I decided I needed to help myself and worked with my doctors to be well. I tried to get myself into a routine to help and learnt coping strategies, but it was my medication that seemed to get the ‘big’ symptoms under control.

For many people experiencing psychosis, medication is a really important part of their treatment.

It’s not uncommon to feel worried about starting your medication, but it’s important to remember that it can effectively reduce your psychotic symptoms and it will help you to get better.

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Medications used to treat the symptoms of psychosis are referred to as antipsychotic medications. There are many different types of antipsychotics; some of the most commonly used ones are Olanzapine, Risperidone and Clozapine. Depending on the type of antipsychotic, they can come in tablet and/or long acting injection (depot) forms.
Antipsychotic medication helps treat symptoms by acting on imbalances in neurotransmitter (the chemical messengers in the nervous system) functioning; in particular the neurotransmitter Dopamine.

I was prescribed Olanzapine which was a good thing. It has helped my mind become still. I used to feel zapped but I’m fine now. I can concentrate better and my thoughts don’t go off track.

I’m now working full time, watching movies all the way through, and getting back in touch with the world around me.

The decision to take medication is made jointly between you and your doctor or nurse, so that you can start on the right medication for you. They will explain to you the different types of medication available, how they work, how to take them and common side effects; and they will answer any questions you might have.

Treatment typically begins with a low dose of anti-psychotic medication, which may increase over time depending on how you respond to it. The Early Intervention Team will usually provide you with your prescription at first, and then you can ask your GP for a repeat prescription once you are on a steady dosage. Your doctor or specialist nurse may also recommend other medications for the treatment of mood symptoms, anxiety or side effects.

You will have regular reviews with your nurse and doctor about your medication and it is important that you raise any questions or worries you have either at these appointments or by contacting our team. Remember, at the Early Intervention Team, we’re here to help you.

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The medication that I am taking now I’ve had for years. I don’t have any side effects and it has helped me do things that I couldn’t do before and given me my life back.

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Research shows that most young people experiencing a first episode of psychosis will do better if they stay on medication for about 18 months. This gives your neurotransmitter function chance to settle down.

If your symptoms go away completely during this period then we will usually encourage you to have a trial without medication, to see if it’s still needed. At this point, about half of people won’t experience psychotic symptoms again. The other half will have some symptoms return over the next 12 to 24 months; and for them, restarting medication and maybe staying on it longer usually helps.

It’s a bit like a young person with diabetes needing to take insulin longer term to stay well. The medication is there to help you get on with an everyday satisfying and rewarding life.

Remember, the Early Intervention Team is here to support you in your recovery; so if you have any questions or concerns at all about your medication, please get in touch.

© 2013 Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Getting help is the right thing to do