Friday, May 7, 2010

Extrapyramidal Disorders: A Brief Introduction © Megan Snider

I've been meaning to post this for a while now, but since there is such a huge burden of information pertaining to this subject, I've been putting it off. Shame on me. Okay, let's talk about extrapyramidal disorders. The culprit for extrapyramidal disorders in the psychiatric world is antipsychotics. You may experience extrapyramidal disorders as a side effect of a large dosage of medication or as an effect of taking antipsychotics for a large number of years. Extrapyramidal disorders you are likely to see with antipsychotics are:

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome
Pseudo-Parkinson's Disorder/ Pseudoparkinsonism
Tardive Dyskenisia

The effects of these disorders run the range from inability to move to inability to stop moving.
The effects are also heartbreaking. Some may remain even after the antipsychotics are stopped. For anyone taking an antipsychotic or anyone connected to them, it is important to know the effects of these medications. I recently had to make a choice with taking Prolixin. I had to decide whether the risk of having a movement disorder outweighed the treatment Prolixin could afford. Since I've had a movement disorder before in response to Haldol and since Prolixin is stronger than Haldol, I stamped a big "NO" on that medication in my mind.

Every person will have to decide what is right for him or her. But at least the information is out there. I will say that these disorders, or at least the one I experienced are very painful and can last for hours if not treated.

Newer antipsychotics still carry this risk, but I still suggest taking an anti-convulsant or counteracting medicine with them. The older antipsychotics are dangerous and straight out of the "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" era. They are among the strongest and scariest medications ever created and prescribed. These are known as the first generation antipsychotics.

First generation antipsychotics

I included the video at the bottom so you can see the severe effects of Parkinson's. Remember that some of these antipsychotics create something known as


. I have similar a similar warning, drug list and videos on my post about Tardive Dyskenisia, but I never fully listed all the movement disorders antipsychotics could create. I am sure my list is incomplete, which is scary. I borrowed it from Wikipedia.

Parkinson's Dyskenisia:

© Megan Snider

Sources Cited:


  1. Christine sent me via a link on her blog, and I'm glad she did. You perform a valuable service through the information you provide and by sharing some of your own story. I've gone through six or eight anti-depressants in my day but have been fortunate in that I've never needed an anti-psychotic. I should think taking them would be like undergoing a lot of surgeries (some of which I have had) in that one would need to be desperate indeed.

  2. I'm glad you found something you could use on my site. :) Some days I don't even know what to post on here because there are so many issues to talk about. So much goes wrong in the psychiatric field. Ha ha. But, I guess that's true of every field. Nothing is perfect. I'm just trying to save people from the trouble I've gone through if I can.

  3. I do the same. You can't prepare them for everything, but you can--with luck--inspire them to think for themselves and study what the medical people are proposing to do for them rather than simply trusting that everything will turn out alright. In my experience, it almost certainly won't.

  4. one thing is for certain....if our culture did not choose to lie to its children most of these drugs would be unnecessary. Labelling is the easiest of things to do where human behavior is concerned. Most, if not all, antipsychotics merely attempt to control symptoms....but have nothing to do with the individuals perceptions and subsequent actions which create the 'problem'. I've worked with Agoraphobia and it is an 'extreme' of depression from harsh treatment as a child resulting in abstract paranoia. my stepson was labelled mildly mentally retarded as a result of a system which cared more for the convenience of a label than it did for looking honestly at his upbringing. In the 1st 2 years of working with him and his mother I brought him to where he could begin taking control of his life rather than fall ever deeper into the complete co-dependency with his mother In the process of using simple ancient shamanic tools and straight-forward (sometimes seemingly brutal honesty) he learned it was actually OK to view his family for the mess families usually are. In the same period he learned how he adopted family emotional habits filled with fear and restriction which are parallel examples of the dogmatic conditioning his society forces on its children.

  5. I'm new to your blog, Megan, via Christine's and interested in what you write here for all sorts of complicated reasons, not the least being my ambivalence about and horror at the prevalence of psychotrophic medication today.

    It's good to read about it from an informed source.

  6. I'm just frustrated they keep trying to push these medications on me to quiet me down a little because I'm so upset about the low quality of my treatment. I'm considering quiting treatment and seeking some other way as spottedwolf suggested. There are a lot of horror stories out there and I don't want myself or anyone else I can talk to to be the next one.

  7. By the way, spottedwolf, I'm familiar with Agoraphobia since I have it. I was interested to read what you think about it and if you don't deal with it somehow, it does really cripple you. Your response was very interesting to me.

  8. Snowbrush, you're certainly right about things not turning out okay by itself. You always have to keep having both eyes open for the next twist in territory in life.

  9. Megan, here's a Utne Readerstory about a local (Eugene, Oregon) man who is at the forefront of alternative ways to think about and treat mental illness. He was a victim of forced drugging years ago. I think you will find that he's been down a long road that you are comparatively new to.

  10. Thanks, Snowbrush. I read the website and I thought it was interesting.

    I don't know whether being on medication is beneficial or not. I think it goes case by case. I know I have been more emotionally stable on my current medication, but I still have the issue with Panic Disorder, which I would really like to have demolished.

    So, I'm kind of split on that one. However, one thing I'm all about is advocacy and in that light I might be like David Oaks.

    Whatever road I'm on, like you said, is pretty long and tiring. I want to raise awareness about what's going on in the psychiatric community.

  11. I was thinking of you when I made my most recent post.