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Is my antipsychotic decreasing my intelligence?


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hi just curious. ive been on antipsychotics(risperidone) for almost a year now(although recently low dosages). i also used to take a different anti psychotic(zyprexa) a year or two before that for a short period of time. well anyways long story short, i have been finding reading is harder for me now. now i was thinking this might be because i havent been in school for a very long time(for at least a year and a half), and i dont read that much, so maybe it has to do with that. my mom suggested it might be my illness(paranoid schizophrenia) as well. i have read that antipsychotics can cause a loss of brain tissue. but the question is can they make u less intelligent? So I was wondering is it because of the antipsychotics or for the two other reasons i just mentioned?

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This is a very good question. I think most people agree that episodes, whether psychotic or manic, are really bad for our brains. I think it is possible that my meds have made me a little dull witted, and I cannot read as well as before. But not treating my illness would be very self destructive.

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I think the APs that I have been on definately affected my performance at work. When I started my current job over 5 years ago I was on Seroquel, I found my job challenging....concentration problems....easily getting confused....working memory, short term memory and long term memory problems. Problem solving was very difficult too. I just plodded along and did the best I could. Then after 3 years I had to go off the Seroquel coz I was gaining too much weight. My pdoc swapped me on to Geodon and I lost a significatn amount of weight. Then when it came to my job performance review my manager told me that I was performing much better since I had lost weight. She doesn't know that I have an MI or that I was on any medication. So there was definately a noticable change in my performance with the change in meds. Now I am being weaned off the Geodon because I have been well for a long time....I am only on 40 mg a day now and I have noticed that I am able to do things much quicker and easier but my stress levels have sky rocketed...not sure if that is just a withdrawal effect or not. My main point though is that I wouldn't have been able to work at all with my MI symptoms without being treated by APs. I had to use workarounds to manage my job and not have my difficulties be discovered by my boss. I have written instructions on how to do each thing in my job as everything is very detailed and complicated....I can fall back on these if I need to. I now have to be careful I don't get sick again while off my meds...my pdoc said he is happy that I am aware enough of when I am becoming unwell and said to just return to taking my meds again if I need to. So it will be interesting to see how I manage my job without meds for the first time.

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Mania and psychosis eat brain cells for breakfast so it's hard to say if it's the meds or what you were taking the meds for that made the difference.

I know 2mg risp. helps get a lot of the noise out of my head so I can while other APs have had varying degrees of cognitive side effects. The question isn't really if you are as sharp as you were sometimes off of APs. It's if you're more functional in general with everything averaged out.

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hi just curious. ive been on antipsychotics(risperidone) for almost a year now(although recently low dosages). i also used to take a different anti psychotic(zyprexa) a year or two before that for a short period of time. well anyways long story short, i have been finding reading is harder for me now. now i was thinking this might be because i havent been in school for a very long time(for at least a year and a half), and i dont read that much, so maybe it has to do with that. my mom suggested it might be my illness(paranoid schizophrenia) as well. i have read that antipsychotics can cause a loss of brain tissue. but the question is can they make u less intelligent? So I was wondering is it because of the antipsychotics or for the two other reasons i just mentioned?

No. Antipsychotics might correlate with a lower volume of brain tissue, and a higher volume of CSF in the ventricles. The studies I've seen on this have seemed very problematic to me. They're done within a relatively small time frame, they don't account for the brain's volume before beginning AAP treatment, and they don't have control groups on non MI people. As far as I know, no correlation has been found between this brain volume reduction and either disease severity or cognitive performance.

Personally, I've never had an issue with an AP dumbing me down. Those ac's, thoguh, long for my stupidity.

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Mania and psychosis eat brain cells for breakfast so it's hard to say if it's the meds or what you were taking the meds for that made the difference.

I know 2mg risp. helps get a lot of the noise out of my head so I can while other APs have had varying degrees of cognitive side effects. The question isn't really if you are as sharp as you were sometimes off of APs. It's if you're more functional in general with everything averaged out.

Sorry to be the voice of dissent on this one, but it's really not so clear at all that mania and psychosis eat brain cells for any meal at all. Reductions in tissue volume aren't necessarily reductions in functional tissue. It's impossible to say which came first, anomolous brain volume, or the disorder. It's also proven very difficult to find nonmedicated subjects, to check out what effect the meds might be having, if any. The little I have found about it suggests the meds aren't an exacerbating factor.

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I have found that AAP's have affected my cognition a bit. I noticed my memory isn't as good, I don't spell as well, and it takes me longer to read. Lamictal hasn't really bothered me in that regard, except when I was titrating and the dose wasn't quite right. Now the dose is good, and I function OK on it. I was on Lamictal itself before an AAP, so that's how I know the difference. I've also found that when switching AAP's I get a little cognitive dulling at first. It gets better, but I'm definitely not at 100% brain-wise.

I will say that being depressed is worse in terms of cognitive functioning, though. I have trouble with details when depressed, I can't concentrate, and I'm pretty unmotivated to do anything. So I suppose AAP's beat depression in that regard. I am finding that I'm having some difficulty tolerating AAP's, so I'm moving on to something else. Here's hoping that doesn't make my brain functioning worse. ;)

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I felt like when the thoughts slow down I could finally hear myself think. I don't know what it does to brain cells but having mood or psychotic episodes make it difficult for me to think clearly/concentrate at all.

I do feel duller, but I think for me it's probably from aging.

As was mentioned, depression really sucks up my cognitive functioning.

I don't know the answer to your question, but for me I need an aap to function. It beats having episodes.

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I think (at least for me, and this is just opinion) that untreated psychosis led to a far greater reduction in intelligence than my meds. But then I am not too convinced (and won't be until I see the evidence) that taking meds has done anything to return the intelligence that I once had. When I was in high school, I was a high achiever. But when I started uni and became ill my grades went through the floor.

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