Taking antipsychotic drugs 'can do more harm than good'

The experience of taking antipsychotic drugs can be so unpleasant that they do more harm than good, a Clinical Psychologist argued last week.

Dr Lucy Johnstone, a Chartered Psychologist, was speaking at The Use of Antipsychotic Medication event organised by the Bristol Link group on March 30th.

She said: "Research shows the physical and psychological effects of antipsychotic medication can be as bad as the condition they are meant to treat. Patients can feel traumatised and re-abused by the experience of taking, or being forced to take, this medication. There is a risk of leaving people in a worse emotional state than before."

Also speaking at the event, Psychiatrist Dr Joanna Moncrieff agreed that although these drugs have been seen as the mainstay of treatment, they have no specific effect on conditions such as schizophrenia and psychosis.

They do not correct biochemical imbalances in the brain or restore normal brain functioning. Instead, they create an abnormal brain state that dampens down thought and emotion.

The conference also included presentations from Dr Alison Tierney, who is a carer and researcher - and Clare Crestani, a former service user who prefers to describe herself as an 'ex-detainee of mental health services'.