Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What Psychiatrists Need to Know: A Patient's Perspective © Megan Snider

"Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those, who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear, which is inherent in a human condition”
--Graham Greene

Initially this blog stemmed from an experience I had with my last session of "treatment".

I had a strong desire to document the absolute frustration I feel with the mental facilities--especially in Alabama.

I know if I were back home (Iowa), I would be receiving better care.

I know that Georgia also has much better school systems and mental health organizations and programs than compared to Alabama. When I began to post, I wanted to mention some things my therapist had said to me that I found rather upsetting.

Keeping in mind that this therapist and facility is the only place I have and can afford, I think I will keep remarks to myself. Instead, I am going to compose a small, easy-to-read list of rules that every therapist should somehow be made to submit to.

1.) Patients are not case studies-- They are people.

2.) Most patients can't afford the prescription plans you decree. Patients should not be treated with money and marketing in mind. Stop under-rating and over-rating drugs. If the generic version is just as good then offer it-- don't pick another medicine out of your hat when they can't pay for one.

3.) Warn your patient of side-effects of all drugs.

4.) Talk to your patient, not to yourself for the sake of hearing your own voice.

5.) Don't assume your patient is an idiot about his or her disorder. He or she LIVES with the disorder; you can only read about it. That must be nice.

6.) Stop neglecting patients by making them guineia pigs. Prescribe the proper counter-acting drugs with drugs that may cause side effects. I had
tardive dyskinesia (click for link) for three hours on Saturday. It hurts like Hell. It spreads, too. In my case it was in this progression: lips, mouth, thumbs, hands (claw posture), eyes, tongue/mouth, jaw, back, and upper torso. Take note of the fixated grimacing and grinding of teeth section in this link provided. Now imagine that for three hours.

7.) Don't make promises-- especially huge promises or downright lies

8.) Realize that you don't know what your patient experiences and you never will.

9.) Mental illness does not equate to loss of I.Q.

10.) Stop buying into the drug hypes and pushing the new, mostly scantly-documented new drugs like they will be a cure. Prescribe just what works-- not what's popular.

11.) You may or may not be smarter than your patient. Deal with it.

12.) Give patients regular appointment times and see them often-- even the poor ones.

13.) Realize your patients came to you for help, not a life-time membership in the "new scary/great drug participation plan". Give them help and follow up on them.

14.) Let your patient talk-- not you-- AND LISTEN.

15.) Make sure you don't have trouble with overlapping diagnostic criteria.

16.) Mental illness is not a small problem; it is pain every day you live with it.

17.) Don't say to your patients, "I hope you get better." Try to actually make them better.

Sign here: _______________________ Date:________

© Megan Snider