Thursday, April 25, 2019

Comments by Vlado C.

Showing 21 of 21 comments.

  • It’s a fair question whether anyone could have a mania or not, something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about. But consider that someone today has been diagnosed and their family is going through the gamut of treatment options for what best to bring this person out of mania. And I stand by my words; a combination of these drugs brings the desired effect. We can try putting them on a fancy diet or throw them on an exercise machine but a combo of antipsychotics does work best and I would know because I’ve tried everything over my six years of being in the system.

    You also have to consider how many people self-medicate out of these moods with alcohol and street drugs. I witnessed this first hand when I was on the streets. I’m sorry but using Ativan for the first few days until antipsychotics kick in isn’t nearly as dangerous as being hooked on street substances.

    Our failure to give pharma ANY credit sets us back as a movement. I’m very surprised at how adamant you are against a technique that does work and has helped pull me out of the depths. The goal is to never be hospitalized again, and so long as I have a bottle of the necessary meds handy, it doesn’t need to happen. That’s the moral of my story.

  • MartinMc, I don’t mean to defend psychiatry with my article, only the short-term administration of medicine necessary to come down from a mania. As I mentioned earlier, I could have done a better job of delineating between antipsychotics and benzos and anti-depressants, some of which are harmful and addictive while the latter have no therapeutic effect because they only work slightly better than placebo.

    The facts are incredibly simple and I’ve been consistent in my two articles about what they are: lack of sleep causes mania, and wishing it away or being with peers doesn’t bring one back to an equilibrium state. The challenge for patients (and we’re patients if we’ve experienced mania) is to differentiate between good and bad drugs. Depakote, Oxcarbezapine, Lithium have had nothing but bad effects on me. Abilify is more for depression than a sedation drug for mania. But the class of atypical anti-psychotics which include Risperdal, Seroquel, and Zyprexa (which admittedly has a ton of side effects) does the job it’s intended: to bring one down from a mania. They don’t work as well stand-alone as they do in a combination.

    I have no interest in taking these drugs, including Ativan, in a long-term way as it’s harmful and not necessary if I can get a decent nights rest without them. There was a time before my first mania that I could sleep well without medication and I know tapering off is the right thing to do again. My alluding to wishing Ativan was over the counter is that it would be more effective, and cheaper to treat, if we could go to a store and buy something for sleep as opposed to dealing with an entire industrial complex hell bent on squeezing every last dollar out of treatment. Put all the warnings on the box, I don’t care, but being caught in a pinch without medication and reality spinning out of control is a terrible ordeal for anyone to go through.

    All that being said, the treatment of the mentally ill within these facilities is despicable and is the real culprit behind how permanent labels are placed.. The perseverance of mania outside the range of a few weeks or months is called schizophrenia, and permanent institutionalization is still a real threat. That’s what you don’t understand not having gone through a serious case of mania; the alternative to treatment is more horrible than the short-term application of treatment if done right. And that’s the challenge, separating good from bad methods of treatment and being consistent across all patients.

    We have a long way to go to properly understand why my brain responds to lack of sleep different than a quote unquote normal person but I’m prone to manias and that’s a fact of life. It’s actually really easy to treat now that I’ve gone through the whole gamut of treatment options but in the beginning there’s so much fear and frustration that it’s hard to identify what works and what it all means. And I see beauty in the condition as it allows my thinking to expand in a creative, abstract way that is so different from how I normally experience reality.

    MIA has done a great job of exposing abuses within the system particularly with the unhelpful and harmful class of drugs. A lot of people without symptoms become enmeshed with the system in detrimental ways. But we have to shed a light too on the treatments that work for those where it’s needed. That’s a reality that a subset of us that experience manias have to live with.

  • The alternative to accepting anti-psychotics was to accept the label “schizophrenia” and face permanent institutionalization. Anti-psychotics do not get you “high”, rather they bring you down from the natural high that is mania.

    I should have done a better job delineating between psychiatric drugs like benzos that do get people high and anti-psychotics, which no one abuses because they don’t have anything addictive in them. They are designed to bring down mania and I was trying to illustrate they work best in combinations rather than stand-alone.

  • Wallenfan, thanks for the tips. I too see benefits to hypomania which is why I conducted my experiment in the first place. I’m better able to write and express myself in those moments, and the insights you gain stay with you when you’re out of that temperament. My sleep deprivation was more extreme, lasting weeks with less than five hours a night, which is why my judgment was so impaired.

    I’ll try your tips, particularly the exercise. Exercise has helped me stay away from depression, and it makes sense that the sedation from heavy exercise helps sleep.

  • The point of MadInAmerica, and where you and I have common ground, is how far psychiatry has strayed from it’s mission statement. I’m glad you agree that short-term cases need to be professionally addressed. But with so many labels and other factors for psychiatrists to consider, they now fail to treat the very patients who were their only customers a few generations back.

