Thursday, January 28, 2010

The expressed emotion of meds

Did I say we were done discussing Chris? I wonder from time to time if it would be all-round easier if I were married to myself. Ian and I had another disagreement last night over the meds, leaving me (and him) rather sleep deprived this morning. This particular area of disagreement wouldn't arise if medical authorities hadn't overreacted in the beginning, when Chris had his big crisis. By overreacting I mean piling on medications, then switching them when, surprise, surprise, he didn't get better, then insisting that medications are the only way to handle the problem. How many doctors has he seen since? Chris's recovery to date, while remarkable in many respects and a cause for real cheer, has been protracted I feel because of the narrow way his crisis is defined by mainstream medicine. The meds are always there, like the elephant in the room, casting a shadow over our day-to-day lives.

Ian and I see meds differently, not only for Chris, but in how willing we are to take them ourselves. For myself, I look for alternative (homeopathic, etc.) means as a way to avoid becoming prescription dependent. I worry about being 80 (I should live so long) and on a debilitating cocktail of drugs that have been building up over the years. I certainly don't want Chris being drug dependent at his tender age, and I see no reason why he should be. Sure, he's on the lowest dose possible of two meds, but he's still on meds and I don't see any movement afoot by his doctors to get him off them.

Ian is all for not second guessing the doctors about how they handle the meds, and I, well, I'm all for second guessing them. Case in point: Chris's med handling psychiatrist (as opposed to his psychotherapist) has told Chris that if he is concerned about his weight gain, then Abilify is more of a problem in this regard than Serdolect. She has no doubt consulted the product sheets and if they say it's so, by golly it must be so. All the companies now are trying to win the Best in Show award by boasting that their products don't contribute to weight gain. So how come consumers continue to gain weight?

The weight gain is expressed emotion big time. The side effect of gaining weight is an unwanted further intrusion into an already difficult situation. In truth, Chris hasn't gained much weight this time around, but it has still added several inches to his waist. Chris is always checking himself, berating himself for eating too much, and eating up a storm in the kitchen because he can't control his appetite. This is not his fault. I know where the problem lies. I tell Chris that it's not his fault, and not to beat himself up over it. It is a temporary situation, I tell him. The unsaid part is "temporary while you are on meds." That is my expressed emotion on a subject that I don't even care to entertain.

In other areas of the world where expressed emotion is supposedly lower, which also tend to be areas where there is not as much access to neuroleptics, the fall-out in expressed emotion from meds is at least one expressed emotion that is avoided. Ian and I have retreated once again to our "we won't discuss it" policy. The rapprochement in this area will percolate along for a few months. We'll see what will happen.

1 comment:

  1. Daring to go where angels fear to tread, I think psychiatric drugs are only for emergencies, emergencies of a nature where the patient can not control themselves, and the only other alternative besides drugs is ropes-restraint . Long term constant use is wrong as the patient is not learning how to control themselves or learn to cope with lifes troubles.


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