Legal fallacies of antipsychotic drugs

Steven K. Erickson, J. Richard Ciccone, Steven B. Schwarzkopf, J. Steven Lamberti, Michael J Vitacco

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Advances in the biological sciences have dramatically improved the understanding of schizophrenia and related psychotic illnesses. One of the most compelling findings is the substantial degree to which cognition is impaired in these illnesses and the remedial effects that antipsychotic drugs have in treating these cognitive impairments. Despite these promising discoveries, legal cases and scholarship remain replete with pejorative associations with antipsychotic drug action. References to antipsychotic medications as mind-altering drugs and their effects as "synthetic sanity" misconstrue the beneficial effects these medicines have on cognition. We review the prevailing legal attitude of antipsychotic medications and contrast these views with prevailing scientific knowledge. We conclude that legal opinion is misinformed about the effects of antipsychotic medications on cognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-246
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 31 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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