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What is Abilify?

What is Abilify?

This entry was posted in Antipsychotic, Uncategorized on by .

When people are being prescribed a medication that might have serious side-effects, it is wise to research “What is Abilify and how does Abilify work?” as well as “What is Abilify Used For?”

“Abilify is an atypical antipsychotic that is used to treat such debilitating things as schizophrenia, or bipolar, or schizoaffective, sometimes sleep problems, and depression” ~Lyle Murphy

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Abilify Side Effects

Of course, Abilify side effects can cause unpredictable reactions, the same as all antipsychotics in general. These can include suicidality, sleep-walking, sleep-texting, sleep-driving, sleep-cooking, etc. The person who experiences the phenomenon won’t remember their adventure. For safety reasons, caregivers should closely monitor Abilify dosage and behaviors of those taking the drug.

Notably, a recent review found that 95% of pharmaceutical ads clearly target women for antidepressants and Abilify for depression in particular. One campaign shows a scruffy housecoat following a woman around the house as if haunted by her “illness”. As insulting as that ad might seem to a woman, to prescribe an antipsychotic drug such as Abilify for anxiety of depression should scare the living daylights out of anyone. Women outrank men 2 to 1 for taking antidepressants.1, 2

What does Abilify do to the brain? How does Abilify work?

“What Abilify is reported to do is to hold back an excitatory neurochemical called dopamine, possibly glutamate as well, but it’s holding back the neurochemical that actually stimulates us. Dopamine stimulates us to have a sense of reward in life, stimulates us to get out of bed, or get a job. Abilify holds back that neurochemical.” ~Lyle Murphy

In earlier times, researchers would have referred to Abilify as a dopamine blocker or a dopamine modulator. In today’s ever-changing psycho-jargon, the scientists hail this drug as the newest strategy in dopamine stabilization. Certainly, researchers have had 17 or so years to figure out how Abilify affects the brain, and they are the first to say they don’t really know. It is estimated that Abilify half-life is 75 hours.5

And, the brain is wonderfully complex and the whole experimental concept of introducing drugs into such a beautiful mechanism has resulted in “best guesses” and theories that leave us with more questions than answers.3

Abilify Withdrawal

Any drug can cause tolerance to develop over time. Abilify withdrawal should NEVER be done abruptly.5 Suddenly stopping a powerful antipsychotic medication can cause the following:

  • abnormal movement disorders (abnormal motions of jaw/tongue, hands/etc)
  • tachycardia
  • dyskinesias
  • lightheadedness
  • nausea
  • withdrawal supersensitivity psychosis, or relapse psychosis
  • and other or mixed sets of adverse effects.

Be safe. Approach Abilify withdrawal only under medical supervision. Also, never take Abilify and alcohol together or as an “aid” to withdrawal from Abilify.

What is Abilify diet?Diet and Abilify

“The food that’s available to us does not have the capacity to balance blood sugar for one, or to create any of the neurochemical components that constitute mental health”

Along with blood sugar issues, Abilify and other drugs and alcohol rob the body of essential vitamins and minerals. Thus, when a drug contributes to nutritional deficiencies, this can cause a number of adverse effects which can worsen over time. Additionally, some persons may be wondering does Abilify cause weight gain? Abilify weight gain presents commonly as an issue of concern. The correction of this out-of-balance condition, including blood sugar, hormones, and other biochemicals is vital to restoring overall health. Diet can be a powerful healing agent for those using or recovering from Abilify.4

1.  Sharpe K, A Happy Pill in Every Purse. New York Daily News [INTERNET] March 2013 [cited 2020 Mar 11]

2.  Sundbom L, Bingefors K, Hedbord K, Isacson, D  “Are men under-treated and women over-treated with antidepressants?  Findings from a cross-sectional survey in Sweden.” BJ Psych Bull., NIH, US National Library of Medicine, INTERNET] June 2017 [cited 2020 Mar 11]

3.  Bartolomeis A, Tomasetti C, Iasevoli F, Update on the Mechanism of Action of Aripiprazole: Translational Insights into Antipsychotic Strategies Beyond Dopamine Receptor Antagonism. US National Library of Medicine [INTERNET] 2015 Sep [cited 2020 Mar 11]

4.  Ross, C  Alcohol or Drug Use Can Rob Your Body of Nutrients. Psychology Today [INTERNET] March 2016 [cited 2020 Mar 11]

5.  Sansone, R, Sawyer R, Aripiprazole Withdrawal: A Case Study. Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience [INTERNET] May-June 2013 [cited 2020 Mar 18]

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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