Dodging Abilify

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April 14, 2015 | 54 Comments


  1. I take 30 mg of Abilify every day. Having been diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder with psychotic features, my doctor thinks it’s a necessary treatment for me. I can’t say I disagree, because it works. But the tremor in my leg is getting worse and I still have labile thoughts of suicide. Can anyone recommend another treatment that will “cure” my psychotic symptoms (visual and auditory hallucinations as well as paranoia) in place of the preferred Abilify? I also take 2mg of Haldol every day.

    • Cheryl, I’m no expert, and I’ve never been in your shoes, so I can’t say for sure. But being plagued with thoughts of suicide is dreadful—I do know that first hand. Probably more dangerous than hearing voices, too. You deserve some alternatives.

      There are a lot of people these days working on non-drug approaches to “psychotic” symptoms. They include networks of “Voice Hearers” with lived experience, working with open-minded professionals. Some of them are open to using antipsychotic meds for an acute flareup, while others use no drugs at all. Getting off these meds is difficult, and has to be done gradually – but many people are succeeding!

      David Healy is part of a mini-conference on this exact subject next Friday, 4/24, at Yale in New Haven CT. If by any chance you’re in the Boston-New York-Philly region, it’d be great if you could come (it’s free). More info here: If not, you might want to check out or
      – two good sites that have info on these alternative approaches.

      One more idea, if you can’t find alternative treatment right now. RxISK has gotten a few reports from people diagnosed with psychosis who take Abilify, and have found that a much smaller dose than they were originally prescribed works just as well or better to control their symptoms. More on that in next week’s column. Thanks so much for being part of the dialog – hope to hear more from you!

      • Johanna, I am the liaison for Chicago Hearing Voices and will be starting a peer support group in Chicago very soon. I look forward to getting support and feedback from my peers. However, I work full time as a peer support specialist on an inpatient unit and my treatment as it stands keeps me employable and safe. I hesitate to titrate down, as I have low-grade ideas of reference sometimes and paranoia too. The doctor has taken me off the Haldol at least for now because I had a tremor in my right leg. I appreciate your thoughts and feedback and will keep you posted.

    • Akathisia is what you describe. At the dosages You describe if it was me or my family I would try systemic or psychological approaches.
      Best wishes

  2. I thought the SSRI’s were the holy grail…I can see where this person is coming from. I’m sure everyone has seen the commercial for Abilify. My friend who was over one day saw the commercial, started laughing and thought a joke was being played on him. I asked what he was laughing about; He stated, “They actually give that shit to people?” I told him, “yes they do.” I’m not sure what Abilify can offer someone except Hell in a pill. Being a PARTIAL agonist at dopamine receptors tells me its not going to offer anyone any benefits to any one except weight gain, high blood sugar, agitation, somnolence, etc. Mirapex is a full agonist at these receptors, specifically D2 and D3. If the Dr. is so gung-ho about treating depression Mirapex I feel should be tried first. It has some irritating side effects, but I can tolerate them. They have gone away for the most part since taking it for 3 months now. Abilify must still be under Patent, that’s why Docs are pushing it so much. I’d take an MAOI before going on to Abilify. Clearly the Insurance Companies are being ripped off blindly. No wonder why are premiums and co-pays are so high. The makers of Abilify did themselves serious injury by creating a commercial for this stuff. The cartoon girl going to a baseball game after getting her script filled. LOL,LOL.

  3. I knew Abilify was total BS. If an antidepressant isn’t working, then the initial claim of the effectiveness of the antidepressant was false. Plus, I had a severe adverse reaction to one SSRI pill in 2006 that turned my life upside down. Thanks for this great article.

  4. I Am very interested in these comments as I constantly try to work out what medicine does the least harm particularly for psychotic symptoms. I still do not know for sure

    • I am so fed up with the experimentation on my 28 year old daughter that I have turned to experts in Holland for the P450 Cytrochrome drugs. None of the drugs have worked. Abilify gave terrible side effects and my daughter took herself off in one go leading to psychosis and the other side effect seemed to be extreme anxiety and bulimia so it appeared. My daughter was not at all well on this drug. Right now she is on Clozapine – supposedly for Schizophrenia but more and more Professors I am in touch with say there is no such thing so what on earth has she been put on all these mind altering drugs for when she should have had counselling for trauma and what is more I have proven through endocrinologist tests that there are problems. All these drugs long term have caused serious physical health problems all of which have been ignored and this is why I am turning to experts in Holland as these tests are not available in the UK. Proper assessments should be given BEFORE someone is put on these drugs as they may have a physical health problem instead but the drugs just make someone worse. There are leading experts in Holland and I hope to write about this on my website psychiatricabuse UK in due course.

      • Susan,

        If you’re daughter’s initial problem was trauma, which is not actually a “chemical imbalance” in her brain. She likely should never have been put on any of these mind altering drugs at all.

        I dealt with idiot doctors who, unbeknownst to me at the time, claimed my concerns of the abuse of my child was psychosis. I was put on a neuroleptic. It made me psychotic within two weeks. All the antipsychotics / neuroleptics can cause psychosis in those wrongly put on them for reasons of trauma. Proof from

        “neuroleptics … may result in … the anticholinergic intoxication syndrome … Central symptoms may include memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, hallucinations, psychosis, delirium, hyperactivity, twitching or jerking movements, stereotypy, and seizures.”

        But be careful if / when you wean your daughter off the drugs, since this will likely result in drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity manic psychosis, which doctors almost always claim is a return of the original illness. In other words, she may become psychotic again (for me it happened 6 months after I was supposedly properly weaned off the drugs). But once she gets through that (and it may require a BRIEF reinstatement of the drugs), she should be able to heal drug free. Best of luck to you and your daughter.

