Posted by Kaysey on October 20, 2001, at 12:55:42
In reply to Re: Self-medication , posted by Jane Doh on October 20, 2001, at 2:26:26
> Gracie - I am bipolar and have wondered about my creativity being affected by the medicinal cocktail - curtailing the edge that I once? had or still have, I don't know. But, therein lies the quandary, the everlasting question of artists who thrive on life's vast experiences to create masterpieces and minor pieces of work as expressions of themselves.
> I'm disapppointed that noone has addressed the issue that I put on the table earlier about the self-medication issue vs. honest psychiatric relationships. Do the people that self-medicate have a psychiatrist? And, if yes, is it an honest communication between you and the doctor? Or, if no, is that why you self-medicate? Do you think you know more than the doctor?
> Also, the post earlier that somone suggested to me to put on headphones to drown out the voices did not sit well with me. In addition to being creatively inclined, I am also a pragmatist - this is why I am mechanical engineer in the aerospace field. That suggestion is akin to putting earplugs in at night, is it not? This is not intended as a slam. What I did instead, is I asked my new psychiatrist to switch me to Geodon from the 500mg of Seroquel I've been taking and that's exactly what I'm starting tonight - a slow transfer process. We'll see how it goes.
> And, as far as the X-Ray analogy goes, I completely agree with you, Gracie. If there's one thing that burns me, it is when people call themselves "engineers" when they are not - and did not go to college for the theory, the classes, the mathematics, nor the safety backround. You wouldn't want someone analyzing, and predicting calculations for the Boeing 747 you're on, not having a Bachelor's degree, would you? This is why I am opposed to self-medication and feel that a good relationship with your psychiatrist, and or a second opinion with another psychiatrist (if you are not happy with the first) is the way to go.
> Everyone has their opinion, just like everyone has their own different...signature. :)
This is a good issue to discuss, and I respect the comments of everyone who posted. I agree that there are definite dangers involved in self-medication. I would not ordinarily recommend it; but (I guess you knew the but was coming) this is far from a perfect world. There are not psychiatrists everywhere who are familiar with 'cutting edge' research and the newest meds. In fact there are lots of medically underserved areas where there are NO pdcos.
Eleven years ago when I knew I was experiencing panic attacks and depression (had researched it throughly), I realized that I would have to bite the bullet and find a pdoc-- and I was frantic. I was a college professor and knew that I could tell no one about this, plus I knew of no one that treated anxiety disorders. GPs were recommending stress management, only. As a person who had taught stress management for years, I knew that wasn't the case. I ended up taking 'sick leave'--said I was seeing an allergist--and driving out of state two days a week in order to get diagnosed and get meds (found the name in the yellow pages--said he treated anxiety disorders)! After a period of trial and error, we found that minimum doses of Prozac, Ativan, and Lopressor worked (has long sense pooped out). However, my pdoc moved, and recommended that I see a GP colleague of his for continued prescriptions. This man wrote my scripts but was clueless as to why I took any of these meds! I had to practically give him a lesson in pharmacology!!!
Since then, GPs have written my scripts, generally based on my suggestions. Now are these appropriate methods for diagnosis and treatment? No. I certainly would never recommend looking up numbers in the yellow pages, or suggesting meds to doctors, etc. Neither is it fair that I had to sneak out to another state to get meds and not be able to tell my colleagues, and not be able to use my university insurance to pay for my visits and meds, lest someone should find out. However, sometimes we have to do unorthodox things to survive. Especially when it comes to the treatment of mental health problems--which as far as I am concerned is still in the dark ages.
I hated walking into my pharmacy and getting those meds filled for fear of being labelled as 'mentally ill.'
I am sure that I am not the 'lone ranger' with regard to this. The sad thing about it is most of us know more about ourselves and which meds would/could work than a number of physicians that we have access to (notice I didn't say physicians per se--I said physicians we had access to).
With regard to the issue of credentialling and areas of expertise: yes, I understand the frustration of having been educated, trained, and skilled in certain professions, when there are those who work or claim similar expertise in said fields without the training. However, I don't know that that really is the issue here.
I would never 'play' physician or pharmacist. However, to protect my health, I will research to the best of my ability and not fear making suggestions or 'doing what I have to do' to get some kind of quality of life (if that would possibly mean self-medication).
I have two undergraduate degrees and am completing my second graduate degree. One of those degrees also requires state and national board examination and licensure. Are there people out there who get jobs without these credentials? Yes,many and all the time. It isn't fair, but I realize that sometimes they may know more about certain 'practical' aspects of the field than I do.
OK, so much for the soapbox. Point being, if we had equitable access to high quality mental health care, we wouldn't even be debating this issue; but we do not. In the meantime we will have to do what we can to survive.
My very best to everyone.