Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Comments by Winifred

Showing 7 of 7 comments.

  • seventhsense, I’m very interested in learning more about IPS (and I do understand the concerns you listed). Which manual did you purchase and read? The Intentional Peer Support: An Alternative Approach or the Intentional Peer Support Core Materials (For Certified Facilitators Only)?

    Thank you for all your informed commentary. I greatly enjoyed hearing the many views presented here over the last five days. It’s been affirming and has also given me things to think about and investigate further.

  • Someone Else, I forgot to check back until today so am just now seeing your response. Apologies.

    One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that medical quality of care varies greatly. I believe you. If I understand you correctly, you were fine until you started to come off the Wellbutrin and began having bipolar like symptoms, followed by being placed on other medications which led to even more adverse symptoms. Thank goodness you had the good sense to find a way persuade your doctor to help you come off all those medications and you’re okay now.

    It saddens me whenever I hear stories like this.

    I, like you, believe strongly in doctors and patients partnering in all decisions regarding their care, in science based patient education, and in informed consent.

    What’s sad is that these were considered best practices 25 years ago, and I’m not sure how much progress has been made.

    As an advocate, I feel it’s important to educate the person receiving care, so he or she can go back to their doctor and begin the partnership process by sharing information, asking questions, and making changes as needed. And if that’s not possible, or discouraged, I then feel an obligation to support them in transitioning to a new doctor.

    But to stop there would be wrong. I think we also need to educate people about all of their treatment options, not just medical treatments. In my experience, that’s where books written by well regarded experts in the field, advocates, education and support groups, online discussion forums, websites like this, workshops, and conferences really make a difference.

    I wish you well in your continued efforts to help those who need your help.

  • My comment regarding the destruction of my son’s white brain matter was based on research findings presented at a NAMI Conference in 2006 that was then reported in a NAMI publication that same year. I tried, but couldn’t access the article because I’m not a dues paying member of NAMI, but I did find numerous studies online discussing white and gray brain matter changes associated with psychosis.

    Orthomolecular medicine is different from psychiatry, though some psychiatrists do practice orthomolecular medicine. It’s the approach we used to treat our son’s psychosis.

    We established a relationship with a child psychiatrist immediately so all options would be available to us if our son’s psychosis significantly worsened. Luckily for us, it didn’t. As a result, we only saw the psychiatrist once.

    No anti-psychotics (or other medications) were prescribed for or taken by our son. He has since been symptom free for 8 years.

    While medication did not help me or my son, that doesn’t mean medication is never helpful.

    The ideal, in my opinion, is to understand the short and long term needs of the individual, then to pick one or more treatments to try while being mindful of the potential risks and benefits of each treatment. I can think of only a few circumstances in which I’d try medication first.

  • I facilitated a support group for 8 years in the 90’s. Gave it 20 – 30 hours of my time each week, on a volunteer basis. One of the reasons I became a support group leader is because I was diagnosed with bipolar II within months of taking an anti-depressant for the first time, specifically desipramine.

    Four years later, I began seeing a second psychiatrist who, after thoroughly familiarizing himself with my history, explained that my bipolar II symptoms may have been caused by the antidepressant, and he slowly took me off the medications I was on. It was difficult because I have a generalized anxiety disorder, so those symptoms worsened, but we did it slowly, and I never had another hypomanic episode. That was more than 15 years ago.

    I did not heal myself. I was never bipolar. My hypomania was caused by the anti-depressant medication desipramine. You’d think I’d be anti-medication. I’m not because I know people who have serious mental illnesses who have been helped by taking medication. And my husband is alive today thank to the medication he takes for his heart condition.

    For this and other reasons, my only bias regarding treatment is to do what works. Some people need medication, some need a specific nutritional supplement regimen, some need a specific diet, some need talk therapy, some need peer education, support, and/or skills training, and most need a combination.

    In more recent years, I’ve learned that trauma can mimic mental illness, but the treatments are very different.

    It’s bias like yours that help some people, but hurt others. Have seen it over and over again, by psychiatrists, psychologist, master level therapists, coaches, and peer support leaders.

    My personal approach addressing problematic mental health conditions is to start with the approach that has the least potential to harm and work up from there.

    When our son began experiencing mild psychosis, we recognized what was happening immediately because my brother has schizophrenia. We immediately got him referred to a child psychiatrist and began the three week wait.

    I was terrified, because I knew that the his brain’s white matter was slowly being destroyed.

    During that time, we contacted a friend – (whose mother suffered with psychosis, untreated) – and who had studied orthomolecular medicine to help her two children. She started our son on a specific nutritional supplement regimen immediately.

    We saw the psychiatrist. He was formally evaluated and diagnosed, and I’m happy to report, our son never took a psychiatric medication and slowly, over a six month period, completely recovered by continuing to take the nutritional supplements, sleeping, a lot, and traveling with my husband.

    He went on to complete his four year degree and currently is working within his profession.

    He believes what happened to him was caused by using a hallucinogen on four occasions over a period of a year and using marijuana infrequently.

    He did not heal himself. He stopped using drugs, and he used nutritional supplements and rest to get better. He was lucky. I meet many on a regular basis who are not so fortunate.

    I beg you to question all bias and to understand that there is no one “right” treatment or approach, only the one that works. Only by doing this will you truly help people. Informed is empowered.