One Way Not The Only Way

The monomania of some psychiatrists knows no bounds. My standard morning internet search brought me to one of these websites where the mental health professionals are talking down to their potential clients. This sort of website requires much reading between the lines if anybody is to get anything approaching a realistic take on the subject. The aim of the article encountered is compliance. Compliance involves the bending of a patient’s actions to the tyrannical will of the bullying therapist. The article is Drug Compliance a Major Issue for Psych Patients, and the assumption seems to be that people who have been labeled mentally ill must take harmful psychiatric drugs.

Antidepressants and antipsychotics can help mental health patients return their lives to some semblance of normalcy. However, the positive effects of these drugs can be negated if patients decide to stop taking their meds. Patients may feel so much better on medication that they eventually decide they no longer need treatment. They may forget, as patients on other types of medication do, to take their meds. They may also have difficulty dealing with the unpleasant or uncomfortable side effects of their psychiatric medications. Antipsychotics can produce side effects such as dizziness, restlessness, rapid heartbeat, and tremors. Antidepressants can cause drowsiness, insomnia, dry mouth, and constipation.

The first sentence of the above paragraph depends on the patient. What may be true for some patients may not be true for others. The second sentence reveals the true depth of bias behind the article. This bias presumes that there is one way to deal with the patient labeled mentally ill, and that way is through psychiatric drugs. I’m afraid that when the author of this piece says ‘treatment’, in all likelihood that author means ‘medication’, or psychiatric drugs. What are seen as the positive effects of the drugs is played off what are seen as the negative side effects of the drugs. The negative effects of psychiatric drugs are downplayed. People have experienced seizures, sexual dysfunction, organ failure, and all sorts of other problems on these drugs that get no mention what so ever. Long term use of psychiatric drugs causes neurological disorders, but there is no mention made of this little short coming to the doping method of mental health treatment.

Compliance is a vital part of managing mental health issues, considering the widespread use of psychiatric medications in the U.S. Antipsychotics were the top-selling class of drugs last year, and antidepressant use in the U.S. nearly doubled between 1996 and 2005. Companies such as Targacept, H. Lundbeck, Addex Pharmaceuticals, Corcept Therapeutics Incorporated, and Newron Pharmaceuticals are developing new psychiatric medications to compete with the old standards. Healthcare practitioners should educate patients on the importance of taking their psychiatric medications, how to manage or minimize side effects, and the consequences of noncompliance. Caregivers can also monitor patients, conducting pill counts and watching for signs that the patient has gone off his or her meds.

The danger here is thought to be that a patient will go off his or her psychiatric drugs. The presumption is that there are no other ways to treat people in crisis. Both presumptions are false. Psychiatric drugs are not safe. Psychiatric drugs create health problems for people that this article has hardly touched upon. Personal choice is important, and it is the expression of this personal choice that the author of this article has completely neglected to consider. People, who want a treatment option that doesn’t involve the taking of psychiatric drugs, should have that option. Putting a person on a psychiatric drug, for the duration of that person’s life, is not the only way for a person to deal with problems, however overwhelming.

One of the biggest secrets around is that there are studies showing that non-drug mental health treatments have better outcomes than those mental health treatments that rely so heavily on psychiatric drugs. Drug dependence is not recovery of mental health. Withdraw the drugs, and whatever problem a person was dealing with to begin with rears its ugly head again. I encourage anybody who is curious about the subject to explore these non-drug approaches to treatment. Mental illness need not be a lifelong condition. People can and do fully recover from what are characterized as serious mental illnesses. Complete recovery from a mental health condition cannot be found in a pill bottle.