    Money is at the root of this system. My old doctor charged $175/30 min.. If I could get Ativan over the counter, there would be no doctor. But there’s always new patients and families entering the field without a clue of what works and what doesn’t. They were my main audience and inspiration for writing this article.

  • Capitalism is a more effective tool of social control than psychiatry. All the labels with bad outcomes like Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissism, etc don’t have methods of treatment besides maybe therapy.

    I can’t make you believe in mania but it’s real, otherwise there would be no such thing as bipolar. Lack of sleep is the cause and it’s tantamount to torture when it escalates. It feels like your brain is on fire; wouldn’t you want a fire hose to put it out? That’s the purpose of the anti-psychotics. The reason I shared my story is to offer a family a blueprint for what works to get out of mania.

    As for my attitude in years to come, now that I have the answer for what works, I have no fear of mania. I simply resume the short-term use of medications. I wrote a post a few years back on resistance but now realize it’s futile when all the violence is concentrated to one side. Treat yourself as quickly as possible, get out of the system and into the safety of your own home, and spend time reminiscing on causes and triggers so you can be better prepared for another bout. I doubt my thinking will change from there. Thanks for the post.

  • I have read his books but in my opinion they don’t sufficiently address the short-term, acute need for medication which is psychiatry’s single main-stay as an institution.. This is the bread-and-butter use case for why psychiatry should exist. But there’s so much BS with an 800 page book of useless categorizations that they’ve obfuscated their main reason for existence, which is to treat acute patients like myself.

    The books do an excellent job of addressing long-term use of anti-psychotics. They are very influential in my reason to get off the meds now that the crisis stage is over.

  • This is where we have to agree to disagree. Mania is a real phenomena. Failing to acknowledge it is what sets back the antipsychiatry movement and portrays us as extremists rather than reformers.

    There IS a place for anti-psychotic drugs even if we agree that anti-depressants and benzos are sham. If psychiatry was all-bad, why would it still be around in 2017? I needed professional advice on how best to sleep/reduce the mania and that dialogue was missing until the very end. I never need the conversation again because I now know what works. But too many people who are new to psychiatry don’t know that a mix of anti-psychotics will alleviate symptoms in the short-term. Instead, they’re led to believe a single drug or a mix with lithium is the solution when that’s not the case.

  • J, thanks for the positive comment. You captured the essence of my story, that I was legitimately seeking help for sleep deprivation only to find these most of these people are completely untrained to what should be a straight-forward part of the job. Sleep deprivation is the cornerstone of bipolar/schizophrenic diagnoses and the multiple cocktail approach really basic to understand and implement. But I learned the hard way most of these doctors simply don’t care. We’re numbers; not patients.

    Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. By this definition, the system is absolutely nuts. That’s why, to me, a reforms-based approach to dealing with the ills makes more sense than talking down the medicine, which is legitimately helpful to those who have a need.

  • The_cat has it correct: you have to go through a case of extreme sleep deprivation to understand that the drugs are not the problem; they are the solution. The problem is everything else that comes around the solution: violence, forced involuntary status, and chronically treating someone with the same tool that is only applicable for a short term problem of restoring order and sleep.

    Half the people in a psych ward legitimately cannot sleep and need drugs while the other half are there for obtuse reasons: one man was caught touching himself and they couldn’t throw him into prison so they put him in a psych ward. This is obviously wrong but allowable because his insurance covers the expense and they hope he learns a lesson. Because the definitions of involuntary status are so expansive, this nonsense is permissible and happens every day.

    No drugs or alcohol were involved. Once the mania is cranked up to a high enough level, there isn’t much of an alternative to drugs. If you favor breathing and meditation ala Tom Wootton, that’s one path but that’s not something you’re going to learn at the height of insomnia.

    I wish Ativan was available over the counter. I know a couple of those tablets make me fall asleep every single time. But releasing Ativan to the masses subverts psychiatrists and they’re not in favor of anything that takes away the power of their pen and pad.

  • I’m sorry to hear about your forced hospitalization. I’ve been injected many a times and unless there is a sedative effect to the injection, it doesn’t do anything that it should do. Those injections are also $800/each as a supposed “maintenance” treatment.

    One thing that’s been very slow to change is how they treat involuntary hospitalizations. If you have insurance, they want to keep you as long as possible. If you don’t or have bad insurance as I had, you’re not a priority and decisions are made based on dollars and cents as opposed to common sense. I was furious that even though I didn’t exhibit common symptoms of mania, had a place to stay, they still treated me like a zombie and held me against my will. It’s how they make money, bodies to beds. Until we have a single-payer system of insurance, this system won’t change.

  • You’re confusing my response to aigiarm (who has a legitimate medical condition) with Paul who does not. I don’t believe Paul or anyone should EVER be forced to put something into their body against their will. So you’re right, in Paul’s case, and for long-term usage of drugs, the application of psychiatry is junk.

