We’ve been seeing record-breaking scorching temperatures across North America this year. It’s been so hot and dry with very little rain and so I want to give you a heads up about the effect heat may have on your antipsychotic medication.
If you are on an antipsychotic and the temperatures are soaring where you are, it could affect you in a bad way. I’ll refrain from giving specifics, since I am not a doctor and the effects of heat on antipsychotics are numerous and depend on the type of medication you’re on and your own body chemistry. But I would like to suggest that you try to keep cool and approach your pharmacist and ask him or her specifically about the medications that you are taking and what effect the heat can have on them.
Please do not misunderstand what I’m saying: I would never tell you to stop taking your medication. It’s a fact that 80 percent of people who are on an antipsychotic will go off their medication and relapse. Please don’t use the heat as an excuse to go off your meds. But do make sure you are knowledgeable about the facts.
I am very thankful that my house is air conditioned. Many years ago, after I was diagnosed, I lived with my parents. I would go down to the basement to try to keep cool because they did not have air conditioning. I’m sure you are aware that when you are hot it makes you cranky, irritable, and not easy to live with. So if you have air conditioning, try not to stray too far from it. And if you walk every day or play outdoor sports, you might want to think about taking a break from it until the heat subsides. And make sure that you are hydrated and drink lots of water—and I mean water. If you usually drink fruit juice or cola, you’re best to switch over to water while the heat is at its peak. Take a cool shower a couple of times a day if you find yourself overheating. If you have to go somewhere, make sure you take a couple of bottles of water with you and wear a hat to keep the sun off your head.
There’s not much you can do about the heat itself, but plenty you can do to protect yourself from it. Here’s to keeping cool!