Friday, May 06, 2011

In full swing

May is supposedly Mental Health Awareness month, yet if I hadn't read that on someone's blog, I never would have known it. I have seen no mention of it in the newspaper. I've heard no mention of it on any tv channel I've watched. I have not received a single email from any of the groups I subscribe to (NAMI, DBSA, AFSP, etc) highlighting that fact. Nothing.

Can't say I'm all that surprised. Doesn't matter how cleverly the powers that be try to disguise mental health issues by using terms like "biological brain disorders" and "evidence-based practices", or even referring to patients as "consumers", mental illnesses have and will continue to be some of the most stigmatizing illnesses in the world. Mental illness is synonymous with "crazy and dangerous" to a majority of people and despite the fact that Mental Health Awareness month has been around for more than 60 years, little progress has been made in transforming people's perception. There's more acceptance of AIDS, which hasn't even been around nearly as long, than there is of bipolar or schizophrenia.

And in other news...

I was watching an episode of Parking Wars (at least I think it was that show) recently. Not something I normally watch, so I'm assuming there was nothing else on tv that day. Anyway, they were showing this guy and his girlfriend trying to get her car out of the impound. The boyfriend had been given a "sleeping pill" by a friend, the effects of which kicked in before he was able to make it home, so he pulled over somewhere and fell asleep in the car. The police woke him up, arrested him for DUI and towed the car to the impound lot.

The supposed "sleeping pill" he had taken? You guessed it...Seroquel. It was obvious, given how blasé the guy was about it, that he seriously thought it was just a sleeping pill and he had no clue it was an anti-psychotic. But what about the friend that gave it to him? Did he know that Seroquel is an anti-psychotic and not approved by the FDA for insomnia or did the doctor prescribe it under the guise of it just being a sleeping pill, like Ambien? I know doctors are able to prescribe medications for so called "off label" uses, but it really scares me to think that there might actually be doctors out there telling patients it is a sleeping pill.

And finally...

Why yes, my cynicism of people and the world is in full swing today.


Blogger Michael said...

I run into this quite a bit. "What's this for?" it's hard to walk the line between the truth, which is that i dont know and can't really say, and the reality,which is I'm pretty sure I do know. I wont lie, but it can be hard. I totally agree with you that MDs dramatically understate the power of psychotropics.

7:10 PM, May 06, 2011  
Blogger Tanya said...

I remember having to explain to a patient advocate (lawyer) why a psychiatrist prescribed Seroquel off-label for "behavior problems" secondary to an impulse control disorder. The client was a mildly developmentally disabled pedophile. At the time I was only an assistant with a bachelor's degree and the psychiatrist was nowhere to be found. There are so many things wrong with that story and so many things wrong with our mental health system.

9:18 PM, May 06, 2011  

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