The Experience of Antipsychotics I: Patient Perspectives

(NB: fulltext provided for all articles.)

Patient excerpt from Rogers et al’s (2008) qualitative study of the subjective experience of medication adherence in subjects with schizophrenia:

“Well you just sort of, you’re walking around like a zombie and you’re like sort of you can’t join in with things, I wouldn’t be talking to you like what I’m talking now. I know I might seem a bit high, but when you’re on [the antipsychotic drug] you can’t even be bothered holding a conversation you know, you’re justsat there saying yes or no, so I won’t take it I’m sorry but I’m not taking it.”

“To me its a vicious circle, you’re either taking the tablets and feeling drugged up or you’re just bloody hearing the voices and freaking out at people you know.”

“I mean to be honest, you know chemicals, I don’t like the sort of stuff running through your blood, you know, and like feeling doped up and that. I’ve had it since I was thirteen and I’m thirty two now so I’m sick of it you know, and I know I could just tell them to sod off you know but if I really needed help, if I really got ill, they wouldn’t be there.”

“If I mentioned it, if my psychiatrist knew you know that I take herbal remedies, he’d just put my medication up, he’d think it was a sign of illness. Its not you know, its common sense… It’s a waste of time a waste of time you know talking to, you know, I can’t really talk to my doctor about it because he sees me as a schizophrenic you know, and you haven’t really got a mind of your own.”


Patient comments from an internet content analysis by Joanna Moncrieff and colleagues reporting subjective experiences of a variety of older and newer antipsychotics:

I’m still fatigued in the morning and can barely get out of bed some days_ (T144)
I feel tired all the time. Too tired to be depressed_ (R316)
I was sleeping over 14 h a night and was so hung over during the day I could hardly go about my normal routines. I couldn’t even get myself dressed to go out to the store_ (O235).
low ability to make decisions_ (T146)
no thoughts or inner world_ (R356)
mental fogginess all the time_ (R1)
altered mental state, cannot focus. Impaired judgement and thinking_ (R372)
blank mind_ (O89)
sluggish thinking_ (O112)
loss of wits_ (O276)
I feel absolutely nothing!! No sadness, no joy, NOTHING_ (H119)
emotionally empty, dead inside… took away my sense of humour_ (T150)
oblivious to my surrounds….all creativity was squashed_ (T145)
no emotions, only a weird, spacey, empty feeling, no arousal, no excitement, no joy, nothing_ (R22)
total shut down of my outgoing personality_ (R181)
emotionless zombie_ (R392)
lack of interest in life, no will to carry on living_ (R16)
too zoned, too robotic, emotion dead_ (O97)
lost of emotions and general feeling that everything doesn’t matter at all_ (O234).
personality is dampened_ (O107).
general lack of interest in anything_ (O291)
extremely hard to move, think, talk_ (H121)
I feel like a zombie, I can’t think clear and my movement is slow_ (119H)
heavy mental and physical stagnance… retarded feeling_ (H137)
I felt like I was in slow motion_ (R21)
I am not able to think properly and am experiencing the world at about half the normal pace…Can’t keep my mind focused and my eyes are slow_ (O114).
mild inhibited feeling_ (O292).



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