Why You Can’t Get Informed Consent From a Doctor

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What is informed consent? Informed consent obviously means if you are being given drugs you should know the common and potential adverse affects, drug interactions, risk of dependency and addiction, and counter-indications with other substances, health conditions or health concerns. This is the baseline of informed consent (which many people don’t receive) but there is an incredible amount more that is included in what you deserve to know about any drug you are prescribed or medical system you are advised to subscribe to. Informed consent includes adequate, transparent knowledge of the following things:

  1. When, where and how did the system of medicine begin and evolve? Who had a voice in the forming of the theories behind the system? In the field of psychiatry (or any Western Medical field) you might ask whether poor people, women and non-white people were part of the “discovery” (or invention) of these fields.
  2. How does the medical field advertise (directly and indirectly)? This is your health and your life — financial transparency is required for there to be informed consent. You need to know if you believe in a system of medicine because they advertise in the magazines you read (and if their financial support blocks articles that would challenge their drugs efficacy), if their ads and financial clout affect your news and other media, and that of your friends, family and extended community, all of which make up your reality and affect your judgment. In the case of psychiatry (and other Western medicine), most funding goes to indirect advertising in the form of “consumer advocacy groups” and “grassroots self-help groups” like NAMI.  For true informed consent, you have to have a good idea of where pharmaceutical money is going before making a decision. As Americans we’ve been so abused by the patriarchal and violent medical system, we are like abused or neglected children who come to believe this is all we deserve.
  3. Informed consent is knowing at least 20 other possible explanations for your experiences than the Western medical model so you are choosing which one to go with rather than accepting the one that pharmaceutical companies paid billions of dollars to put in front of your face in every corner of your world. For true informed consent, study models from all different cultures and times in history before consenting.
  4. Informed consent is having options that are affordable. For true informed consent you should have at least 20 choices of types of medicine, counseling or other healing modalities to choose from and they should all be affordable and accessible. If your insurance only covers one or 2 choices, you don’t have access to informed consent since you may not be able to afford to try other models for comparison.
  5. Informed consent is knowing what the financial ties are between drug companies, hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, the government, the media and educational institutions. (Ha!)
  6. Informed consent is knowing the  fears, motivations, history and trauma history of your doctor and anyone else who prescribes a system of medicine to you-officially or by suggestion.

Informed consent is the largest history book and encyclopedia you’ve ever seen and informed consent lies in the rising and falling of your own breath-it lies within you.

Informed consent is knowing what is in your food, water and air and why. Who profits?

Informed consent is the voice within you, quiet or loud, the feeling you get of trust or distrust about a person, place or decision.

Informed consent doesn’t always have to be explained — sometimes it’s something you just know.

Informed consent is knowing which questions to ask; it’s withdrawing from mainstream media and pop culture enough to develop your own prescience. Once you develop that, informed consent become secondary to your inner wise self who is so much larger than a diagnostic medical system.

No one is going to give you complete informed consent. The best a doctor can do is give you the information they have, encourage you to do your own research, admit that their system has holes and encourage you to follow your own feelings, intuitions and to make your own decision. Of course our decisions are biased and affected by the water we’re swimming in, but no one will spoon feed you complete informed consent. When we are healing ourselves, we are also healing the cultural narrative, the history, biology and medicine of many years and many other people. Being one person who finds what informed consent means for you — and commits to it — is a powerful force and source of healing for all beings. Healing is never isolated, never isolated in a person, a relationship, a time period, a system of medicine, a pill bottle or a doctors office.

Healing is big. It’s about everything. It’s as big as that history book and encyclopedia about informed consent and maybe a bit bigger. Don’t let psychiatry make you small, projecting its insecurities and inadequacies onto you. Of course a form of medicine that is so limited will tell you you are so limited too. It’s a lie. You aren’t. Your voice and truth and fight for informed consent is huge and getting larger everyday.  There’s no turning back now.

Healing with informed consent is a state of expansion. It’s all seeing, all knowing, all wise. It’s light years larger than the DSM. It’s you.

