Saturday, March 25, 2023

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  • I don’t know, I like a society that says sometimes people have to be forced to be treated because they don’t get what they are doing. Last week we had a patient who was 60 years old and running through a laundromat pulling people’s wet clothes out of the washing machines and throwing them around the room and assaulting anyone who tried to stop her. You think she should not be forced into a hospital and forced to take medication that she doesn’t believe she needs? I guess you think it would be just better to throw her in jail. Or are you possibly saying that society should just tolerate her behavior? Can we get real?

  • Perhaps the movement doesn’t take hold because many people find it difficult to do much more than struggle to function when they have psychiatric conditions. Also, perhaps the movement doesn’t take hold because it doesn’t resonate with people who are fortunate enough to get good psychiatric care.
    I have been a psychiatric nurse for 10 years. In that time we moved rapidly away from holding people down to give them forced injections, And that is a very good thing. Forced hospitalization is also often a very good thing as is the coercion to take medicines that stop the very things that caused the forced hospitalizations.
    I bring Mad in America’s ideas to my patients repeatedly and my patients tend to reject them. As I had one patient tell me recently, mania destroys my life. Why would I reject the medicine that curbs it?

    There seems to be a pretense that people are idiosyncratic and therefore hospitalized involuntarily. But the reality for my patients who are hospitalized against their will is that they have been running naked in the streets, or spending tens of thousands of dollars that they do not have, or screaming at their bosses and coworkers for poisoning them, or attacking their elderly parents, and so much more.
    I read an essay here once defending leaving a woman unmedicated to the point that she was lying down on a bridge in rush hour traffic. That’s, um, insane.
    There are many important and cogent criticisms to be made of psychiatry. Within a year of starting at my hospital, I was sent to a trauma informed care seminar. One of the main points of that seminar was that the psychiatric profession is part of the trauma for our patients. We at my hospital specifically continue to hear from our patients that the care we provide is the best they have gotten. That tells us that possibly the problem is not the medicines and not the forced commitments, but the inhumanity of some staff.