        • By the way, after ten years of research, it looks to me as if the most common etiology of schizophrenia is likely doctors misdiagnosing traumatic experiences as psychosis. Then putting those so misdiagnosed onto the neuroleptics. And then creating the actual schizophrenia symptoms via the central symptoms of neuroleptic induced anticholinergic intoxication syndrome.

          The cause of most schizophrenia is likely misdiagnoses of the central symptoms of neuroleptic induced anticholinergic intoxication syndrome as schizophrenia. The supposed cure is the cause – “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”― Adolf Hitler. Congrats to the psychiatric industry.

      • P450 Cytochrome is a set of human enzymes, not a drug. To my knowledge, this enzyme has no effect on brain chemistry , though it helps metabolize many substances in the liver. As of August 2019, there are no applications of this enzyme that are germane to a discussion of mental health. I’m jappy to be corrected but the ‘specialists in holland’ trope smells fishy from here.


        • Hello, I also hallucinated for many hours, on Abilify, and have 10 other cases, I’ve found by asking . . .

          I’m 98 % sure I know what happened to you, Abilify is a new class 1 narcotic, similar to class of drugs called hallucinogens, they include LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, and DMT . . .

          I am a former drug – chem engineer, bef. I got sick, ended up in psychiatry, I was given 45 mg Abilify, and at that dosage, for 3 ½ weeks, every night, I hallucinated 6 – 7 hours, FDA has written back it’s drug – induced . . .

          LSD, similar compounds are known to make you hallucinate for many hours, and loss of sense of time, is also common, ie. 10 minutes, can feel like 3 hours, or even an eternity . . .

      • My wife also had extreme anxiety and nausea, the nausea doesnt go away. Horrible drug for people that are sensitive to medications.

  5. We also have a script to try Abilify sitting at home. Even if we fill it, chances are I’ll never try it on my teenage son with autism. The bottle would sit here amongst others cause he is so happy and calm on his natural supplements like skullcap and St. John’s wort which I don’t think he even needs the latter as he’s normally a happy person. But this is also based on a very healthy kid who has followed a great diet 15 years with plenty of nutrients as a base by which to fully function in all ways.

  6. Thanks Rosemary! After the column on the RxISK Abilify archive, we’ll feature a story from a young man who took Abilify to treat Tourette’s. He suffered physical & mental harm that he’s still struggling to overcome after stopping.

    For those interested in alternative ways of dealing with hearing voices, paranoia, etc.:

    Jacqui Dillon of the Hearing Voices Network sent us a link to some good resources, and a network of people who have been there themselves. You can reach them through their website or follow her on Twitter at @JacquiDillon :

    • Hi Johanna,

      Really appreciated your article. It reminds me of a lot of experiences that my brother has been going through.

      Overall, though, his situation is probably different than yours, in that he developed Manic symptoms when he was 19 years old, after his Celexa (an SSRI anti-depressant) was increased from 20 to 40 mg. On 20mg he was silly and a little high; on 40 he became completely paranoid. Once put on anti-psychotics, he stabilized. We took him off the Celexa. He’s received a Bipolar Diagnosis, and has basically been on Zyprexa, an anti-psychotic, ever since.

      I really feel for him, though. It hurts him cognitively, and he knows it. His reading is severely hampered, he’s put on a whole bunch of weight. It’s been a couple years since his first attack. Generally, he’s stable, but he’s still prone to relapses, say, once a year, and during those times his psychiatrist raises his Zyprexa. This always does the trick.

      I’ve seen you post about open-minded psychiatrists who only use anti-psychotics for acute treatment of mania (not for ‘maintenance’ as most do), and some who are open to not using such drugs at all. I definitely feel that acute use would be just as effective as the ‘maintenance’ regimen he’s on now, and would like to even find people who have alternative approaches to the anti-psychotics approach.

      How do I find these psychiatrists?

      I’ve read so much of the psychiatry-critical literature–in particular some of Whitaker’s stuff, and some very informative stuff from Dr. Peter Breggin–but I can’t seem to find anyone who can help my brother. (I live in the NYC area).

  7. Recently depressed because of a severe reaction to unlawful dismissal.Had all of the symptoms that go along with loss of self esteem,loss of self worth etc.Saw a psychiatrist who is very much against antidepressants.Was given some older ones but they were terrible! My GP suggested I resume my excercise program but go for it to the limit! (I ran marathons until I was 75!!Now I am much better,and am on no drugs.There is literature on the effect of excercise in mild to moderate depression,whatever that is!Someof you should try it out,.Why not? Just make sure tour heart and lungs are ok!

    • Noel, I remember reading in Robert Whitaker’s excellent “Anatomy of an Epidemic” – in the great chapter devoted to alternative approaches (other than medications) to mental health, that many primary care doctors in England prescribe walking and running as first line treatment for any patient who complains of depression/feeling low.
      Good for you that it has helped you out!

    • Bravo Noel! And bravo to your GP for bucking the trend. You are 100% right, exercise can be hugely helpful — and if you’re “not an athlete” it doesn’t have to be anything like a marathon. Walking a mile may be enough of a challenge for some, and it can make a big difference. One of my many problems with antipsychotics is this: When I’m depressed, the LAST thing I need is a pill that will pack on the pounds and also make me tired and groggy.

