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ECT - letter from New Scientist

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Dollit

Guest
This was in last week's New Scientist which I've only just opened but here goes.

Whilst managing a hostel for the chronically mentally ill, I realised that a deteriorating sleep pattern was the harbinger of illness in a resident, as discussed in Emma Young's article (21 February).

One year, I was outraged when a consultant psychiatrist prescribed electroconvulsive therapy for an anxious, but otherwise intelligent and gentle, young man. However, after his treatment the man was surprisingly relaxed, and said that the general anaesthetic before the shock treatment gave him the best sleep he'd had in years. I've wondered ever since whether the anaesthetic is responsible for the occasional beneficial effects of this treatment, and if anaesthesia alone could be a treatment to break established patterns of behaviour.

Meanwhile many people with insomnia self-medicate using alcohol and other drugs, and have no doubt that they are choosing the lesser of two evils. If you have ever had your life ruined by insomnia, you probably agree.



http://www.newscientist.com/article...sleeping-habits-driving-us-mad.html?full=true

This is the article mentioned in the letter
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
I have read the article & discussed this issue in places.

Sleep 'problems' do indeed seem to be part of the story in many 'MH conditions'.

It would seem this raises certain questions -

Are sleep disorders/problems the cause (or one of the causes) or mental ill heath?

Is there in turn an underlying cause(s) for such sleep disturbances; & what are they?
 
D

Dollit

Guest
My insomnia was really bad about three years ago and I was having hallucinations, dissociation and generally really dangerous to be around because I didn't know what I was doing. It took a while to get my sleep back to a low level of insomnia but I did suffer.

Without a doubt, if I sleep well or I get less tired, then my symptoms are fewer and less intrusive.
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
My insomnia was really bad about three years ago and I was having hallucinations, dissociation and generally really dangerous to be around because I didn't know what I was doing. It took a while to get my sleep back to a low level of insomnia but I did suffer.

Without a doubt, if I sleep well or I get less tired, then my symptoms are fewer and less intrusive.
Something I can completely relate to as well. & this is where I have a problem with the general 'orthodox' - I don't think in general that 'they' have any interest in 'cause'. Their purpose is to mange 'symptoms'.
 
D

Dollit

Guest
I'm lucky in that I have a consultant who is also the lead in a lot of research and so I do a lot of things with him that aims to find cause or probable cause. Yes, some of my treatment is to do with managing symptom but some of it is aimed at educating me and my closest people about what is me and what is bipolar and there lies the real way forward for me.
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
I'm lucky in that I have a consultant who is also the lead in a lot of research and so I do a lot of things with him that aims to find cause or probable cause. Yes, some of my treatment is to do with managing symptom but some of it is aimed at educating me and my closest people about what is me and what is bipolar and there lies the real way forward for me.
It is good that you have found a level of care & treatment with services that you are satisfied & content with. Many I don't think do find this satisfaction; I know I certainly haven't. Things have improved slightly for me with the orthodox 'care'; but my 'beef' with the orthodox goes to the basis of their paradigm & ethos. I do not believe that 'mental illness' is predominantly based in a genetic/chemical imbalance cause; & so I am at irreconcilable odds with most orthodox MH practitioners before I have even started.
 
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Dollit

Guest
I think where I'm lucky is that I have a consultant who never forces anything on me. We can talk for months about a medication addition or change and until I'm satisfied on the way forward then we don't move. He never imposes treatment on me and always lets me choose whether I do something or not. but when I do begin to do something I'm not sure of we treat it as an experiment and value it as such. And he's the only practitioner who is willing to admit he doesn't know all the answers.
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
I think where I'm lucky is that I have a consultant who never forces anything on me. We can talk for months about a medication addition or change and until I'm satisfied on the way forward then we don't move. He never imposes treatment on me and always lets me choose whether I do something or not. but when I do begin to do something I'm not sure of we treat it as an experiment and value it as such. And he's the only practitioner who is willing to admit he doesn't know all the answers.
I have become better & better able over the years to articulate certain ideas. I can, through discussion, find admissions from psychiatrists that the genetic predisposition/chemical imbalance (cause) theory - is just that - a theory. I have slightly more understanding from the 'LMHT' that people can & do recover med free. They will admit to me that people indeed do. I now have some acknowledgement of the level of insight I have; & the degree of work I have put into my recovery. I have some acknowledgement, from them, of the methods which have personally helped me. There is some slight acceptance of my wishes to become med free.

