Monday, 24 August 2009

Side effects

When I was about 17 I came down with an inflammation in my left knee, a reaction to overwork. I wasn't aware of that, so went to see my GP for an explanation of what was going on. As it is GPs - and virtually all other doctors' too - habit, he prescribed one of Big pHARMa's wonder cures. This was a new drug, that still was in the experimental stage, not yet fully approved. So, yeah, I was acting guinea pig for Big pHARMa.

Luckily, I didn't experience as much as one of all the in part rather frightening possible side effects listed for the drug. And it did the trick, rather quickly in addition. I maybe was on that crap for ten days. At the most. I wouldn't even have started to take something with such side effects as those listed, if I'd been told I would have to take it for at least several weeks or months, not to mention for the rest of my life. And the side effects still were somewhat harmless, compared to those of psych drugs.

Anyhow, had I experienced as much as the suspicion of only one single side effect, I can assure everyone, I'd instantly thrown the pills out. That is, I had not waited for my GP to tell me what to do. I'd stopped taking the poison here and now. I've never had excessive trust in the products of the pharmaceutical industry beforehand. Neither in the infallibility of medical expertise. The only reason I gave these pills a try was that I couldn't wait to be able to get back on horseback again, which the inflammation in my knee prevented me from.

Now I wonder how on earth it is, that I hear so many people report all sorts of intolerable side effects of psych drugs, as in this blog entry for instance, while, nevertheless, these people stay on the drugs, waiting for their doctor to decide for them what to do. How come? What keeps all these people from taking control of their life, their well-being, themselves, instead of leaving it with someone, who obviously doesn't care and/or is rather incompetent?? I really don't get it. Is it the spellbinding effect? Can it be the spellbinding effect, when someone realizes they're experiencing side effects, that it is not the "illness" that causes the misery? Is it some sort of half- or unconscious need to repeat the trauma: "I don't deserve to feel good. - But since society doesn't accept a conscious choice of emotional suffering, I choose the suffering the side effects cause"? Or are people really that alienated from themselves that they unconditionally trust in anybody else but themselves to know what's good and right for them, even though their body and soul is screaming at them that this is not so? Anyone?

To prevent misunderstandings: Of course I'm not talking about people who are forced to take psych drugs. That's a different story.

8 comments:

Ron Unger said...

Interesting problem...this relates to the whole culture of the mental health industry and the notion of "mental illness." If one is "mentally ill" then by definition one's mind cannot be trusted, so why would you trust yourself versus a mentally healthy expert who is telling you what to take?

A better model of mental problems would say that you are going to the doctor because you temporarily seem stuck in something that is a problem, but that underneath this problem you are as healthy as anyone: and that the doctor or other expert you go to will have limits in his/her ability to see what is going on as well. With this kind of understanding, the doctor would be more tentative in offering solutions, and the "patient" would be more willing to believe he or she could detect when something is going wrong with the proposed "solution."

Mark p.s.2 said...

I think it's lack of information. When a doctor tells them/us something, the doctor has to be right, since they are a licenced, well educated doctor. The trust the science and education involved. Psychiatry IMO is not a form of medicine, though many believe it is . The trusting patients are then fooled/tricked into taking chemicals for an illness that is not physical in nature, but everyone pretends the pills are for a physical disease.

Marian said...

Ron & Mark: Thanks for your comments. You have a point there. Probably the whole thing starts with the misunderstanding that emotional distress would be a medical problem, and a result of a broken brain. Still, it's a mystery to me what makes people have this unlimited trust, to an extent that they'd rather drop dead than question the "experts" "expertise" the least...

Abysmal Musings said...

Most doctors are children when push comes to shove I've found. Trust yourself and your whole life beforehand, that's my motto.

Arrogance helps? Hmmm.

Some people aren't as strong or willful as others. I'm glad I am. (And nearly a year off the drugs without getting caught doing something stupid again).

Take care Marian, Dx

Marian said...

D: I like that motto of yours!

If it is arrogant to think you know what's good for you, what is it then to think you know what's good for others? Oh wait, I know! It's called "expertise", not "arrogance"...

Mark p.s.2 said...

These people stay on the drugs, waiting for their doctor to decide for them what to do. How come?

Overlooked something significant
From the recent TV show on mad pride , brainwashed fear of madness. Fear of disobeying authority and fear of ones own emotions.

People have to fear madness to worship at the feet of psychiatry for its cures.

Marian said...

Mark: You're right. I overlooked that. And it's probably the most significant reason of them all. Thanks!

Laura-Marie said...

I remember when I finally went to the psychiatrist nothing else was working to help me with some very bad distress, and I was so hesitant to go, but my family was pushing me, and when I decided to try the whole psychiatry route, I was like, "I'll give this a chance." In your post you use the word poison, which is a good word for when medication has bad side effects, and when my hair started falling out, I stopped taking the lithium because I had read online that lithium can make your hair fall out. I guess everyone who's trying to play along with psychiatry has a place where they draw the line, and for me, I loved my hair and didn't want to lose it. Who knows what the drugs are doing to my body as we speak in ways that can't be seen with the naked eye. Thank you for making this website and helping me think about these ideas.