      People also need to be told that it’s natural to be depressed to some extent in response to real pain and loss — and even severe distress, consistent with clinical depression, does not mean they have a “biological brain disease.” How on earth can anyone tell people whose first episode of serious emotional trouble shows up in mid-adulthood, in response to an actual personal crisis, that they have a “lifelong disease requiring lifelong treatment”? It’s freaking bizarre. So glad you & your doc didn’t swallow it.

  8. All I know is I never had psychosis, never suffered major Depression, never heard voices, never wanted to suicide, UNTIL, I was given antidepressants. Then of course later, came the antipsychotics, the mood stabilizers, the stuff so you can sleep, etc etc. In ten years, I became
    unemployable, lost my marriage, lost everything I had worked for for 45 damn years. To finally realise, the only problem I ever had was a severe adverse reaction to valium, has crushed me. Anyone who says they have had any of these ailments, ask yourself… did you have them before the drugs? I didn’t. And giving them up now? I have spent 5 months walking through hell, and yes, suicidal, never ever been suicidal. These Pills Kill, trouble is, while on them, you cant see the forest for the trees. The real “”awakening”” is difficult, to realise what these poisons have cost me.
    The doctors give you the drugs, see you happy and “high”, how many actually go back to the doctors, when their life is destroyed, and they trying to get off the stuff, how many have the emotional strength to tell these doctors the truth? Not me, cause I still have that fear, those docs have such a control over people. You dont have to hurt anyone, they can have you committed, or forcibly injected……. it takes a long time to recover from that fear. So to the doctors, arent we all success stories? Just wish they would read the true statistics, but that would invalidate everything they have stood for, so they chose not to see the forest.

    • Ang,
      I did tell my psychiatrist how his 15 years of poly drugging was killing me and the guy burst into tears apologizing. Naturally I became a legal liability to him and he did major side stepping. I originally went to him because of insomnia (caused by car accident/physical injuries). He started prescribing and prescribing till I was no longer “me”. Any drug toxic side effects I reported to him he considered worsening mental illness and upped the drugs. So how did this help me?? It didn’t. After I realized how bogus he was with his drugs and the Akathisia was so bad I was up for days and nights pacing with it. He considered this “mania”. Geez, how did I ever got through this I don’t know but I’m drug free now and no more akathisia, weird thoughts, odd behavior, being 100 pounds overweight, profuse confusion, etc. I went under the radar but still felt the psychiatrist could do whatever he wanted to me if I officially complained. Yes, it is scarey to know this. I still think late at night please please don’t let the psychiatrist ever decide to have me forcefully drudged even though I quit seeing him years ago. The fear is real.

    • Oh my gosh I soo get it..ive.never felt so dumbed down and fogged out and paranoid in my life..if u want to connect and encourage eachother let in health and wholeness let me know..

  9. Someone said that they’re the liaison for Chicago hearing voices???? I’ve been reaching out for help for MONTHS. Email is Please contact me about peer support, any kind at all, anywhere in my area.

  10. Why is it that countries who cannot afford these drugs find their rates of psychosocial disabilities are lower?

    We ignore the person, and give them a bottle instead.

    History will not be kind.

  11. The things that gets me most about the articles I read on this web site and the responses are: 1. how absolutely opposed people are to almost all medications; 2. how poor their prescribers are, apparently, at listening and observing them; and 3: how frequently people disagree, not only with their own diagnoses but, in the diagnostic procedure in general and how it can lead to the prescribing of medications specifically.

    Let me tell you, first, that I am a Nurse Practitioner with a specialty in psychiatry and I do medication management in a small clinic that sees almost totally Medicare and Medicaid patients. I may, in the future, say more about my general philosophy of mental illness (which does include diagnosing and prescribing) but right now I want to comment on Abilify, mood stabilizers in general, poly pharmacy, and patients who come in asking for medication.

    First let me say that most medications serve a purpose and work for some people but not for all people. I don’t prescribe Abilify very often, not because it is a bad drug but it is not in my list of top 3-5 drugs to prescribe. The major reason for this is that I have seen too many people develop side effects such as EPS at low doses. I could give Cogentin but don’t think that the prescribing of a medication that requires another medication to control side effects is the best practice UNLESS every other appropriate medication has been tried and there is nothing else. I also am not convinced that it is effective as a mood stabilizer although I know some of my colleagues swear by it. I haven’t seen it.

    I also don’t prescribe Zyprexa very often, as well. When choosing a medication, I always review the available medications with my patients and tell them why I would consider, say, 3 medications but not others. Zyprexa is a good drug for its primary indication- an antipsychotic. But, regardless of what the drug reps say, I have seen people put on a great deal of weight, develop diabetes and hypertension due to the weight gain, and then stop it on their own when the damage has been done. Believe me, the weight doesn’t just drop off. When it first came out, the drug reps insisted that it did not cause weight gain and visited the clinic I worked in at least weekly (bringing all kinds of food) so that I began to call them “the Stalkers”. Then, out of the blue, they came bearing a new patient education program on eating properly and losing weight – totally unrelated to our observations that patients were gaining weight because of the drug. If it didn’t cause weight gain, then why this whole comprehensive, expensive (for the pharmaceutical company) program? Duh! Would I ever prescribe it? Yes. In a patient who is psychotic but may have stopped eating and is losing a lot of weight to the point where the weight loss is more of a risk than the weight gain that the drug will, hopefully, cause.

    To answer a question that might be forming in readers’ minds, yes, I do involve my patients in the selection of their medications as much as I can. The patients for whom I prescribe medication do need it. Without meds, at least half of my patients would end up on the street or in jail, neither of which is the best setting to regain control of their lives. But I don’t believe in overmedicating my patients and I definitely believe in getting the diagnosis right, even if it means contradicting the diagnosis given to them by some of the most famous institutions in the area. And my patients do get better – although some people don’t agree.

