What is Abilify (Aripiprazole)? - Uses & Classification

Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has a master's degree in cancer biology and has taught high school and college biology.

We will look at the medication, aripiprazole, better known as Abilify. The drug classification and what it used to treat will be covered in this lesson.


There are many parts to our bodies, and each part has the potential to work like it is supposed to or to not function properly. When our bodies don't function the way they are supposed to, we seek treatments that will either correct the problem or make it more manageable so that it doesn't interfere with our daily lives much.

Abilify, the brand name for the drug aripiprazole, is an anti-psychotic medication that alters how some of the chemicals in our brain work and interact with our brains.

Abilify is an anti-psychotic medication
Picture of a bottle of Abilify

Being an anti-psychotic medication means that it is able to reverse the signs and symptoms seen in psychosis, which is a mental condition that affects a person's emotions and thinking so much that it interferes with their ability to stay connected with reality.

Abilify's ability to change how chemicals in the brain act makes it a good medication to treat a handful of different mental and psychotic disorders.


Doctors prescribe Abilify to help treat patients that have schizophrenia. This is a condition that makes it almost impossible for a person to interpret what is happening in their surroundings and to distinguish between what is real and what is imaginary. Taking Abilify helps to balance out the chemicals required to think clearly and can help a person with schizophrenia get a better grasp on what is happening.

Adults that have chronic depression may also be treated using Abilify. Chronic depression is a mental disorder caused by a chemical imbalance that keeps a person in a state of depression with no apparent cause. Abilify can help to block the action of the depressing chemicals to allow the person to not always feel depressed.

Abilify is also frequently used for treating bipolar I disorder, also called manic-depressive disorder. This disorder is one that causes a person to experience prolonged periods of severe mood changes from depression to extreme excitability for no apparent reason. Abilify again gives the balance in the chemicals and actions of the chemicals that control our moods.

Tourette's syndrome is another condition that is treated with Abilify. Tourette's is a neurological disorder that causes a person to have repeated movements and outbursts that are not under their control. Abilify works to interfere with the chemicals that are causing the involuntary movements and outbursts to block them from occurring.

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