Drugs for Mental Illness Can Cause Sudden Death

By on September 1, 2009
antipsychotic drug side effects

While drugs for mental illness may be necessary for some people, the unfortunate truth is that these drugs for mental illness can lead to sudden heart deaths. The severe mental condition called schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder is NOT the ‘multiple personality disorder’ that many think of when they hear the term, but is an entirely different mental illness characterized by bizarre behaviors like paranoia, hearing voices, and having hallucinations. It is often acquired after a stressful life event and occurs swiftly and unpredictable in what is known as a ‘psychotic break’. This is devastating for the patient and their family who suddenly have to live with a diagnosis of mental illness. And that is just the first step in a life filled with doctors, psychiatric facilities, medications and psychiatrists- with little hope to ever really have a normal life again.


Drugs for Mental Illness are not a Cure.

There is no ‘cure’, in traditional medicine, for Schizoaffective Disorder; and a prescription for one or more anti psychotic drugs with names like Haldol and Risperdal, along with a cocktail of other drugs often prescribed for anxiety, depression and sleep are frequently on the menu. But what these people are rarely, if ever, told about are the long term side effects of these drugs. While doctors are ever prescribing anticholesterol ‘statins’, aspirin and blood pressure medications in order to achieve a 1 – 2% reduction in heart disease, they are knowingly giving those with schizoaffective disorder, who generally get their first psychotic break as a teenager or young adult, a shortened lifespan from the anti psychotic drugs that they are prescribing.

Sudden Cardiac Death is a Side Effect

In the research available on these drugs for mental illness, it is well known that Sudden Cardiac Death is a ‘side effect’ of anti psychotic drugs. In fact, they DOUBLE the risk of sudden cardiac death. In the beginning, however, it does not give them the “heart disease” of clogged arteries that we associate with heart attacks. The immediate risk of anti psychotics drugs is that they give sufferers a high risk for a very specific disorder called ‘Prolonged Q-T interval’.

Prolonged Q-T Interval gets its name from the prolonged time that it takes for the electrical activity of the heart to return to normal after each heartbeat. But this extra time isn’t measured in minutes or seconds, but in hundredths of a second- making it difficult to diagnose. But this extra millisecond can have the devastating consequence of put the heart into an abnormal rhythm called Ventricular Fibrillation-which will quickly lead to death without emergency care. And this will come on without pain, shortness of breath or any of the other ‘warning signs’ of a heart attack because it is not clogged arteries that are the problem, but the electrical system that is the primary problem.

Even worse, anti pychotic drugs don’t just put people into regular Ventricular Fibrillation that responds well to the dramatic ‘paddles on the chest, everybody get away from the patient and shock them’ type of defibrillation that you see on ER. It puts them into a specific type of Ventricular Fibrillation called Torsades de Pointes, that doesn’t change to a normal rhythm with the shocks and heart-starting drugs that are the ‘Advanced Cardiac Life Support Protocol’ for these kinds of emergencies.

Instead, ‘Torsades’ requires an immediate infusion of intravenous magnesium. As hospitals and emergency rooms have magnesium at hand, this shouldn’t be such a hard thing to do; but unfortunately, Torsades de Pointes is fairly rare and is difficult to recognize, so in many cases it is not even considered until the shocks and CPR are not working- and by then it is often too late for the magnesium to be effective.

But wait, there’s more…

Not only do drugs for mental illness double the risk of deadly heart rhythms, but they also increase the risk of getting diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity- which are risk factors for ‘regular’ heart disease complete with clogged arteries, angioplasty and open heart surgery. Fortunately, psychoaffective disorder is rare- so doctors don’t prescribe these heart stopping anti psychotic drugs unless they are absolutely necessary… right?

Unfortunately, over 200,000 people in the US are newly diagnosed each year and hundreds of thousands of prescriptions for anti psychotic drugs are written every year. And despite virtually no studies having been done, are being given to adolescents, children and even PRESCHOOLERS as young as two years old! Most of these are prescribed by primary physicians without the child having even having been evaluated by a mental health specialist. And nearly half were written for ADD and ADHD for which the drugs have never been tested, nor is there FDA approval for!


“Rates of (doctor’s office) visits that resulted in a psychotropic prescription

increased from 3.4 percent in 1994-1995 to 8.3 percent in 2000-2001.

By 2001, one out of ten office visits by adolescent males resulted in a

prescription for a psychotropic medication.”

Trends in the use of psychotropic medications among adolescents, 1994 to 2001.

While researchers who study the cardiac death risks of drugs for mental illness are advocating “sharp reductions” in their use- doctors have been ignoring this advice and continue to increase the prescriptions written each year for these drugs.. These patients, who are often children and teens without actual schizoaffective disorder, will somehow have to deal with several chronic health conditions that will not only shorten their lives, but decrease the quality of a life already made more difficult by mental illness.

While the traditional medical world doesn’t see an alternative to dangerous drugs for mental illness, and most are resigned to taking these drugs for life, there is much evidence that mental illness is a NUTRITIONAL problem with other medical components to it such as:

  • Overwhelming Toxicity
  • Heavy Metal Buildup
  • Candida Overgrowth Infections
  • Food Allergies
  • Nutritional Deficiencies

Really, if you address many of these problems, then you actually can relieve, if not completely overcome mental illness. If you are suffering from any mental illness, then really, what have you got to lose. Traditional medicine has not helped you, has it. And it might have even made you even worse- as so many people tell me.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so please leave a comment below.

About Kerri Knox, RN

The author is a Registered Nurse and Functional Medicine Practitioner. With 20 years of experience in health care, she has the unique perspective of being solidly grounded in both Conventional Medicine and Alternative Medicine. She can help you to to find and repair the underlying causes of chronic illness, while empowering you to take charge of your own health. She is the owner and author of this blog and website.
maxwellhorwitz@yahoo.com' Maxwell Horwitz says:

I take an antipsycotic medication .This information was very helpful. I am never taking it ever again. I kept telling my parents these problems and nobody wanted to listen to me.

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