    At one point I was seeing a number of patients from a specific agency’s group homes. Many of them were on a lot of medications – often 6 or 7, and of course the first thing they would ask me was to take them off. I would tell them that I would not do that until I got to know them, and then, I would only wean them off one medication at a time. Frequently I would end up re-diagnosing them. Then I would wean them off one medication at a time, requiring that they come in more frequently so I could do an ongoing assessment. Our appointments became less confrontational. As I listened to them, they began to listen to me. Our exchange of ideas became more “collegial” and we worked out the whole treatment plan together. Many were down to only 2 or three meds, were functioning better, getting along better. The problem was that they were also getting more assertive in their homes, asking questions, demanding explanations of policies that seemed unreasonable, expecting services that they had been promised.

    The staff began to say that I was making too many mistakes; not giving them as much medication as the “should be” on. These patients were transferred to nother provider at the home’s request, are on more medication but are “much less of a problem”. (except to the new provider with whom they continuously argue about their meds).

    Anyway, my philosophy of mental health varies from many of the doctors that I have worked with in that nurses generally come from a wellness perspective – a “Be all that you can be” viewpoint that I got from my years in the Army. But I do believe in the use of medication, appropriately prescribed, and listening to my patients about their experiences with their medications. I believe that my patients are less angry than a lot of people on this website; and I also believe (and so do they) that my patients get better on their medications.

    • Bonnie S,

      You sound wonderful and unusual in the aspects of prescribing. My reasons and unfortunate experiencing for coming here to post are I was wrongly diagnosed and poly drugged to oblivion by a private psychiatrist. I thought he knew what he was doing and he didn’t (got all his office notes). He did not look into my questions of new unusual behavior and/or physical symptoms when he prescribed a new drug. He always seemed perplexed. I went to a different psychiatrist after 15 years who said I was in no way psychotic and had no reason at all to be on 7 drugs. There is little continuity in diagnosing and to have a profound mental illness in anyone’s medical chart will never go away even if it has been deemed incorrect.

      Yes, I am angry and very upset with what happened to me. I was told I was permanently damaged and would need multiple psych drugs for the rest of my life. This proven to be wrong. I compare this to being told I had cancer and after having chemo, radiation and surgery found out I never had cancer. Psychiatry profoundly impacted my life in a very negative way. I can’t think most of the posters here are a few who had negative interactions with psychiatry. I was not in a group home but on various psych drugs my ability to function was lessen to a point I was chemically institutionalized. I think a lot of us here wish we had someone like you on our team when we were dealing with psychiatry. May you continue to listen really listen to your clients and help them.

    • Bonnie ….we share the same name and vocation. IAM am also a nurse ( emergency trained) and facing a prolonged depression lasting 6 months at a time. I’ve had 5 episodes in my life. Also have been on Effexor for 18 yrs. Attempted a drug taper but symptoms returned so resumed.Recently started seeing a psychiatrist and put on ability. Frustrated. Seeking balance and health. Any suggestions?

    • This is an awesome comment and I wish I could ever get a doctor, psychiatrist or NP that would actually care and listen. I live in Indiana and I have medicaid and they just don’t listen, care, and/or know what they are doing. They don’t pay attention to physical health/side effects or think you know your body and when negative changes happen. I have experienced a lot of trauma in my life and just don’t think I have gotten the right counseling, because I cannot afford it. I have tried so many medications and none of them worked very well and they absolutely destroyed my physical health. Now, I am 36 and weigh 255 pounds and don’t know what to do because the healthcare industry is really terrible in Indiana for poor people. They really don’t care, I promise. They are lazy and they just throw pills, and don’t really follow up on your physical health or if it even works/is helping or is actually making things worse. I gained 100 lbs in a year thanks to abilify and now have high blood pressure and I don’t know how to get out of this hole. My whole point is it is all about lack of money/resources/good quality of care for A LOT of people, that may be hard for you to imagine because you are good and you care, but a lot of people absolutely don’t care, I promise… and are just in it for the money. No one has ever taken me seriously. No one has ever really helped me, if anything they have made everything worse with lazy, incorrect diagnoses. It just sucks. I have learned first hand how terrible doctors and psychiatrists can be at their jobs, especially in rural areas and certain states (like in Indiana) for instance. They are lazy, narrow minded and just don’t care. I officially gave up on the medical and psychiatry industry a long time ago. When all you have ever experienced is negative, what else are you supposed to think? And yes it very much has to do with being poor and having crappy insurance, trust me. When I had more money and had better insurance, I was at least treated a little better, but they still didn’t know what the hell they were doing and diagnosed and prescribed incorrectly. And I am not a moron and I am not severely mentally ill. I have just had a lot of trauma that hasn’t been addressed. I am working on my second master’s degree and research mental health constantly and yes I do have a different perspective because I don’t want to die, my health is important to me, but I feel like the doctors and psychiatrists have almost killed me with incorrect diagnoses and medication and I am just trying to stay alive and healthy. Much easier said then done when you suffer from trauma and anxiety and depression and don’t have much money. If anyone has answers/suggestions… would love to hear them… for a poor person that lives in Indiana… there just really aren’t options…

  12. I read these comments with interest as my son has just been changed from Clozapine to Abilify and he does not seem as drugged up and is functioning better. I am concerned about the long term effects of all these drugs too.
    I am with a charity Bio-Balance Health that has brought a scientist to Australia to train Australian doctors to rebalance a person’s biochemistry using Nutrients and we have 170 doctors trained in Australia who love the success they are getting. His book “Nutrient Power, Heal Your Biochemistry, Heal Your Brain “by William J Walsh PhD is very informative.
    Unfortunately, at this stage my son won’t go on the programme, but we have psychiatrists trained who are getting marvellous results. Not every time, but at least it is natural.

