The treatment of bipolar disorder, major depression, autism, and schizophrenia are the primary uses for Abilify. Occasionally, the medication can also be used "off-label" to treat other conditions. Among these possible off-label uses are the treatment of behavioral problems in elderly people with dementia and the treatment of other behavior problems.
Abilify® (aripiprazole) is a prescription medicine known as an "atypical antipsychotic" that has been licensed to treat the following conditions:
- Bipolar disorder
- Major depression (when antidepressants are not adequate, to be used along with antidepressants)
- Irritability associated with autistic disorder.
Schizophrenia is one of the most confusing and disabling mental illnesses. It is a group of mental disorders that involve abnormal thinking. Although the causes of schizophrenia are not fully understood, it is currently thought that genetics and environmental factors play an important role in developing the illness.
Depending on the type of schizophrenia (see Types of Schizophrenia), symptoms may include the following:
- Thought disorders
- Disorders of movement
- Flat affect (immobile facial expression, monotonous voice)
- Lack of pleasure in everyday life
- A diminished ability to initiate and sustain planned activity
- Speaking infrequently, even when forced to interact
- Poor executive functioning (the ability to absorb and interpret information and make decisions based on that information)
- An inability to stay focused
- Problems with working memory (the ability to keep recently-learned information in the mind and use it right away).
Although psychotherapy may be helpful for schizophrenia (see Psychosocial Therapy for Schizophrenics), medication is often essential to schizophrenia treatment. Abilify can help improve the symptoms of schizophrenia. It also helps to prevent schizophrenia relapses (worsening of schizophrenia). However, Abilify is not a cure for schizophrenia.