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:

Mental Health and Faith © Megan Snider

Oh no. What a can of worms we have here. The blending and blurring of mental health and faith together. Is it a good idea? Should we do this? Should we tell people that only if you believed more that God would save you from the fires of mental illness?

I don't know.

I wish I knew.

I am struggling with this myself. I am a person of faith. On my good days it seems easier to be a person of faith. When I'm driving down Alabama highway 411 questioning my reality, faith seems slippery and hard to grasp.

I don't want to discourage anyone from faith. Please, by all means, believe, pray and worship. There is nothing better for the soul and the broken heart to know that God loves you. There is no better, sweeter tasting medicine than believing that the Almighty has your back. Simply don't rule out medicine.

I put mental illness at the same status as cancer. It could be called a cancer of the brain. It metastasizes in its own way, it destroys, diminishes and obliterates functions; it burns down family trees, ruins communication and refuses to go away, but instead hangs on with the teeth of a 2,000 pound bulldog. When I say cancer, I mean metaphorically, of course. It doesn't show up as a tumor or menacing white spot on an X-ray. But it does require horrible, painful medicine such as chemotherapy.

(If you don't believe me, check out my posts on Haldol, Prolixin and Tardive Dyskenisia. I plan to write more articles on the effects of antipsychotics.)

So, what are you saying, Megan?

I am saying believe. But believe in other things as well. Believe in God and the new, safer medications. Believe in God and yoga. Believe in God and meditation of the mind and spirit. Believe in God and medical choices. Have faith, but don't just limit it to God. Don't be afraid to branch out and see if a medication works for you. I made this statement and I will make it again: I am not anti-drug; I am anti-horrible-side-effects.

Please, nonetheless, believe.

© Megan Snider