  13. Well, I dunno why your doc was so skeptical. I was sedated on 2mg of Abilify. I slept 16 hours a day for nearly 2 months. Stopped taking the Abilify with no other regimen alterations and converted to 8 hours a night instantly.

  14. My Question’s below History is: Abilify is not the Number 1 drug because it “ONLY helps” people – I feel it didn’t help me and made me confused so I couldn’t help myself – It is probably from advertisements and dumping money into P.R. and promotion done from the Drug company to various sources, including the Doctors themselves.

    Question 1: Thus why, and what does it cost to make those 30 pills with the $900 a month expense price tag? (I suspect it costs $30 to press out 30 tabs at the actual Labs, who know?)
    Question 2: What Perks and incentives to Doctors getting for pushing the Drug?
    (And I mean anything, from trips to Tahiti for 30 prescriptions a month to even under the table cash. There is something crooked about the way this drug is being shoved down America’s mouth, and I suspect Bribery of Doctors play a big part of it.)
    Question 3: Isn’t that last question a conflict of interest between Doctor v. Patient relationship? – – I mean Heroin Drug Pushers doesn’t look after your health by selling his stuff, so why would anyone think a M.D. making money for pushing drugs would either?
    Question 4: Why isn’t this kind of Drug pushing activity outlawed?
    All the answers to the above answers can be found by following the Money trails of Bribery.
    Done in all levels of Government, State and Federal Congress, Doctors, Lawyers and anyone else who stands in the way of a 14 Billion dollar a year (2003) business.

    I have had my own problems with Abilify and misdiagnosis of Bipolar. So bad in fact that at one point I was trying to commit suicide from Depression and the drugs give by my Psychiatrist.
    The more medication (5 mg move up to 10 mg etc) he pushed (to suppress the depression urges to kill myself) the worst it got. Finally A different doctor took me off the Drugs and i am now no longer Depressed nor suicidal. I do believe I would be dead now if the 5150 Doctor had not caught my being better without the Abilify and Bipolar drugs.
    (while in lockup my old doctor called and told the new doctor to resume my Abilify – even against my wife’s desires to not use the drugs. Wow what can you say about that?!!!)
    but that is just my case, your life expectancy may vary with continued use of Abilify.


    An extraordinarily long link – hope it opens. Dodging Abilify looks as though it might get even harder if and when this ‘adherence’ device gets FDA approval. I’m not at all sure how it works, biochemically, but the article suggests a patch can detect when a patient is being non-adherent. Scary stuff. Imagining a time when the thing gets approved for use: will patients be persuaded or coerced into wearing the patch? And what will happen if they do and the patch-police spot someone dodging Abilify? Come knocking? Involuntary admission to hospital for forced drugging? The ethics of the idea itself beggars belief….

  16. This is an interesting article. To me the aversion seems overboard, but to each their own, people do need to listen to themselves and do what they think or feel is right for them, though I sometimes wonder if that’s true, and sometimes people are working against themselves. I’ve been leary and cautious with medications and would rather do natural things but what I’ve tried so far hasn’t worked well (fish oil, B-12, etc.), and I haven’t been able to afford to try much (not enough fish oil, etc.). Insurance covers the medication so I can afford to do that, and at this point I just need something that works.

    Abilify has been great for me, I wanted to try it. Not because of the silly commercial or any marketing or doctor’s suggestions (which there were none), but because I’d been doing some reading about medications for awhile and wanted/needed something to help me and for some reason I felt/thought it would. I had previously tried Seroquel (concern blood sugar/weight gain, made me drowsy), Wellbutrin (made me quick to anger/blowup), Celexa (made me too drowsy), Ritalin for suspected ADD (made me hypomanic/manic? not able to think well), and now recently Trileptal (too drugged/drowsy feeling), and while they worked in some ways, they didn’t overall, and I didn’t like how they made me feel in one way or another.

    Abilify on the other hand helps me feel like myself again, I can actually think better like I used to, and I feel good and level emotionally. I take a very small dose now as I’m just beginning again, 0.5mg. I’ve even started at 0.25mg before because I’ve been afraid, and that amount really isn’t enough haha, but 0.5mg is. In the past I got to a point where I felt that wasn’t enough and went to 1mg. When I first started I was put on 2 or 3mg which is from what I know the typical starting dose, and that was too much. I felt drugged, had a hard time making my body move and breathe for a walk, etc, noticed some annoying tightness-like sensation in the back of my neck/base of my head which made me think of TD which concerned me. I have had the typical restlessness or insomnia, and chest pain at times, which can be from anxiety caused from it, not sure or if it’s actual heart problems. That has concerned me and that’s why I’ve quit taking it before. I might need to do every other day, off and on, it’s seemed that way with alot of medications for me. But this is the best I’ve had so far and I need to be able to function and get things done.

    So anyway, the 2-3mg was obviously too much for me, and a very low dose works for me though which is great. It might just be helping for depression vs bipolar or schizophrenia since it’s such a low dose, and from what little I’ve read it doesn’t start helping bipolar or schizophrenia until higher doses. I couldn’t imagine something like 30mg haha. So hopefully writing my experience here helps people or the writer who have been afraid to try.

