Withdrawal,if done carefully and under a doctor's supervision, will not lead to any lasting damage. But taking these medications is important to your long term health, so only stop if you and your doctor agree it is best for you.
My son had a single "psycotic break" at 19 (on the heels of mushroom and marijuana use), and was prescribed 3mg Risperdal daily for "at least 6 months". In less than a week (after finally sleeping) he felt fine, and since then has displayed no positive or negative symptoms of schizophrenia. For now he is taking the Risperdal, but his doctors have not been able to answer our chief question: If he continues to be well after six months, how will they determine at that time whether (1) his was a transient episode not justifying permanent anti-psychotic medications or (2) proof that the Risperdal is working and should therefore be continued indefinitely? One doctor told me that my very question shows that I'm in denial, but I think it makes sense to make sure that a four-day jag of insomnia and mild paranoid delusions isn't the sole basis for his diagnosis. Many thanks for any advice.
You should inform your son's psychiatrist that he/she is acting in contravention of the FDA. Janssen's own propaganda explicitly states that Risperdal had only been approved for short-term administration following immediate manic episodes for a period of no longer than three weeks. Continual consumption of neuroleptics for more than a couple months can lead to symptoms including dyskinesia (a chronic, often incurable syndrome provoking frequent, involuntary movements of the tongue, face, and limbs, often rendering its victims incapable of performing even the most menial tasks), and, eventually, dementia. Thousands of people die each year as a direct result of these "medications" and tens of thousands more are permanently disabled. The principal reason for their overprescription is the undue influence exerted upon the psychiatric community (and, in particular, the APA, which publishes the DSM) by the pharmaceutical industry. A cursory perusal of the literature will yield myriad studies showing that cognitive and talk therapies are much more effective than chemical interventions in treating behavioral deviation, unfortunately most HMOs are too niggardly to support long-term psychological assistance. Moreover, while psilocybin and LSD should generally be avoided by those prone to mood disturbances, a proponderance of anecdotal evidence (including my own experiences as a sufferer of bipolar) suggests that light marijuana use can be an extremely effective adjunct to or replacemnt for lithium and/or herbal (amino acid) modd stabilizers. Obviously, individual reactions should be factored into any treatment plan, but I would try to find a psychiatrist willing to entertain the possibility.
http://www.ahrp.org/risks/biblio0100.php - excellent, well-sourced examination of the various disabling conditions caused by neuroleptics (just so I don't sound like a complete nut :)). Memorize this stuff and barrage the psych with it at your next appointment.
http://18.104.22.168/search?q=cache:FuJL5edduCEJ:www.ahrp.org/risks/biblio0100.php+risperdal+withdrawal+%22brain+damage%22&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=1 - try that if the main link doesn't work...the AHRP site seems to be down right now.
Risperdal is a "Blacklisted drug" according to a seminar I attented at Mount Sinai Geriatrics CME hosted by a physician from Johns Hopkins. It can cause convulsions, there are a significant number of deaths associated with the drug, and I would think three times before continueing on it. Discontinuing risperdal will have nothing but positve effects.