Consumer Reports: Antipsychotics “Last Resort” for Anxiety, ADHD, Depression, Insomnia, and PTSD

Kermit Cole
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Consumer Reports affirms that, though the use of antipsychotic drugs to treat conditions not approved by the Food and Drug Administration has increased significantly in the last decade, “our analysis shows that there is only limited research about the effectiveness and safety of antipsychotics drugs when used for these conditions, and that it’s unclear whether any potential benefit outweighs the risk of experiencing side effects.”

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]

11 COMMENTS

  1. Off label prescribing is one of the core issues that need to be examined. Why are people being prescribed antipsychotics for things like insomnia and anxiety. Now that there is demonstratable scientific evidence of long term health risks such as brain shrinkage, it is absolutely untenable that doctors continue to prescribe in this way.

  2. The last resort for treating ADHD, what ?

    No one ever died or got in any way sick from untreated ADHD.

    I “have” ADHD. Something like sitting still on a beach blanket in the sun like other people do is an impossible task , It can take a major effort to remember what I wanted to add to a conversation if I have to wait to long for my turn before speaking. Avoiding boring tasks that take sustained mental effort…

    How the hell would being on antipsychotics help any of that that?

    • 12,5 mg or 25 mg of Seroquel works very largely on histamine H1 receptors, that’s why it’s so sedating. One could try an older antihistamine such as Benadryl instead. I don’t think Seroquel at those doses necessarily causes those brain shrinkages, but hey why not use one of those older antihistamines instead, they’re often OTC. Though I wouldn’t personally use even those for a prolonged time such as many months or years… But it may be better than insomnia for some people.

      • I mean, Seroquel literally is largely an antihistamine on H1 receptors at those doses, just like Benadryl, etc. It’s not blocking dopamine receptors, etc, in any meaningful manner at those doses, so in a sense it’s not really a neuroleptic/antipsychotic at those doses in the traditional sense.

      • Actually, doctors could as well prescribe a suitable antihistamine for insomnia instead of Seroquel. Even if a low dose of Seroquel (<= 25 mg) is not always totally bad if opposed to total insomnia, starting with a low dose of Seroquel risks escalating doses, etc. I've heard of people eventually taking 600 mg of Seroquel for insomnia and/or anxiety. Whoops..

  3. Of course Seroquel works for sleep; it’s a freaking major tranquilizer/neuron activity inhibitor, which basically means it causes various neurotransmitters to bounce off the receptor site randomly as the neurons try to regulate one another. As connections are cut, it’s also like a concussion in a pill, resulting in you being put to sleep, just like someone who got knocked out from a head injury.

    This is why you never use drugs for anything, period, because it just ruins a very delicate process. What I recommend is any kind of treatment that focuses on functional retraining of behavior and mental function, like functional neurology, psychotherapy, and mental excercises to stablize and gain control of physiological and neurological functioning like you were a freaking tibetin monk or something that could meditate 12 hours straight, not eat for weeks on end, and induce any mental or physical process he wanted through thought alone, pleasure, pain, etc. Part of being human is to have control like this, but the typical person is never taught how to do it. Instead, its all left up to chance and random impulse control development, with no focus on self regulation.

      • If you’ve used drugs before then I recommend then you go try to rebuild yourself instead of using drugs for management of the damage. People who have used pharmaceuticals are suffering brain injury, and the only thing that might be helpful for that is functional neurology, and neuro-rehab. People with brain injury DO NOT recover very well without receiving years of neuro-rehab, and that is what most insured TBI sufferers receive. EXCEPT for drug TBI users, which is one reason people don’t recover from the damage or tend to relapse after drug discontinuation.

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