Medicines to treat schizophrenia
How your brain responds to schizophrenia
Neurotransmitters are substances in your brain that carry messages (nerve impulses) from one nerve cell to another. In schizophrenia, there's an imbalance in the neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.
With schizophrenia, too many neurotransmitters are produced. As a result, you may hear voices inside your head and have disorganized thinking.
When medicines may be prescribed
Medicines can be helpful in treating schizophrenia by decreasing extra neurotransmitters in the brain.
Medicines only help relieve symptoms. They do not cure schizophrenia.
Your doctor may prescribe different medicines before finding the right one for you. Medicines include halperidol (Haldol®), fluphenzine (Prolixin®), clozapine (Clozaril®), risperidone (Risperdal®), aripiprazole (Abilify®), quetiapine (Seroquel®), and olanzapine (Zyprexa®).
How antipsychotic medicines work
Medicine to treat schizophrenia works by decreasing the number of neurotransmitters between nerves in the brain.
How normal nerves pass on messages
Neurotransmitters are chemicals that send brain messages from one nerve to another. They are stored in nerve endings.
When there is a balance of neurotransmitters, the nerve is able to send a normal message to the next nerve.
How the brain reacts in schizophrenia
With schizophrenia, your brain releases more neurotransmitters than usual. Too much dopamine and serotonin are produced. This imbalance causes the messages to be sent abnormally between nerves.
As a result, you may not be able to think clearly and you may see or hear things that don't exist. Your mind may play tricks on you. It will be hard to concentrate.
How antipsychotic medicine helps
Medicine to treat schizophrenia works by blocking the extra neurotransmitters from the next (receiving) nerve. As a result, levels of dopamine and serotonin are decreased. Only a normal amount of neurotransmitters are passed along.
The brain chemistry is back to normal levels of dopamine and serotonin.