23 thoughts on “The Top 5 Worst Side Effects from Psychotropic Medications

  • February 10, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    I found that antidepressants dulled both positive and negative emotions. Some meds affected yawning, making it disappointingly unsatisfying. My doctor explained that is related to the impact on anxiety. I tried lithium but it made my hair fall out. I’m not on any meds now but have found them beneficial when needed. Also, especially during the winter, Vitamin D supplements are helpful.

  • February 10, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    I hear you, I am bipolar myself and have been on all of the following meds you listed. Nothing is as creepy as the antipsychotics. I took them for a year and for a few weeks after I stopped taking them, I experienced involuntary creepy twitching from them. Fortunately, this went away over the course of a month after stopping it and popping iron and vitamin B pills. I am sorry that yours has not gone away and sympathize with you. People think bipolar disorder means you’re just moody. Far from that, I can go without sleep for days! I tend to be manic a lot. And if 2,000mg a day will keep me sleeping and sane, I’ll do what it takes. I’m talking 2,000mg a day of a mood stabilizer.

  • February 10, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    The problem is that people do not realize that there are many drugs available and they have to find the right ones to fit their bodies and metabolism. Plus, the key is to have a Psychiatrist prescribe the medications, not a primary care physician who may not be adequately trained. If one has side effects, try another. It may take up to six weeks to work and may take hospitalization for med maintenance, but there is hope. Keep a journal and share it with your Psychiatrist. Foods such as sugars and high glycemic carbs can affect mood, and always drink as much water as possible because with the drugs, your liver and kidneys will thank you.

  • February 11, 2014 at 8:36 am

    I strongly advise everyone to read Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker. It is a scientific look at the horrors and harmful misinformation regarding psychotropic
    medication. It is a terrifying read

  • February 11, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Here in Canada the government is putting new warnings on lithium about the side effects of high calcium blood concentrations and thyroidism. Not sure why after all these years.

    Something besides medicine that has helped me find direction and protection is W.R.A.P. developed by Mary Ellen Copeland when she was on welfare with no where to turn. Google it. Wellness Recovery Action Plan. I have one, and I’m a certified facilitator of it. You organize all your wellness tools that work for you, figure which ones you have to do daily, look at your triggers and figure out action plans so they don’t make you feel so bad, examine how things look when they are breaking down and make action plans for that so things get better not worse, and also you create a crisis plan just in case, where you name everything that will happen, who will help,who will not, how long, where, when, etc… if you ever get hospitalized. Anyways it’s a lot of work but it is another tool I use to keep well.

  • February 11, 2014 at 11:38 am

    I totally agree. It can make a difference in being in bed for 6 months or not. Sr

    Seroquel did not do well for me . It made me want to sleep all the time. As you can see at the present I am struggleing against depression. Just keep trying till
    you get the right one

  • February 12, 2014 at 9:39 am

    When I was put on Serzone, thank God an anti-depressive since pulled from the market, I started hallucinating, and got very LOUD thoughts. I have Bipolar disorder with very mild tendencies to hallucinations, but for the most part, I have always been aware that is what they were. Not with this, and never with the loud thoughts. It took forever for the psychiatrist to take me seriously and take me off of it, and as soon as I switched to Wellbutrin, the psychotic symtoms stopped.Immediately. Hope never to go through tha again. It was a nightmare.

  • February 12, 2014 at 10:40 am

    For the muscle jerks that haven’t gone away, look up tardive dyskinesia. Luckily for you, they seem to have gotten better and should continue to do so. But no one should go on antipsychotics and not know about it. Other meds can cause it too,look it up.

  • February 12, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    What works for one (including dosages) may not and probably will not work for another, as we’re all chemically different. On my cocktail of I have little to no fatigue, dry mouth isn’t that big a deal (I can live with that), no gastro upsets, very little weight gain, no curve balls at all. I do experience the loss of desire..for me, that’s the worst. But then, in a true love relationship, other things count even more.

    I condemn NO med at all. I’ve taken many that haven’t been right for ME, then my pdoc and I finally found the right cocktail…for ME. All of the meds I take affect some people badly. Lithium and I did not mix at all. Lamictal, Seroquel, Celexa DO work for me. I have BP II illness.

  • February 12, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    I’ve been lucky lately. I don’t think I have a great deal of side effects. I’ve been on relatively benign meds for quite a while now. My memory has never been great. Can’t say it has improved.
    I have Bipolar Type II. They started me out on Prozac about a million years ago and as time when on, things changed until I found a few that work well.
    As soon as my Bipolar disorder was diagnosed of course I was put on Lithium. Hated it. I couldn’t do nothin’. Couldn’t think, couldn’t read which was just cruel. Brain was basically broke. “Luckily” I got toxic once with it and after IV fluids, was taken off the darn thing. Yes, they checked my thyroid function as I was about to start Lithium. It was low then. Lithium was NO help there.
    Depakote wasn’t too bad, as far as I can remember. At least my migraines went away. Somewhere in here I developed tremors. I still don’t know if it was Lithium or Depakote, but one day, the peas were shaken right off my spoon half-way to my mouth.
    Thank goodness I got a rash with Sertraline. I used to make tables for a biopharm firm about it and I was tired of the sucker.
    Zyprexa has to be worse than Lithium. I gained so much weight I was WADDLING. I even needed a cane at least one day. Got off of that too.
    I now take Wellbutrin, Celexa, and a small dose of Klonopin, along with Levothyroxine and I have improved and stabilized over the years. Long haul though.
    There is some research going on that may help tailor drugs to individuals so people won’t have to go through that trial and error.
    But no one is getting me on those nasty ‘atypical’ antipsychotics any more than they will get me on a statin. The side effects aren’t worth it.

