Showing 21 of 21 comments.
Stop saying this :- Keep on taking the meds ; it’s the only thing that works.
Hey Anja, well written. And your article echos my own experience years ago. People with “issues” are often encouraged to seek help, yet the “help” provided is often clumsy, traumatic. So yes, its a rough process.
As a patient, you know better than anyone what does and does not help. You become your own expert. Be informed by your lived-experience and avoid “bad” doctors and “traumatic” healthcare. Take care Anja…
Years ago, when I was still in psych hospital, the staff were eager to meet with my family. But I declined, and told them not to approach my family for any reason. Of course, they wanted the chance to “educate” my family, that my “illness” could only be managed by strong meds and psychiatry etc. And family need to be involved in “managing” the patient.
About a year later, I unilaterally discharged myself from the system. They didn’t like it, and approached my parents and sister separately, ostensibly to get permission for a 5-day compulsory assessment. Thankfully, my family declined, probably because they had not been indoctrinated, and could still think for themselves. Elsewise, I would have been stuffed!
If Jesus or the Buddha walked amongst us, then you might find them locked up in a psych ward. Stigmatized, medicated and restrained. Psychiatry does not provide a safe space for religious thought.
Nicely written Ekaterina.
Very well written. I liked the bit about how “an illness is an arbitrary concept” – because psychiatric diagnoses really do not point to a verifiable cause. And I also liked how you segued into the Opium Wars, explained neatly in just one paragraph!
Good job by these researchers on getting it right. But here in 2018, the facts about antidepressant withdrawal shouldn’t still be “new research”. For us patients, this has been an established fact for decades.
As patients, we can no longer simply rely on “science” or “guidelines” to make health-choices. It is clear that many researcher/corporations have a vested interest in over-reporting the efficacy and under-reporting the safety of their products. They have conflated “science” with “marketing” as a means to boosting their pill sales. But the credibility of all medical Science is damaged as a result…
But when science has failed, what is there then?
I basically agree. Modern psychiatry has devolved into a carrot-and-stick penal system.
Your emancipation from psychiatry inspires us all…
I too was a “bad suicide”. But a natural distrust of doctors helped my survive that experience. And I have been proving the docs wrong for 16yrs now. So thanks again for your valuable contribution, an insightful analysis indeed.
Glorious, effin’ lovin’ it Eric. But what happens when the shrinks decide to view your behavior as a symptom of your illness, and double your meds? Become a zombie frothing from the mouth from tranquillizers?
Other possible strategies… Do you still get face-time with your doctor? Use a smartphone to record the conversation. Later, get someone outside to factcheck his answers to expose the fallacy of informed consent.
I always noticed a small group of patients who had visited the psych ward 20+ times. They like it so much that they chug panadol, then call an ambulance to get themselves admitted. The staff/doctors loathed these patients because they can’t be fixed, and clog up precious beds. In short, tell your nurse that you like the psych ward, this is where you need to be, that you want to stay as long as possible. They might discharge you quicker because they are worried about you becoming a needy dependant patient who chugs panadol. So use their fears against them.
I was a guest of Dunedin’s Ward 9b ~15 years ago. I remember seeing someone put into the seclusion tank every 2-3 days. But I don’t remember seeing physical restraints being used much tho. Difficult patients just ended up on ever increasing doses of tranquillizers.
I remember something else though. 4-5 nurses decided to take a patient down, before putting him in the seclusion tank. He had half-a-cup of lukewarm water in his hand, and at the last moment, out of sheer terror, he threw it at a nurse. I know, because it was my nurse that he threw it at. She told me it was almost nothing, and was annoyed that the department was charging him with assault over it.
In short, when nurses spear tackle a patient, it is considered a legitimate intervention. Whereas uncooperative patients can become targets for petty assault charges as a prelude to their commitment.
So bravely written. As a fugitive from psychiatry (16 yrs), that is how I remember it. You have this feeling that there is something very very wrong, but they simply do not care.
How have your team members received this article? Awesome.
Disappointed. This kind of article is used to regulate against alternative medicines, and restrict patient choice. It presumes that all alternative medicine is quackery. Biased!
In my own case, after a decade of psych meds and hospitalization, I switched to TCM. 15 years later, and I’m still doing well. The evidence here is not scientific, but I just don’t care. The evidence here is my TCM doctor’s track-record of success. I gave her a chance to prove herself, and she succeeded where the “scientists” had already failed, rescuing me from the nightmare of psychiatry.
Where science and the mainstream has already failed, my health-choices are always results-based.
Congratulations Dr. Wood, and very well written! Stepping away from the system shows real grit and integrity. Please feel welcome to write more about your work in Integrative Psychiatry.
Years ago, I substituted my numerous psych meds for an entirely unscientific TCM treatment. But I found my psychiatrists etc to be basically ignorant, and prejudiced towards all things Chinese Medicine. Given that level of scepticism, I didn’t think an integrative approach was plausible within psychiatry at that time. So I just discharged myself, and moved on. Still healthy and doing well years later…
Thanks for the post JK, and especially your last comment. Some companies have used Science merely as a vehicle to market their products. And when research misconduct is uncovered, then the moral authority of Science is undermined.