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Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Thank You Chaya, This needed to be written about and you did it very well.

    Concerning point 4 above . In places where options are discussed of course we hope everyone can afford to try what they believe will help them . It is a measure of the cruelty and greed of some of the most well established Health Professions that purposefully lie to us and even preemptively install obstacles into our bodies (like 50% mercury fillings and root canals into our teeth, and deadly vaccinations into our bloodstreams (also bogus radiation and chemotherapy) our food (GMO’s plus deadly chemicals} and water supply (fluoride)(and drugs forced even on children) that shorten all our lives and turn us into repeat customers for ever deadlier treatments of one kind or another.Then push through laws that protect their criminal activity. Then use the media to further confuse the population. A mostly sleazy bunch of predators most all. That powerful wealthy people into high tech stealth eugenics are behind this I have no doubt. I have personally experienced the remarkable healing effect of having mercury fillings properly removed as well as root canals . These are expensive procedures not usually even covered by insurance. Many people badly need to have this done in order to live a healthy life and they don’t even know it. Shouldn’t they be told even though they probably don’t have the funds to get it done ? It took me about 30 years to finally get the funds together to get these procedures done . As for me I say” better late then never” and also” let me know the truth and i’ll figure out what to do.”
    Fred

  2. “Healing with informed consent is a state of expansion. It’s all seeing, all knowing, all wise. It’s light years larger than the DSM. It’s you.”

    Spot on, Chaya, beautiful work. How can anyone inform anyone about this stuff? There is no complete information, other than what we learn as we go along. It is unknown and unresolved territory. This is our opportunity to get our own information, by hearing our own inner voice as we move along our life journeys. This is how we, ourselves, own our paths.

    “Expansion” is the perfect word. We are expanding, evolving, learning new things all the time. It is our voice of healing and well-being that counts, not that of others for us. Thank you.

  3. It’s not just psychiatrists who don’t follow informed consent.

    This week I had my first visit with my new family practice doctor. I left the care of a nurse practitioner because I refused to take a statin for my high cholesterol. I’ve done enough research that I don’t feel comfortable taking a statin; there are all kinds of warnings in the paper that comes with the drug what state that it can cause severe problems with your liver and you must be monitered monthly to make sure your liver isn’t going south on you due to the statin. All of this was denied and the pressure continued to allow myself to be put on one.

    Well, the first thing the new doctor said is that he want’s me to go on a statin! When I said that I didn’t want to take a statin he called me noncompliant. He then threatened to not take me as a new patient if I thought I knew better than him about what I should be taking as far as drugs are concerned. I need a doctor to be able to have prescriptions for my blood pressure, which is the gravest concern to me at this point in time so I sit in a quandry right now. He said that I had no business deciding what I would and wouold not take from him as far as treatment is concerned. Either I towed the line exactly or I wouldn’t be a patient of his. When you don’t have lots of money and only Medicare for insurance it’s damned tough to find a doctor willing to treat you. Anyway, when I confronted this new doctor about the safety of statins and problems with the liver he denied it totally and stated that statins are the greatest drug to ever come onto the market!

    When did dictors morph from the good country doctor who made house calls into these power hungry, arrogant, puffed up twits?!!! I’ve come to the point that I not only distrust psychiatrists, I put almost no faith at all into any specialty of medicine and the people who think that they’re little gods.

  4. Hi Stephen,

    I have constantly said on this site that regular doctors can be just as abusive as psychiatrists and sadly, your situation is a perfect example of that.

    Regarding your high cholesterol, what exactly is being defined as the problem? For example, many doctors will prescribe a statin for anything above 200 even if the ratio of HDL to LDL is superior which would greatly lessen your chances of having a heart attack.

    Chaya, as one who is strongly considering having surgery, I have definitely learned how hard it is to get informed consent on all issues. And it isn’t because all the doctors are deliberately withholding all information.

    There are just so many things that come up and many people who don’t have our issues with drug sensitivities don’t even think it is necessary to question everything like we do.

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