Mental Health Home > What Is Haloperidol Used For?

Some people may wonder, "What is haloperidol used for?" The prescription medication has been licensed to treat the symptoms of several conditions, such as psychotic disorders, tics associated with Tourette syndrome, severe behavior problems in children, and severe ADHD in children. Haloperidol has been approved for use in children as young as three years old. Off-label haloperidol uses can include the treatment of dementia, agitation, and migraine headaches.

What Is Haloperidol Used For?

Part of a group of drugs known as "typical antipsychotics," haloperidol (Haldol®) is a prescription medicine that has been licensed to treat the following conditions:
  • Psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia
  • Tics (including vocal tics) associated with Tourette syndrome
  • Severe behavior problems in children
  • Severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children (for short-term use only).
Haloperidol tablets and oral solution are approved to treat the above conditions. Short-acting injectable haloperidol is approved to treat schizophrenia and Tourette syndrome, while long-acting injectable haloperidol is approved for chronic treatment of schizophrenia.
Haloperidol and Schizophrenia
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:
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • 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 mind and use it right away).
Although psychotherapy may be helpful for schizophrenia treatment (see Psychosocial Therapy for Schizophrenics), medication is often essential to treating schizophrenia. Haloperidol can help improve the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Haloperidol can also be used to treat other psychotic disorders, such as delusional disorder or schizoaffective disorder.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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