And for patients, it is not just about Science; it is about trust and integrity. Does my doctor provide reliable information that will stand the test of time? In some branches of medicine, I still believe, but not so much in mental health. A hard lesson learned.
Enjoying your posts.
>> “A well trained TCM doctor should be able guess your
>> list of symptoms without you telling them first.”
>Next topic: cold reading
In my case, my TCM doctor had recently arrived from China with only sparse English. So long explanations were impossible. The 1st appt. included an objective assessment of my physical symptoms, from which she then inferred an accurate diagnosis. Not a cold reading.
> Please enlighten me. I’m still waiting for
> a comment that explains how acupuncture works.
TCM is not fully explained by Science. And as a patient, I do not require it to be. Do you think I should wait another 100 years for Science to catch up, before I benefit from this treatment?
Although TCM is not Science, it does provide explanations, albeit from a different tradition. Is it your belief that Systems of Knowledge other than Science are completely without value?
Most patients who visit a TCM clinic have already tried conventional medicine, albeit without success. Medical Science has already failed them, and has become irrelevant. So their thought process is more pragmatic, to go with whichever doctor can best provide an explanation that describes all their symptoms, and a treatment that works best for the patient.
> (besides the effects of placebo and ritual).
Please don’t knock placebos; they are widely used in conventional medical too. My TCM doctor has kept me out of hospital and tranq. free for the last 13 years. So TCM has worked for me.
If conventional medicine works for you, then stick with it. Treatment with TCM will almost always cost more. If you’re biased against TCM, then don’t use it either. And if you discourage enough patients from trying TCM, then you will drive the price of my treatment down. So thanks for that 🙂
Yes, I totally understand. And in mental health, most treatments are about being cost-effective. Nevertheless, please take care to not conflate NADA with proper TCM. For if a patient uses NADA and then gains no benefit, that may assume that all TCM is rubbish.
For any patient out there who attends an acupuncturist or such… if your first treatment doesn’t start with tongue/pulse diagnosis followed by a discussion about the cause of your illness, then you’re not getting proper TCM. A well trained TCM doctor should be able guess your list of symptoms without you telling them first. Accept no imitation!!!
Thanks for your article. At one point, you mention that TCM views every patient as unique, with specific treatment needs for body and mind. But then you proceed to describe what is basically a one size fits all treatment!
To the skeptics above, they should know that TCM aims to minimize harmful side-effects for the patient. So you are free to confront your own biases, and trial TCM treatment to see if it works for you. And then simply choose to stop if not satisfied. So what do you have to lose? Whereas psychiatric treatment practically enslaves the patient and shortens their lifespan…
Lastly, I don’t think the medical journals are in a position to pass judgement on TCM proper. Funding for researching TCM is sparse – no billion dollar profits to be made there. But even within TCM, acupunctures limitations are well known. More chronic illnesses are always treated with more herbs and less acupuncture. Where a TCM doctor constantly tweaks the treatment as their patient’s condition changes.
But to my mind, the real gift of TCM is its medical theory and system of diagnosis. It allows us to understand conditions where conventional medicine has failed us badly. But within psychiatry, uninformed skepticism as regards TCM is rife. That being the main reason why I left the mental health system, and never returned.
Uninformed skepticism hurts patients.
Thank you for the interesting article.
With TCM, it isn’t the acupuncture and herbs that interest me. It’s the methods of diagnosis and the medical theory behind it that are the real story. TCM points to mechanisms by which organ disorders can cause/contribute to psychiatric illness. And without the theory and tools of TCM, mainstream doctors cannot diagnose/detect these imbalances.
Even the kneejerk criticisms are ignorant. For a chronic illness, the herbal recipes prescribed normally aim to rebalance the organs. Their intended effect is not to affect the brain. Indeed, TCM theory mostly ignores the brain, and focuses on the other organs.
For my own part, I suffered a decade of psychiatric illness, culminating with a two month stint in a acute pych ward – the official diagnosis then was bipolar psychosis. Some time later, I divorced myself from that system to work solely with my TCM doctor. When the psychiatrist rang my parents in order to gain their support to have me committed, his prognosis was that I “wouldn’t make it through winter”. They declined. And here I am 12 years later, still doing well on TCM herbs. And in an age of bogus clinical studies, actual results for the patient are the strongest evidence.
To those who are skeptical, you still miss the point. TCM theory points to causes of psychiatric illness that are ignored by the mainstream. Deserving of research funding, not uninformed criticism.
Hi Alice, just to say I loved your post. A tad dystopian, but true enough.
As a former psychiatrist, your in a unique position to tell it how it is, and possibly be believed. Whereas as a former patient, if I ever speak my mind on psychiatry, it merely confirms an obvious need for meds. So keep up the writing…
Sera, I loved your post, and most of the comments above.
In describing our unwellness to a psychiatrist, it is expected, nay demanded of us that we must describe our symptoms using the jargon of psychiatry. And implicit in using that jargon is accepting all the falsehoods that underpin it. But yet, to describe your unwellness in straightforward language, as you actually experience it, is to invite further unwanted labelling…
So Catch-22. The best I can manage is say as little as possible.