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The "Convenience" Factor in Psychiatry

by Angel Moreno

Comments: Much interesting information on your website. I especially benefited from the article "What is Wrong with Psychiatry" and have another topic for you to consider -- the "convenience" factor of psychiatry. They can bombard you with medications and when your reactions aren't suitable, it is all too convenient to simply increase dosages, add more medications, or even to blame your so-called illness.

Here is what happened to me:

I was driving home from work when things went haywire. Don't know why. I had been dealing with some issues of a theological nature in the preceding weeks and that is certainly mixed in with whatever I was feeling at the time, but otherwise a fairly normal day at work. The hour-long trip home seemed to take 10 times longer that day, but I made it home and rested some that evening. I called off work the next day and my husband stayed home with me out of concern, my thinking and emotions were in turmoil. It seemed everything I had ever done that caused me guilt came welling up and I shared it ALL with him. Again, out of concern, my husband took me to our family doctor that afternoon and he referred me to a psychiatrist.

After a brief (2 minutes MAYBE, he didn't even ask my age!) interview with the psychiatrist, he informed my family that I was bi-polar and psychotic and needed to be on life-long medications. He suggested I check into the hospital so that my blood levels and reactions to lithium could be monitored. He suspected I'd be there 3 or 4 days. Now I do have some memories of certain people and activities in the mental health facility, but it is odd that I don't recall what actions or reactions displeased the psychiatrist so much. What started out as a low-dose of lithium and a 3 day stay in the hospital turned into ELEVEN days in the hospital and maximum dosages of SEVEN different medications. My side effects were immediate and severe. Noticeable to anyone except that "highly trained professional" called the psychiatrist!

Thank God my insurance ran out! I was sent home in tragic shape and in the total care of my husband. At the insistence of the psychiatrist, the bombardment of medications continued. My husband had to use a week of vacation, and send our children to live with their grandparents. The following week, 24-hour nursing care was paid for by my parents so that my husband could return to work. My husband kept notes of my actions those weeks. It was sheer physical and psychological torture for us all.

Eventually, the psychiatrist, after much pressure from my devoted family, referred me to a neurologist. Here is my condition upon arrival at the neurologist's office: I had lost 25 pounds off my 120 pound frame, I could no longer walk unsupported, I couldn't speak, chew or swallow, I couldn't blink my eyes, constant drooling, my arms were contracted at the elbows and I had uncontrollable bouts of shaking. In addition, my husband says I hadn't slept for more than an hour a day since my return home. The neurologist took one look at me and took me off all medications. What cheering there must have been then!

I was immediately placed in intensive care and went through many tests, but as anyone in my family will tell you, medications WERE the problem. After laying there for exactly one week, things finally cleared up and I was able to eat, converse and walk with some help from physical therapy. After four days on the rehab unit, I got to return home and continue my recovery. I was extremely weak physically, but came home mentally stronger, I think.

Whatever caused all that guilt to well up served rid me of those emotions and I feel more at ease with myself and the world around me. I have a certain strength and confidence that I didn't have before. The old me would have had considerably more trouble facing friends, family, and co-workers some of whom may think I am a "mental-case" after my month-long ordeal. I simply can't concern myself with these things. I am so fortunate to have returned to my home, family, and livelihood. Each day is truly a gift.

As for the psychiatrist, he did visit me while in ICU and rehab. I think he wanted to make sure I was still breathing. His final comment to me a few hours before I left for home: "Good luck" accompanied by a handshake and a shrug of his shoulders. HOW CONVENIENT! What other type of doctor can screw you up so badly and then walk off to tell his colleagues what a good job he's done! My advice to anyone considering treatment by a psychiatrist: Cut off your head first; if that doesn't help, THEN go see one!

It's hard to believe that others have suffered more than me from recklessly prescribed psychiatric medications. Your website info on tardive dyskinesia is truly frightening and I believe I was well on my way to suffering similar permanent disabilities. Absolutely NO warnings were given to my husband or family that brain damage was a possibility with the heavy regimen I was on. How fortunate I am to have such support at home. It makes me wonder how many others are on smaller dosages of medications that would be better off without it.

You may post my letter on your website. I hope someone benefits from my "misfortune."

Thanks, Angel


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Disclaimer: Material found on the Successful Schizophrenia website is for your information only. We are not able dispense specific advice for your situation. If you are under a doctor's care, you should talk with him or her about your mental health goals and if they are not on the same page as you, ask for a referral to a doctor or counselor who is. It may mean interviewing several. If you are on your own, you may wish to contact your local county mental health department to ask for local resources. Our site exists to show people that there are all varieties of mental states and assessments of those states; that sometimes 'mental health' is in the eye of the beholder; and that the mental health profession needs to continue to open itself up to the new paradigm ... progress is being made!