That made really very interesting reading. I resently discovered that my grandmother had been sectioned in the 50's and it was my grandfather who had taken the decision that step needed to be made. Having only found that out 2 weeks ago its been something i have thought about a fair amount. So the article was incrediably interesting.
Hi, yes thanks too for posting this. I read the article and will find time to listen to the broadcast another time if it's still available.
I was struck by the fact that Kate’s breakdown had come after she had stopped taking the anti-psychotic drugs she was prescribed. It doesn’t say whether she stopped these suddenly and on her own, or gradually and with support, but having too had the experience of people close to me stop these kinds of drugs suddenly and then breakdown, I wanted to make a plea for anyone deciding to withdraw to plan it properly and not do it suddenly (although it has to be said I do know some people who have been lucky).
I'm not medically qualified but it's my best understanding that a slow and steady withdrawal from these drugs is the best idea, giving your mind and body time to adjust and less chance of adverse withdrawal reactions and withdrawal 'psychosis' in the case of the neuroleptics/'anti-psychotics' or the ‘mood stabillisers’ (re the latter, the argument is that the withdrawal process itself, the change in the chemicals affecting your brain, precipitates the psychosis, rather than it necessary being a return of previously existing ‘illness’). And the longer you’ve been on the drugs, the more important this steady withdrawal is.
For anyone deciding to come off psychiatric drugs I'd suggest checking out the two online resources below, to read around the subject and plan well, and get support (friends, family, other people who have done it and professionals if you can):
1) The 'Coming Off Psychiatric Medication' website: www.comingoff.com (it's put together by professionals and service users/survivors).
2) Mind also produces a booklet that's available to print/download from their website: www.mind.org.uk It's called 'Making Sense of Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs', and you can also buy a printed version from them.
One trouble is, I think, that many doctors/psychiatrists and other mental health professionals don’t provide any support to people deciding to come off these drugs. Because many professionals are committed to the idea that people should remain on the drugs often indefinitely, someone who is distressed by the adverse/unwanted (‘side’) effects of the drugs – as Kate was, she felt zombified – people often end up discontinuing medications covertly and suddenly with these kinds of consequences, rather than feeling able to seek advice from the professionals about how to withdraw safely.
I’ve been reading a book by psychologist Richard Bentall lately, ‘Doctoring The Mind’. He examines the science behind much psychiatric treatment in careful detail. He is not totally again psychiatric drugs but does believe they are significantly overused. At the end on a chapter on psychiatric drugs he concludes:
“Patients’ decisions to discontinue medication should be respected as far as possible. It is difficult to know how many psychotic patients would be better off without taking drugs, but my guess is that number may be as many as 50 per cent.”
But nothing came back. I thought it was all over. Weeks passed and the system had virtually ground to a halt under the overwhlem of appeal. A third of the Earth's population were now eliigible to a formal three-person psychiatric review. It was going to be a long, slow and emotional process. And then she nuked me.
Sorry I read my post back and wanted to clarify...
I guess when I say that her partner treated her with compassion I wasn't referring to the sectioning, although if I was about to murder someone then I would think it is compassionate at least to the other party to have me sectioned.
I had been told about this couple the night before and it was the way the partner stood by her, even when she tried to come off meds, and even though she is back on them again. They might not be able to have kids because of the perceived danger of her coming off her meds with the lack of available alternatives or their knowledge of or funding for those alternatives and the fear of her being seriously unwell.
I think it does take a compassionate and understanding person to see beyond the issues and the whole person and to stand by them regardless.