Therapy of psychoses
How long must I take my medicine?
How long you have to be treated with antipsychotics or other medicines depends primarily on the course of your illness. One says, of course, that persons with a first psychotic phase have to be treated for at least a year and persons affected with several psychotic phases (i.e. two or more) should take antipsychotics for five years, although these statements are only based on estimates.
Here, however, some things are important to know.
Already years after the last psychotic symptoms have disappeared, an abrupt interruption in the course of antipsychotics can lead to an increased risk of suffering from a relapse. Nevertheless, it is impossible to predict who will be affected.
- Do not make any attempts to discontinue your medication alone. This behaviour will very likely once again lead to a renewed acute psychotic phase. Already within the first 30 days of discontinuing the therapy, you have a one to four-fold increased risk of suffering anew from an acute psychosis. Within five years, those who are affected and who discontinue their medication demonstrate a five-fold risk of suffering a relapse, that is to say, eight in ten of those afflicted suffer from at least one, but generally from more psychotic relapses.
- If the antipsychotics should be discontinued, then only in agreement with the treating doctor and very slowly, i.e. they must be reduced step-by-step and very gradually.
- There are some individuals who are afflicted with psychoses who must take medications during their entire lifetime. Here, long-term forms of antipsychotic administration (=depots) can facilitate the administration.
- Important for the relationships with medications are that the advantages and disadvantages or risks must be considered: What speaks in their favour and what speaks against them? Together with your physician, attempt to find the best solution for yourself.
How long you must be treated with medicines, therefore, depends on many elements and, for the most part, on the course of the illness. Speak openly with your doctor about your concerns and try to reach a common solution.