Neuroleptic-induced supersensitivity psychosis: clinical and pharmacologic characteristics

Am J Psychiatry. 1980 Jan;137(1):16-21. doi: 10.1176/ajp.137.1.16.


Tardive dyskinesia is thought to result from neostriatal dopaminergic receptor supersensitivity induced by chronic treatment with neuroleptics. The authors suggest that dopaminergic supersensitivity also occurs in the mesolimbic region after chronic neuroleptic exposure, resulting in the development of a supersensitivity psychosis. Neuroleptic-induced supersensitivity psychosis is illustrated by data from 10 patients that demonstrate the syndrome's clinical and pharmacologic characteristics. An implication of neuroleptic-induced mesolimbic supersensitivity is that the tenaency toward psychotic relapse in such patients is determined by more than just the normal course of the illness.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Dopamine / physiology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Tolerance
  • Dyskinesia, Drug-Induced / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Limbic System / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Dopamine / drug effects*
  • Recurrence
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology
  • Schizophrenic Psychology


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Receptors, Dopamine
  • Dopamine