    • February 14, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      If it weren’t for a certain statin, I’d be dead. I have a condition (inherited) known as hypercholesterolemia. Simply put, my liver alone produces too much cholesterol..diet and exercise alone won’t do it. This wasn’t discovered until AFTER I had a heart attack at age 47 that required a quad bypass. That was really fun….not.

  • February 13, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Kat, What I do not understand is why you think you will have to be on these meds for the rest of your life. I understand that is what the pharmaceutical industry wants people to believe, but that is not necessarily true. There are many non pharmaceutical solutions out there to address your challenges, if you are open to them.

  • February 13, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Weight gain and dry mouth are the two big ones for me. Most of my meds give me dry mouth, and I really have to watch what I eat while on Zyprexa. I gained a bunch of weight on various antidepressants before I was taken off them and put on Lamictal. I also get prolonged QT on most anti-psychotics, so EKGs are a regular thing for me.

    That thing about about weighing the benefits versus the risks is true for me. My meds calm me down and keep depression at bay, so I’ll keep taking them. I’ve been through what I am without them, and it’s not worth it.

    • February 14, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      Right on, Cindy! Benefits v. risks.

  • February 14, 2014 at 9:57 am

    The worst side effects from Psychotropic medication are from the neuroleptics and include Tardive Dyskenesia, Tardive Dystonia, Tardive Akinisia and Diabetes. I took Risperdal for only a year but it left me with Tardive Dystonia, brain damage and diabetes, all the other side effects pale in comparison with what that has done to my life. If you think your miserable and having difficulty now, just wait til something like that manifests in your life – I am completely psych drug free and absolutely despise psych meds and psych doctors, and came to find out I can manage the psych problems with meditation, diet and lifestyle – I never needed the damn meds in the first place but doctors “push” them. Watch out and beware.

  • February 15, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Dry mouth is a dreadful one for me, I’ve lost one of my back teeth because of it; nightmares/vivid dreams, where I’ve occasionally woken up screaming but mostly feel like I haven’t slept at all most nights because my brain has been so active; constipation, to the point I’ve been in the bathroom for up to 45 minutes (never had a problem before); very heavy menstruation, losing huge clots of blood every month;short term memory loss;and the occasional twitching.
    Have finally been allowed to reduce the dosage & start the process of coming off this particular medication – thank goodness!

  • February 17, 2014 at 11:00 am

    As with any medication, you need to weigh the benefits vs the risks of taking it. If you need the meds, you need the meds. In my son’s case he was prescribed antipsychotics for severe OCD and ended up with many of the side effects you mention, and more as well. Turns out these meds rarely help anyone with OCD and they certainly didn’t help him. We need to be our own advocates when it comes to meds.

  • April 1, 2014 at 12:32 am

    I don’t really have anything to say. I was hoping to find info on any new psych meds, dealing with depression. And I found some resources. My personal story is that I have severe depression with a touch of mania. I have been on EVERY psych drug out there, the last and latest being Brintellix. Just wondered if there was some chance something new has come along.

  • July 30, 2016 at 3:05 am

    I’m bipolar as well and I was diagnosed only a few years ago. I’ve only really been bothered by the stomach aches. I’ve recently been having them more often and worse. Was there anything you did that helped?

  • April 7, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    The worst side effects for me have been suicide attempts.

    Cognitive impairment and inability to process emotion.

  • November 18, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    I would like to add to the worst side effects of psychiatric drugs

    Blurred vision (Prozac is one)

    Lifetime addiction

    In long term use: tardive dyskinesia

    Label caused family, friends and society to attack person causing person to feel angry, depressed that I suspect leads to aggressive behavior that leads to gun violence.

    Drug induced mental retardation

    Overloading of drugs in time

    • November 18, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      In general, people who are psychiatric patients are long time psychologically abused by the psychiatrists, family and friends. In addition, they may have experienced physical & emotional abuse.

      My brother was a psych patient. As an adult, despite the decades of psych therapy, he felt lonely and depressed because of how he was treated by mom. His words were: “I had no place to go.” Mom kept bringing him to the psychiatrist and he was just drugged up with so much drugs. When I asked for his medical records after he died they told me it was so thick it consisted of thousands of pages.

  • September 30, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    Thank you for writing this. I thought I was alone in feeling this way. I was diagnosed with bipolar at 14 and I’ve been taking a cocktail of medications for almost 16 years now. I’ve experienced all of the symptoms you’ve described especially dry mouth, fatigue and muscle spasms. I’m always tired no matter how much sleep I get and I’m soooo thirsty. I drink at least a gallon of water and juice everyday.
    Again, thanks for writing this.


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