Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Reclaiming your power during medication appointments with your psychiatrist

This article by Patricia Deegan Ph.D raises some issues about the difficult relationship between psychiatrists and patients and gives some advices on how to be more specific and active during meetings with psychiatrists.
It also raises some concerns about the effects of being on psych-drugs:
  1. Your questions are important. Anyone who has been on psychiatric drugs for a period of time is probably going to ask these important questions:
  • What am I really like when I am off these medications?
  • What is the "real me" like now?
  • Is it worth taking these medications?
  • Are there non-drug methods I can learn to reduce my symptoms instead of using medications?
  • Have my needs for medications changed over time?
  • Do I have tardive dyskinesia that is being masked by the neuroleptics I am taking?
  • There are no long-term studies on the medication I use. Am I at risk? Do I want to take the risk of not knowing the long-term effects?
  • Am I addicted to these medications?
  • Has long-term use of these medications resulted in memory loss or decreased my cognitive functioning?

There is nothing crazy about having such questions. What is unfortunate is that most mental health professionals do not recognize that these questions are to be expected. A recovery oriented system would have detox centers and other supports available so that people could plan a rational withdrawal from medications in order to explore these important questions.

Trust yourself. You know more about yourself than your psychiatrist will ever know. Begin to trust yourself and your perceptions. Sometimes I found it hard to trust my perceptions after being told that what I felt, thought, or perceived, was crazy. Part of recovery is learning to trust yourself again. Even during my craziest times there was a kernel of truth in all of my experience. If you are experiencing unwanted drug effects such as a feeling of apathy, constipation, loss of sex drive, double vision, or the like, trust your perception. Don't let others tell you that such side effects are "all in your head." Check with the pharmacist, or with friends who have used the drugs, and check the books or the Internet. Chances are that you are not the first person to have these drug effects.

(read it here. I've found this article in 2005 and the only problem I find is using Dr. Bob's Psychopharmacology Tips as a resource to learn about medications.)


Anonymous Drifter said...

This was a very important post. The decision to take meds is a serious issue and requires some thought.

"You know more about yourself than your psychiatrist will ever know. Begin to trust yourself and your perceptions" - truer words have never been spoken

Ana said...

I did remember this article after reading your post and I would like to publish it because many people feel the same.

Gianna said...

fantastic find Ana.
Pat Deegan is awesome...I've done a few posts on her...

At some point I'll have to post this to...with credit to you of course...

Ana said...

You don't need the credit for me!
It's Deegan's work! :)
I've translated it into Portuguese and she gave me permission.
I wrote a book and there are some attachments.
I'm glad you've liked it.

Gianna said...


Marissa Miller said...

This is really good stuff. Thanks for sharing, Ana.

Ana said...

Patricia Deegan is really awesome!