But they are not keen on anything which falls outside of their paradigm. They do not want people off meds - whether people can stop them successfully or not. They do not provide comprehensive alternatives to meds; nor any thorough support for people who wish follow such a recovery.

Hypothetically - if your wishes were to change; & you wanted to become med free? Would you be supported; encouraged & helped to become so? Despite potential & inherent risks in doing so - would all the angles & perspectives be looked at with such a request? with impartiality & individual merits?; & every avenue of support & alternative area of recovery thoroughly looked into? I cynically assume that it wouldn't.

I appreciate that this is not what you want. Which goes back to the beginning. If someone chooses to disagree with the basis to Western Orthodox Psychiatry - then they are likely to not get any of the support & help; the therapeutic & psychological help - that justly & rightly they are entitled to. Due to my personal understandings & beliefs I have largely had to 'go it alone'. That is not, (as far as I am concerned, & is reflected as the norm) - acceptable. In fact it is very wrong.
 
D

Dollit

Guest
Two years ago I decided that I wanted to be medication free and we drew up a plan that would lead me into that. He was the one who introduced me to mindfulness, we booked in sessions with a psychologist and I was offered art therapy if I needed it. That was the starting point. We discussed the effects of reducing and stopping the medication and what it would mean.

I stopped the medication and deteriorated slowly over a period of time and come to the sad conclusion that I'm better with the medication. If I thought I could do without it tomorrow then I would. It's a harsh reality for me to have to take the medication. There are times when I just stop for three or four days because I can't swallow anymore. It just the best way for me right now but not how I'd like it to be.
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
Two years ago I decided that I wanted to be medication free and we drew up a plan that would lead me into that. He was the one who introduced me to mindfulness, we booked in sessions with a psychologist and I was offered art therapy if I needed it. That was the starting point. We discussed the effects of reducing and stopping the medication and what it would mean.

I stopped the medication and deteriorated slowly over a period of time and come to the sad conclusion that I'm better with the medication. If I thought I could do without it tomorrow then I would. It's a harsh reality for me to have to take the medication. There are times when I just stop for three or four days because I can't swallow anymore. It just the best way for me right now but not how I'd like it to be.
Then it truly sounds like you have found one the genuine, compassionate & sincere health professionals who warrant being called professional.

In my own case - Had comprehensive & thorough psychological support been given to me; in a therapeutic environment; when first 'ill' (with a minimal use of meds/& meds as last resort) - then I do rate my chances that I could have recovered much better. But who knows for sure? Maybe I would have been more ill without chemical interventions? & I do think meds have a place. But the opportunity to try such a recovery first would have been nice. At the least such an environment of support; & psychological help; as well as practical support - would have, I feel, made things very much easier; whether I would have had to take meds or not. Such help still would. I have responded very well to the psychological assistance I have recently had.

But that isn't how things have been; & it isn't how things are.

I am doing the best I can - to recover as well as I see fit. To release; & let go of the past; to deal with deep rooted resentment & anger. To be more accepting of certain things.

I do not want to end up ill; like I was during my last 'breakdown' - I would rather be on meds for life than that. But I would rather be well & med free; given a choice. I do think it is possible (for me). I lack the support & help; I would like to assist me in this aim. In fact there is virtually nothing from the LMHT in the way of it.
 
D

Dollit

Guest
I only got this consultant 5 years ago, 10 years after a very late diagnosis and I do believe that if it had been picked up when I was a teenager things might have been different but they're not. And yes he is all that I would want for everybody else - if there were only more people like him in the system.

It's the acceptance of something that's completely beyond your control that's the hardest thing for me. I don't think it's a secret that control is important to me and after an early life where the only thing I had control over was my food intake then that's not surprising.
 
R

ramboghettouk

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2008
Messages
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Location
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Last night i was woken at 4 by the women upstairs because she had a mouse in her flat, the night before i was woken 3 times by people banging on the window, i usually don't answer, if i did get into an argument and call the police it'd be 2 hrs before they arrive by which time the person would have gone, i suspect my alky neighbours mates but have no proof, anyway my sleep pattern is always disturbed.

Wish i'd moved into the flat at the back when it was available i did ask but been mi i was ignored, i should have arranged for a proffesssional to ask but they've closed my case

Never forget shock treatment, those were the days when i was officialy severely ill, sometimes i think i miss them
 
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