Tag: Alice Keys MD
Since I left the psychiatric prescribing trenches and came south for the winter, I’ve been staying in a beach town within driving distance of a technology metropolis. I take breaks from my writing and walk to the beach. There, I meet and talk with the winners of the American dream. They are intelligent, highly educated and financially successful. They take their beach vacations here.
A reader asked why more psychiatrists don’t speak up louder against psychiatric drugs. I’d like to think there’s someone in charge who could sound the alarm. It’s nice to imagine that working doctors have the power and freedom to speak up in a forceful and visible manner. If such a doctor exists, it’s not a psychiatrist who works in the trenches. A working doctor today is not in a position to be Paul Revere.
Not long ago I had a conversation with a psychiatrist. He told me about a diagnostic dilemma he’d run up against at work; When a judge makes an unfunded treatment mandate as part of her judgment, she pressures the doctor to make a “payable” psychiatric diagnosis. If the doctor stretches the truth out of sympathy and provides an inaccurate but payable diagnosis so that his patient can have access to medical care and money to live on, he is committing fraud that can mean heavy fines and incarceration for himself.
Yesterday, Dr. Daniel Fisher emailed and asked my thoughts with regard to “recovery”. Even before I walked away from prescription-pad-only psychiatric work, others asked me about this. Other treatment providers, designated patients and family members asked what I thought they could expect to happen next and what they should do to make things better. I told them that chemical interventions are not the only, or even the essential, tool for recovery.
How is it that we allow the agendas of others to occupy our childrens’ minds? Is it possible that a stranger can know our child better than we do? Is there anything a baby needs to learn that can’t be taught by being held in a parent’s arms? Because my children’s eyes and ears and thoughts are on me every day, they are key players in my ongoing efforts to live a right life. I count on their eyes and ears and thoughts to shore me up during times of temptation. They always lead me home.
We poison ever growing numbers of children with chemicals known to cause aggression and suicidality. We routinely drug children with these so they’ll sit still and be quiet in classrooms. Now, we drug babies for crying and 3 year olds for acting frightened while locked away from their families in day care centers. Those unsuccessful in school environments are incarcerated. It 's a well-worn path.
Yes, a psychiatric diagnosis can be a dangerous thing to have. But, these days, so is having any medical diagnosis. The names and words of the diagnoses themselves are not so much to blame for the harm. Rather, the harm comes through the ways the diagnoses are created and how they are used.
My sabattical of last winter has spun off a second one. I remain uncertain of my role as a physician in a society which values pills over personal growth and change. Last summer, unplugging my life from the “American dream” seemed in order. It’s not easy to make changes with chains and weights in place. It’s not easy to think, decide and move with the financial shackles that are the bones of everyday life.
The practice of medicine in our country is being swallowed whole by a snake. The snake started with the poor, the black, the brown; the already disenfranchised of the deep south and inner cities many years ago. It was an easy sell to the better-off taxpayers. Who wants to give up money to take care of poor people?