    But when aigiarm experiences depression or I go through a mania, I believe the SHORT TERM use of medication (voluntarily taken) can help bring us to “baseline”. I have yet to see an article on M.I.A. about how to come back to “baseline” without meds. I’m sure it’s possible as our ancestors didn’t have these drugs available; I just don’t know how at this point. And in relieving these short-term conditions, I don’t believe psych is a junk science.

    Until neuroscience identifies what causes psychosis or depression, little of psychiatry has any scientific merit. Instead it’s an art form where all too many of the practitioners are poor in practice, in large part because they haven’t seen enough genuine patients that can function drug-free at a high level. The anti-psych movement will NOT gain ground until those numbers grow or until someone goes deeper into explaining why these drugs are harmful.

    One last point – I think Paul should be in prison. A hospital is no place for him; the only alternative other than jail is to send him back into the community and say don’t do it again. Very sad story.

  • Many people relapse after a swift withdrawal of medicine due to chemical abnormalities imposed on the brain by the drugs. If you want to truly test whether you can function medicine free (and you certainly can), you need a tapered withdrawal. But if you’re comfortable with the side effects and don’t mind what the meds do to body and mind, then so be it.

    As for psych being a “junk science”, most consider mania, depression, psychosis, to be real medical conditions when diagnosed correctly. Where this community diverges with conventional psych is in treatment. There are a minority of us who can function at a high level without exposing ourselves to the chemical toxicity of drugs, many of which work only slightly better than placebo but impact the brain in ways that I personally am highly uncomfortable with. Good luck!

  • I’m curious about the paradox between anti-psychs increasing dopamine levels in the brain while also being effective in the short-term with bringing down a mania or psychosis. We know the latter is correct; it must mean that either the former is incorrect or, more plausibly, dopamine has little to do with sleep and mania. Or maybe there is a third explanation?

    Also, does anyone know what gives anti-psychs such a sedative effect? From my own experience, I cannot sleep as a mania intensifies, which in a circular fashion causes the mania to escalate further. Either an anti-psych or benzo enables me to sleep, lessening the effects of mania.

    If the sedative effect is what makes anti-psychs effective in the short-term, there are a host of alternatives that are safer, that should work with what I believe are similar efficacy levels to anti-psychs.

    But what do I know – I didn’t’ spend six years in evil medical school!

  • Nick, thank you for sharing the essay. That was very well written and accurately captures the insanity of the current psychiatric model. Makes me want to attend an APA event just to obverse these alchemists of the mind.

    Good luck with your PhD program!

  • Thanks Truth for the well wishes. What’s scary is that a fallible doctor, relying on a manual that pathologizes any and every behavior or emotion, determines whether we’re acute or chronic. It’s unclear to me how they sleep at night.

  • Hi Someone Else. I was frustrated at work and in a relationship where indifference had replaced love. Not knowing anything about psychiatry and trusting these people were real doctors, I assumed the antidepressant would help. After several months I discarded the medicine because it didn’t seem to be working. What I didn’t know is that the pills contributed to my insomnia and I soon became manic and labeled as bipolar, which was absolutely devastating at the time.

    I’ve come a long way in the years since and have rejected the bipolar/mentally ill label. I don’t engage in risky behavior or abuse alcohol/drugs and my mood is stable day-to-day with or without medication. What I am is someone capable of experiencing mania. And for that reason alone, psychiatry wishes to hold onto me forever.

    Thanks for writing!

  • Randall,

    What I really needed was Ativan and rest – that initial doctor was completely off base and wrong with her threat of permanent institutionalization. If they threatened me with a permanent stay, how many of the others did they actually follow through on the threat? I’m not a doctor but I sensed the other patients suffered acute crises made worse by the environment, medication and angst that was misinterpreted as illness. My friend S was a “normal” woman except for a bad attitude they attempted to medicate away.

    As for the rebellion, it made the doctors re-evaluate what was happening on the unit. The majority of patients participated, acute and chronic. Did the medication all of a sudden stop working or was something else going on? We individually had a greater voice to express ourselves to the crisis management team than before when we seen as delusional or not knowing what was happening to us.

  • Thanks for reading BPDT and I’m glad you enjoyed the story! My inspiration for that zoo analogy was my first hospitalization when, fed up and not knowing how to get out, I wrote in big block letters on a whiteboard “WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE”

    Another patient crossed out JUNGLE and wrote ZOO. I went numb when I saw that because it perfectly represented our miserable existence.

    I read your post and can relate to how much therapy would help if offered. Totally agree that interacting with other patients is the best way to get through the experience.

    As for Ms. Agdal, I once saw her crossing the street and my knees buckled. I was laughing inside thinking this woman can’t be real until I recognized her and then it all made sense 🙂