Bipolar Jacket


Antipsychotics are a class of medications commonly used in the treatment of bipolar disorder. These medications work by altering the activity of certain chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine and serotonin, which can help reduce the symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Antipsychotics can be used to treat both manic and depressive episodes of bipolar disorder, and they are often used in combination with other medications, such as mood stabilizers and antidepressants.

Common Antipsychotics for Bipolar

Some of the common antipsychotics to treat bipolar disorder are:

  1. Olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  2. Quetiapine (Seroquel)
  3. Risperidone (Risperdal)
  4. Aripiprazole (Abilify)
  5. Ziprasidone (Geodon)
  6. Lurasidone (Latuda)
  7. Asenapine (Saphris)
  8. Cariprazine (Vraylar)

Typical vs. Atypical Antipsychotics

First-generation antipsychotics, also known as typical antipsychotics, were developed in the 1950s and 1960s and were the first medications used to treat psychotic symptoms, such as those associated with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. These medications work by blocking dopamine receptors in the brain, which can help reduce symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized thinking. Examples of first-generation antipsychotics include haloperidol (Haldol), chlorpromazine (Thorazine), and fluphenazine (Prolixin).

Second-generation antipsychotics, also known as atypical antipsychotics, were developed in the 1990s and are newer medications used to treat psychiatric disorders. These medications also work by blocking dopamine receptors, but they also affect other neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which can result in a broader range of effects. Second-generation antipsychotics are often used to treat a range of mental health conditions, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. Examples of second-generation antipsychotics include risperidone (Risperdal), olanzapine (Zyprexa), quetiapine (Seroquel), and aripiprazole (Abilify).

While both first-generation and second-generation antipsychotics can be effective in treating bipolar disorder, there are some differences between the two classes of medications. First-generation antipsychotics are generally more likely to cause side effects such as movement disorders, such as tardive dyskinesia, while second-generation antipsychotics are more likely to cause metabolic side effects such as weight gain and diabetes. However, the choice of medication depends on the individual’s symptoms, medical history, and other factors, and a qualified healthcare professional should be consulted to determine the appropriate medication and dosage.

Common Side Effects of Antipsychotics

While antipsychotics can be effective in reducing the symptoms of mania and depression, they can also cause side effects. Some of the common side effects of antipsychotics used to treat bipolar disorder include:

  1. Drowsiness or sedation
  2. Weight gain or changes in appetite
  3. Dry mouth
  4. Constipation
  5. Dizziness or lightheadedness
  6. Restlessness or agitation
  7. Muscle stiffness or tremors
  8. Blurred vision
  9. Sexual dysfunction
  10. Increased risk of diabetes or metabolic syndrome

It is important to note that not everyone who takes antipsychotics will experience these side effects, and the severity and frequency of side effects can vary depending on the individual and the specific medication. Additionally, some side effects may be more likely with certain types of antipsychotics than others. It is essential to discuss the potential benefits and risks of any medication with a qualified healthcare professional before starting treatment, and to report any side effects or concerns promptly.


Doctors commonly use a medication “cocktail” of antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and antidepressants to treat bipolar disorder. Antipsychotics aren’t just about psychotic symptoms but also can treat the highs and lows commonly seen with bipolar disorder.