  17. As someone with Bipolar II, I can tell you that yes, there are mania’s involved because I’ve checked myself into the psyche ward twice because of them. Bipolar II is the milder version of Bipolar I, mostly mood swings from hell. Someone who is untreated for either puts themselves and others in danger. It took getting on Lamictal in 2004 to notice a difference in how I felt overall…and it was for the better. I even had friends tell me there was a marked improvement. Since I started taking Lamictal, I haven’t had one single mania, and it’s been 12 years. In essence, it saved my life, and I am very grateful for it. Generic doesn’t work for me (yes, there IS a difference, try about 30% or more), so I have to get a “formulary exception” from my Medicare Part D provider for it, as well as other meds. Fortunately, I’ve found a combination that gets along: Wellbutrin SR and Lamictal. Lamictal is particular in which meds it gets along with, so I got lucky. As for Abilify, the moment I first learned about it, I had a very negative vibe from it, as in no way in hell would I touch it with a 10′ pole! What I read about it only validated my suspicions, so I avoid it like the plague. A friend’s husband had success with it, which is a blessing because he was more severe mania than depressive, so if it can work for him, it can work for others. Medication is essential in treating mental disorders, as well as learning coping skills and therapy.

  18. I have a question. Has anyone had a bad experience with abilify?
    My partner who has a history of depression needed some help because he was having trouble with grieving a loss. He was referred to a psychiatrist. He was prescribed 2mg abilify. He started hearing the neighbors thru the walls. I convinced him to make an emergency appt to get help stopping the prescription. Instead, the Dr doubled the dose. Now on top of communicating thru walls he is getting very agressive. His Dr can’t see him till after the hollidays.
    We have lived together for 16 years, i don’t even know this person.

      • I read your post. Sorry to hear about your step-dad, i hope he gets back to where he was.
        Over the weekend my partner was allowed to self check in at our local e.r.. he checked himself out when he thought the staff was making fun of him behind his back. Now that he is home he thinks the staff is conspiring with the neighbors.
        I hope this wears off, i am very concerned that it has done permanent damage.

    • I have had the worst nightmares/night terrors of my life that started when i started taking abilify 3 years ago. they never stopped.

  19. Hi there … my 74-year-old step-dad has suffered from anxiety, depression and many other things over many many years. After abusing xanax and other meds, we had to put him in-patient at a facility where he stayed for 2 weeks to get off xanax and level out. Unfortunately, they put him on Abilify without our knowledge. He was on it for maybe 12 weeks total. There was a period of about 2 weeks after he got out of the facility where it seemed as though he was coming out of the fog, returning to some piece of his old self. And then it all spiraled south. He began having tremendous shaking and strange behavior — agitation, pacing, inability to “settle.” Over-the-top anxiety about nothing. Cognitively he was not good either. He has been OFF Abilify for 2 weeks or so now, but he is not getting any better. Neuro says he definitely is showing bradykinesia and signs of Parkinsonism. He is a mess, long story short. I have read that this shaking, slowness and rigidity could be permanent. Our family is very concerned. We are doing everything we can to get answers. Has anyone had any experience like this with an older person who might also have dementia? Thank you for any thoughts. We are beyond frustrated.

  20. I went to an outpatient clinic for depression two years ago. The MD prescribed abilify, but after reading some of the literature about the drug, I decided not to take it. There was almost constant pressure from my therapist and case manager to take it. At one point I was referred to the clinic’s medical unit for a physical exam. They found a couple of minor medical issues that they could quickly treat me for; treatment was made contingent, however, on me becoming “compliant” with my psychiatric treatment by taking the abilify. I quit therapy altogether soon after that. Also, I was a casemanager at a mental health agency in 2014-2015; I can attest to the explosion in the number of prescriptions for abilify during this period. My caseload went from about 1/4 taking abilify, to 3/4 by the time I left the agency.

  21. Has anyone ever heared of being presctibed abilify mainteana the injection for bipolar 2 disorder….well thats what the dr just gave me?? I can find no info anywhere on a dr prescribing this for bipolar 2 mainly im funding the injection used in schizophrenia ..i have no psychotic features?? Wth???

  22. I just started taking abilify about 5 days ago my mood seems a ton better I’m on 5mg for severe depression along with 300 mg of venelafaxine.. the only side effects I am seeing so far is my legs ache and I’m awake or anxious however I was so severly depressed I was sleeping all day so not sure if it’s anxiety..hoping this med works out

  23. I have bipolar II and back in March 2018, at the beginning of a hypomanic episode, my doctor gave me a choice, go up on my lamictal (which I SHOULD have done) or try abilify. I was put on 15mg right off the bat. I took my first dose in the morning as I was instructed to and promptly slept for 20 hours. I could not stay awake no matter how hard I tried. I felt drugged. I then spent the next year and half (my next mistake) on anywhere from 15mg down to 5mg sleeping on average 16-18 hours a day. I feel asleep at work. I fell asleep mid-conversation. I could sleep anywhere and doing anything….I’d just lose consciousness. On my last day of this horror, at work mind you, I woke myself up because the water bottle I was holding fell out of my hand.

    The sedation wasn’t even the whole of the horror story. I had horrible brain fog when I managed to be awake and then there was my memory…my memory has never been that great but on abilify it was shot. Someone would tell me something and I’d promptly forget. I started doing things like forgetting to turn off stove burners and once put away my mixer with a dough ball still in it.

    And the horror story continues five months after my last dose. I’m still not 100%. I don’t get the kind of sedation I was getting but my energy levels are not back to normal and I want a nap most days. My memory isn’t all the way back either. Thankfully the brain fog has dissipated and my appetite (which increased greatly) has come back to normal.

