hereditarily high in my family but I am a vegetarian, so it is just under 200, which is fine with me!)

    Oh, poor Ruthie, I hope she gets really well and back to herself soon!

    Take good care of yourself!

    love as always,



  14. Hi Pam,
    I love this post! I especially love the style of your writing, but the post is smart and encouraging. Plus, with fatigue, I always enjoy being able to process information! Thank you.

    My son is still taking some Zyprexa, but he never has taken it regularly, at the 5mg dose, since he started on it this most recent time. I thought he was, but not. Tonight, I asked him to take it. He is feeling quite paranoid, and that is such a miserable state for him, and pains me deeply to see. Well, he did take a clonozepam, which I think he truly needed. He was okay within an hour, whistling a little (which I just realized I haven’t heard him do in years! He used to all the time and his father did as well), and he cooked a great cabbage recipe! He had not and didn’t take the Zyprexa. I don’t know if this round of taking what he has, has increased his cholesterol, but I won’t be surprised if it did. He said he didn’t know what that drug is made of or what it does, so that’s why he doesn’t want to take it.

    I also enjoyed reading what you wrote about depression, since I once claimed the Queen’s seat to the notion, although, I didn’t take to the label and esp., to being “mentally ill.”

    Once, while living in Asheville, my mom came to visit. She and I have a psychic connection, for a lack of a better description. She picked up the local newspaper, which was an odd thing for her to do. In it, she found a notice for an evening talk by an author, Jeff —arghh, I forget his last name. He was going to talk about a book at the coffee shop. “We should go,” she said. She pushed that talk on me, and it changed my perceptions on depression forever! I bought and LOVED every page of his book, “Where the Roots Reach for Water” (A Natural History of Melancholia). Every word Jeff spoke rang true to me. I asked him what he did when he felt the dark moods coming on and he said, “I just go to the garden.” So, I planted two beautiful butterfly gardens, and every day was wonderful in that garden. I got so much better!!!

    Nowadays, Pam, I can get any drug out there for anxiety and/or depression. Literally. And, if I wanted a diagnosis of bi-polar, it would be easy to get, haha! Not funny though is it? sigh…

    I’m worried about my son. I’m worried about our family. He did start with the ACT team. The psychiatrist is the best one I’ve ever met, but I don’t trust them anymore. I told her why. She acted like she understood, and maybe she did.

    I was looking at rentals in VT. I still want to go there. They are looking toward a new way of approaching mental healthcare in that state in 2014, much the same as the practices at Cooperiis, but it will be the state mental healthcare, so pretty much free!

    I still wish we could establish a healing home. I believe we could raise the money to buy a house.

    I’m tired now, but thank you again for writing and sharing. I hope to be able to write again one day, the way I really like to write, which this post reminds me of a lot!

    I wish you well, and hope to talk to you soon.
    PS Ruthie got sick again today. No vomiting, thank goodness, but the other end not too good. I’m scared tonight, b/c I thought she was all better, but I started her back on her dry food, and even though it was slow, I think or I hope that the change is the problem. I’ll get her some prescription food tomorrow. I hope she is better then.

    With love,
    Your friend,
    Michelle ‘dogkisses’


  15. I’m rereading and rereading your answer in order to understand better your reasoning. Sounds like you’ve got a very good hypothesis about what has aggravated your mental health for so long. I’m fascinated at the conclusions you have drawn and will be definitely sticking around to see how it goes. I’m still trying to figure out the medical cause of my son’s problems. It becomes an interesting detective game which his doctors have taken no interest in.


  16. Hi Rossa,

    Yes, reduction in meds should be a slow process in most cases, as the dopamine and receptor levels have been re-established in the brain at a higher than normal level due to the drugs, and when the drugs are withdrawn, there can be a sudden “explosion” of dopamine resurgence…to simplify it. But i believe in my case something different is – has happened. One, i still think Lyme disease caused my Schizophrenia from the start, way back when i was a teenager out in the woods of Hamden…and two, i have been taking Ritalin almost from the start of my illness for concurrent Narcolepsy. Ritalin, as you may know, is dopaminergic, it essentially pushes dopamine into the system…Can you see where i am going with this? All along my doctors have been against it, and you can see why. But i think it actually may have protected me from some of the ravages of the meds. So i may have an easier time going off the meds than others do.

    It may also explain why the drugs do not protect me from periodic psychotic breakdowns, too, i dont know…but since there has NEVER, i repeat NEVER been any proof of altered dopamine metabolism in the brains of persons with schizophrenia whatever the underlying cause, i do not believe this to be the case, not even with my continuing to take Ritalin. Ritalin HAS been implicated, definitely, in the conversion of depression to mania and bipolarity, but not in schizophrenia, not in the measured carefully reduced doses i take it at. (Some people dissolve tablets and snort or inject it, and then all bets are off as to what Ritalin’s effects might be on the brain, but t hen it becomes a drug of abuse, not a useful medication taken for a purpose, in my case simply to promote wakefulness in the case of overwhelming daytime sleepiness that prevents driving and other daily activities…

    Also, i wanted to emphasize the importance of not STARTING an anti-dopamine drug without knowing precisely what you are doing to your brain/body…and what the doctors are wittingly or in some cases unwittingly doing as well.

    Thank you so much for so carefully following my blog. I really appreciate it. So many people just click “like” when they see the artwork, but do not read the articles (i can tell from the speed of the “like” clicks..).so it is really nice to know that a few of my followers are indeed reading and hearing what i have to say!



  17. Pam,
    Couldn’t agree with you more re the less than altruistic motives of pharma, and the need for psychiatrists to ensure they’ve got patients. I take a more cautious attitude towards reducing the meds. With your medical background and all-round general knowledge, you no doubt know that reductions need to be slow, and the longer you’ve been on the drugs, the slower the reduction should be. My son has tried going off the drugs several times, and always ended up back on them. I look at his being on them as temporary. When he tries to wean himself off his medication once again, it’ll be a slow process.


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