Friday, April 30, 2010

Mental Health Care Costs Skyrocket © Megan Snider

“Mental health problems do not affect three or four out of every five persons but one out of one"
-- Dr. William Menninger

The rising cost of psychiatric medication is unbelievable. Patients desperately need their medicine, some of which they may be physically and psychologically dependent upon. Mentally ill people may have conditions that interfere with their income and access to cash. Some of us are shut ins, people with unstable moods, and unbalanced brain chemicals. It's hard to get out there and work for the mentally ill who have serious conditions.

So, what to do?

Today I was prescribed a new medication. I called the pharmacy for the price. This price is a monthly quote. The medication cost was $59.95. I could not afford it. This forced my mental health providers to scramble for a new generic medication I can afford. The shame is that the medication I was initially prescribed probably would have worked much better than my therapist's second choice. The second choice was influenced by cost effectiveness, not psychological effectiveness.

Many people in the U.S. struggle with the same problems I do. What medications can I afford this month? What medication do I have to stretch out until next month? How can I get by?

It is a sad situation that we have to face. Without resources and money to draw upon, many people are left stranded psychologically and emotionally with their backs up against the wall.

© Megan Snider

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dealing with Panic Disorder © Megan Snider

"Nothing is wrong with me except myself."
--Franz Kafka

Panic Disorder can literally destroy lives, especially when it is accompanied by Agoraphobia. It is crippling and destructive to people and their souls.

Derealization and Depersonalization with Panic Disorder destroys the core of a person. Conflicting experiences with reality and "unreality" are terrifying and traumatic. These experiences can lead to self-imposed confinement and extreme fear and anticipation of the next attack.

What can family members do to help people with Panic Disorder and these accompanying illnesses?

Don't be spontaneous. Follow a plan and don't "spring a new plan" on a family member with Panic Disorder.

Allow them access to their "safe places".

Remove them from a frightening location if they ask to leave because of overwhelming terror and sensations.

Listen to them and try to imagine their symptoms. Don't get hung up on the technical issues of the disorder.

Allow them to carry their medications with them if they so desire.

[Warning: DO NOT take pill bottles without the prescription labels on them with you. Xanax, a popular medication for Panic Disorder, is a controlled substance. If you are caught carrying Xanax with no prescription, you may be charged.]

Let them know that they can leave the situation if they need to. Feeling trapped is a horrible side effect of agoraphobia. So, allow them to be comfortable.

Be willing to listen to their description of symptoms without judging or becoming angry. Remember that your family member is suffering--no matter how they describe their symptoms,
try to have an open mind and heart and do not label them automatically as seriously mentally ill.

Do not become angry at the family member because of their limitations [which may be severe.]

Always remember that Panic Disorder is a monster, but it should not be hidden in the closet; it needs to be examined in the light and not quickly labeled and shoved aside. Try to pray, heal,
and destroy the negativity of this roaring monster that is Panic Disorder.

Never lose hope. Even on the dark days.

© Megan Snider