    Overall, 0/10 would not take again. Not only am I extremely wary of new meds (I’m still on the lamictal and I’ve been off and on with celexa), I will NEVER take another antipsychotic if I can help it and after all I don’t have psychosis nor do I get full blown mania.

  24. I was forced to take abilify maintena injection 300 mg
    I m in constant dizziness inside head when standing up and walking, from this poison
    My head feel very weird and I got depression and anxiety because of this
    Will those effects from abilify maintena ever go away?
    I can’t function anymore on my own
    I m disabled

  25. In 2008, I was a preteen around 13 years old, I was hospitalized for my second time for suicide ideation/attempt.
    My entire life I never had psychosis or had taken anything to induce hallucinations. I was purely depressed and had a diagnosis bipolar ll disorder.
    During this time, the doctor had convinced my parents that abilify would be the best medication for me.
    That being said, I am forever traumatized by this event I am about to describe, of how my mind slipped right out from under me..
    I remember laying in the hospital cot, unable to sleep one night. I had a very uncomfortable feeling, of being restless and not able to close my eyes for more than a few moments at a time.
    I remember staring and becoming fixated at a cup of water and a chapstick i had on a nightstand beside my hospital cot. The chapstick kept inching closer and closer to me. The cup of water kept sliding around the nightstand untouched.
    I kept telling the nurses, I couldn’t sleep and I felt like something wasn’t right. I was given trazadone as a sleeping aid and was told to try and sleep.
    At this point- I was laying on the cot, praying to keep my eyes closed. Everytime I looked at the cup and the chapstick on the nightstand it would move again. I kept trying to ignore it and go to sleep without having any success. The next time I looked at the cup, it had a mini campfire inside of it and faries were dancing inside around the fire inside the cup.
    At this time, I still was conscience. I knew this wasn’t real. Its not possible.. I thought of a million reasons why my mind was playing tricks on me. I kept saying to myself “My thoughts are racing and thats the only reason. I can’t sleep” or “Im just stressed out and over tired, and thats why I’m not seeing correctly”.
    Keep in mind that I am 13 years old. Never had experienced any type of psychosis or hallucinations. I was only hospitalized for being depressed/suicidal.
    I turned over, trying to ignore the campfire of fairies dancing around in my empty water cup. I stared at the blank white wall. The shadows of the fairies are now huge swirling around dancing all over the white wall.
    At that moment I felt scared. I alerted the staff and nurses. I knew this wasn’t real. But why was I seeing strange things?
    The nurses moved my cot into the hallway. Thinking it might help with my fears.
    That was when everything took a turn for the worse. I still struggled to close my eyes to sleep on the cot inside the hallway. But atleast I wasn’t seeing shadows on the walls or campfire fairies anymore.
    Until I looked up into the rounded surveillance mirror mounted in the hallway. I seen a black hooded figure, i identified as the grim reaper walking towards me. At that point, I gave up all hope on trying to sleep. I sat in the recreational room chair, beyond terrified. There, the books started to fly off the bookshelves like the movie page master. The books would fly all around the room I would duck and hide my head under the chair.
    From then on I lost all knowledge or consciousness that the hallucinations were no longer real. They were very much real indeed.
    I walked around that hospital unit essentially ‘black out’ for 2-3 days.
    I vaguely remember being back in my childhood home, looking out the big front windows to see my dad parked out front in the street waiting to pick me up. When in reality, I was still in the hospital.
    My mother said she called me and couldn’t understand anything I was saying. I was intelligible.
    Around the 3rd day, I finally feel asleep. When I woke up- no longer hallucinating but I was very confused, dizzy, thirsy, and unable to stand by myself without falling. I even had an aid helping me use the bathroom and shower for the next day or so.
    I had no concept of the time that I had lost in my 3 day hallucination. The psychiatrist in the hospital took me off of the abilify and offered very little explanation to my experience.
    Today I am 26 years old. I still have never had any psychosis or hallucinations since taking Abilify. This experience still haunts me. I’d like to know if anyone else has had similar experiences.

    • Hi, I also hallucinated on Abilify . . For me, it began at dose 45 mg, I got it for 3 ½ weeks, and every night, 1 hour after getting it, or so . . I began vividly hallucinating pictures, and objects . . I saw three tv – screens, floating in the air in front of me, with weird pictures, and I experienced the now documented side-effects, of hypersexuality, I was three times more aroused, while it happened . . . After a little over 3 weeks, I attempted a suicide, jump from 7th floor, but glass didn’t break . . .

      I have OCD, and mild depression, and I never hallucinate. It happened on Abilify, the 3 ½ weeks I got 45 mg, never before, or after . . .

      I’ve been gathering cases, and so far I’ve found 15 cases, you’re number fifteen . . .

      Examples . . A Danish lab worker was on Abilify, began hallucinating, and was put on other drugs, for about 4 years . . When she stopped taking Abilify, the hallucinations stopped, and she didn’t need any other drugs . . .

      A 17 year old girl got 5 mg, and hallucinated for 12 hours . . She saw popsicles on the ceiling, and there were big orbs of light, floating around, size of a lamp, not small dots . .

      A girl in Denmark got Abilify, and saw the walls, ceiling, and a the sink ripple, like they were made of water, or ‘ wavy ‘ effect . .

