Many of the misconceptions associated with drug therapies for schizophrenia can cause patients and their families to worry.
In addition to concerns about side-effects, they may worry that such drugs could lead to addiction. However, antipsychotic drugs do not trigger addictive behaviour in people who take them; nor do they produce a 'high' (euphoria). Another misconception about antipsychotic drugs is that they act as a kind of mind control, or a ‘chemical straitjacket’. If used at the appropriate dose, antipsychotic drugs do not ‘knock’ people out or take away their ability to think for themselves. Although some of these drugs can be sedating and make people feel sleepy, this effect can be useful when treatment is started, especially if an individual is quite agitated. The dose of the medication may be adjusted or the medication may be changed after symptoms have been sufficiently controlled.
Medication is the foundation of treatment for schizophrenia and the most effective way to control the symptoms of the illness, allowing the patient to engage in other forms of treatment and to rebuild their lives.