A psychotic person is one who is out of touch with what is happening in life. Such individuals have very weird behaviors. For example, Ursula, who is super-hyper, has symptoms of insomnia. She is always anxious and also experiences paranoia. These are symptoms of an illness called schizophrenia. Antipsychotic medications try to suppress the symptoms, but they do not cure the illness. This helps in making the patient feel a bit normal.
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Types of drugs taken
The first drug that Ursula was taking before changing her physician was Ziprasidone, and the second medication was Abilify (aripiprazole). Ziprasidone is injectable and can also be taken orally. It is used to treat psychoses (schizophrenia). This drug plays a role in the inhibition of communication between the brain and nerves. It achieves this by acting as a barrier to the receptors of the nerves. Ziprasidone is not associated with weight gain like the other antipsychotic drugs. It does not increase the level of cholesterol. Hence, this is the reason why there is no weight gain. Abilify is also used in treating psychotic conditions. The drug is mainly administered to adults. That is why Ursula was put on it. Abilify functions by acting as a blockage to several nerve receptors. It reduces some of the impulses that are normally sent to nerves. The drug has some effects on serotonin and dopamine, whereby it makes the chemicals function to a less extent.
Cause of weight gain
The cause of Ursula’s weight gain was due to the use of the Abilify to treat her psychotic disorder. It has been known to have symptoms of weight gain as a side effect. Also, it causes a rise in the level of cholesterol and lipids in patients. It also causes a rise in sugar level. All three conditions eventually cause weight gain on a patient.
Effects of Abilify on dopamine
Dopamine is a brain hormone that performs different functions. It derives its name from its chemical structure. There is a removal of a carboxyl group, which brings about the formation of an amine molecule. Dopamine plays a role of a neurotransmitter in the brain. Abilify has unique effects on dopamine as compared to the first and second-generation agents. It tends to block many receptors on the brain nerves of several neurotransmitters. These are chemicals in the brain that facilitate the communication between nerves. Abilify reduces the level of white blood cells and affects the body’s ability to regulate body temperature. Both first and second-generation agents may have several similar side effects, such as drowsiness, increased heartbeat, weight gain, and decreased sexual ability.
Ursula is incorrect because one of the side effects of Abilify is weight gain. It increases the level of lipids and cholesterol in the body. This is due to the increased appetite for fatty and sugary foodstuff. It also increases the transmission of impulses to norepinephrine, which makes a person to crave for food. The addition of more cholesterol and lipids automatically means that there would be an increase in weight. Another side effect that contributes to weight gain is an increase in sugar levels. The drug has other side effects, such as an increase in the probability of stroke, fever, increased sweating, stiff muscles, and decrease in the number of white blood cells. My suggestion to Ursula is to consider to start using another drug to prevent weight gain, such as an antidepressant.