      I’ve been looking at the cases, I was trained to be a chemical, pharmacological engineer, in Denmark, dropped out 6 months before last exam, and what I’ve found is, this is close to LSD . . Bec. of my training, I’ve found the receptor information, and it looks like Abilify works in the LSD – receptor, called 5-HT2a . . Or, serotonin-2a receptor, in the brain, the regulates sleep, drowsiness, psychosis . . . LSD has a weird effect, it sort of sits in the receptor, and makes it send a constant 25 % signal, like when you’re asleep . . Normally, the receptor goes up and down, from 0 % to 100 % activity when awake . . . And, all known hallucinogens, LSD, psilocin, mescaline, and DMT work in this receptor, also stuff like peyote, used in ‘ spiritual ‘ rituals, by shamans, ayahuasca, I think . .

      So, what does LSD do . . It makes you hallucinate what is in your surroundings, and sub-conscious, at the time, in a chaotic way . . When I was on Abilify 45, during the hallucinations, I had trouble sleeping, or looking away . .

      Another guy, got Abilify, and he had a very traumatic experience, he saw blood dripping from the ceiling, and knives being stabbed into the walls, like hallucinations . . It happened every time he got 30 mg . .

      Note that the dosage where it happens, is quite different, some get 12 hour hallucinations on 5 mg, for me it was 45 mg, it looks to be in that range . . Note also the company lied about the disinhibition side-effects, and it was revealed in court . . .

      The danish FDA has written back twice, they THINK it’s side-effects, my new doctors says it sounds like it, and my new psychologist says he thinks so, based on my description . . .

      Did you know doctors only report 2 % of side-effects, if they’re serious, or unknown, according to a danish FDA study, this is for Denmark, we have one of best health-care systems in the world, at least officially . . .

      You are not alone, and your case is very important, bec. it’s VERY clear, you didn’t hallucinate before, or ever since, and stuff happened, on Abilify . . Me too, for 3 ½ weeks, I was terrified . . .

      Now, LSD is known for doing weird things, classically it can change perception of time, so 10 minutes feel like 3 hours, or in some cases, time feels infinite, so the hallucinations never stop, you lose perception of time, you can read about in wikipedia, for LSD . .

      It can also cause ego-dissolution, where you leave your body, and look at it, from the outside . . .

      A girl where I live, same housing project, got Abilify, and saw people, also objects, that were not in her apartment, she had done weed before, told her doctor she was on ‘something’, was hallucinating, and he stopped . . It went away . . . So far, have 15 cases, some talk about going to the hospital, bec. of it . . .

      Feel free to write me, at, if you want me to send you the science, and the cases, I’ve found . . .

      Hallucinogens are ALL class 1 narcotics, and since the 1960’s medicine has globally said this . . .

      1. NO medical use . .
      2. High potential for addiction

      Class 1 narcotics are so bad, they’re not allowed to be inside the borders, of my country, Denmark . . . Possessing a single dose, leads to immediate arrest, bec. it’s so dangerous . . .

      You have what is called a ‘ bad ‘ trip, bec. you were scared, anxious, or perhaps agitated, most people are when they’re put in mental hospitals, and given this drug . . .

      I’ve had a 1-to-1 similar experience, VERY traumatic, and fifteen years later, got it in 2006, it has destroyed my life, social network, bec. I’m afraid of what the hallucinations mean . . .

      It’s worrying, bec. LSD takes what is in your mind, and makes you hallucinate it, in chaotic, random ways . . . So, if you’re in the hospital bec. you’re sick, it’ll be a ‘ bad ‘ trip, most of the time . . . It’s very dangerous and, it needs to be stopped . . .

      Write me, if you want to see the FDA answers, I can send the answers, cases to you, then send them directly to the FDA, and ask what they think . . Doctors only report 2 % of side-effects, in general, as law – required, and in the case of Abilify, it’s much lower . . .

  26. Hi there,
    I’m suffering from debilitating brain fog and depersonalization. No other symptoms. No depression, no anxiety, no psychosis, nothing else.
    I went to my neurologist today, he described me a low dose of abilify for brain fog. I’m quite unsure if I should take it.
    Abilify isn’t normally used for brain fog and I read some reports that this medication may even cause brain fog.
    I really don’t won’t this fog to become worse. I already lost my job because of it, been unemployed for 1,5 years now.
    I know that most people reading this aren’t doctors, but does anyone have a suggestion if I should take abilify. Do you guys think it will help with brain fog or depersonalization?

  27. So basically I have been on abilify for 1.8 years now. I still dont feel right on it. I have brain fog and restlessness as well as not being able to think strait. I also feel very agitated all the time and can no longer do anything that requires alot of concentration as I have inner restlessness and feel jittery when ever I do anything that excites me. When I get anxious my arms and legs start to shake and this really upsets me. I also have extreme forgetfulness that nothing can solve and its affecting me at work. Due to all of this I feel very depressed and have been feeling suicidal. Everytime I go to the doctor about it they say it’s the illness and not the medication when I know for a fact it is the medication. Even in my worst episodes I was never like this. This is just mental torture. I’d rather be dead that take this for the rest of my life and am seriously considering suicide because of feeling like this.i just want to be normal again. Recently I have been feeling more angry and have been getting really disturbing intrusive thoughts and I dont know what to do. I nowhave thoughts of harming myself and others even though I would never harm others because I feel so depressed I just feel something has changed in me and I want it back. I am a paranoid schizophrenic.

  28. […] “I have seen many commercials about how drugs like Abilify can perk people right up,” one woman wrote to RxISK. “So, I was not only disappointed and frightened by the results, but felt once again tricked and exploited by the big promises that drug companies make but never seem to keep.” Amen, sister.” – This is from part 2 of Johanna Ryan’s series that started with Dodging Abilify. […]

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