Friday, October 8, 2010

Random thoughts

Sometimes I tire of all the extremism in mental health. The doctors are one thing, some of the victims/patients/survivors are something else. It can be very hard to learn and progress with all the black and white thinking going on.

Daniel Paul Schreber's wife. Now there was someone who sided with the doctor against her husband. Daniel Paul Schreber was the author of the wonderful "Memoirs of My Nervous Illness."   In his second hospitalization (1893 - 1902) he came under the care of Dr. Fleschig. His wife kept a framed photograph of Dr. Fleschig on her desk.

Today is World Mental Health Day. What are you doing about it? Here's my suggestion. Send a letter or an e-mail to the editor of your local paper denouncing the widespread use and misuse of medications in treating patients. Say something nice about alternatives.



  2. Thank you for that link, brainzaps. I read it.

    My feeling is that we need to be as questioning of the therapists who actually do the work as we are of everyone else. I have seen Take These Broken Wings, so I am familiar with Dr Dorman and Catherine, his patient. And what I mean is, while this is obviously the way to go, can we ask how realistic it is for docs like Dr Dorman to treat schizophrenics on a regular basis? It seems that the story of Catherine is extraordinary. And, doesn't that say something? Does it possibly say that to take on a schizophrenic patient without drugs (something I am in favor of doing), is no small task even for someone trained in the field? And that people do not undertake it lightly? I say this because the only patient we hear about of Dr Dorman's is Catherine. He says there are others, but he also says a cure depends on an individual's stamina and will. So what happens to those patients who drop out of the practice of a good doctor? Does anyone see my point?


  3. I see your point. But does it need to be psychotherapy? Neither Catherine Penney's nor Joanne Greenberg's story are that extraordinary in as far as recovery is concerned. Lots of people do recover (unless other specified, I always mean fully). A good 80% of the Soteria residents recovered. Without therapy. Finnish Open Dialog has the same recovery rate. Therapy can be a part of Open Dialog, but the dialogs are the most important part of this approach. IMO, people's fear of "schizophrenia" also is reflected in the assumption that also non-medical treatment for it must be very difficult, and can only be successful with an experienced expert.

    Personally, I'd like the expertism to disappear from treatment. "Schizophrenia" -- like any other "mental illness" -- is nothing but being human. So, all it needs to help someone with the kind of problems that get labelled "sz" is another human being -- who wouldn't have to be an expert in anything but in being human. And, btw, Daniel Mackler, the maker of Take These Broken Wings who's worked as a therapist with many "psychotic"/"schizophrenic" people himself, agrees with me on this.

  4. I see your point B'ham.

    I'm going to be a bit radical and reiterate, since this is one of the few places on the web I can actually do so, that it usually doesn't matter what you do, as long as you stay away from the drugs. "Schizophrenia" is a set of experiences that will, 80% of the time, resolve without drugs. Now, we should be offering people support and understanding, including friendship, love, empathy, housing, safety. A certain chunk (that last 20%) will need more time, as Cathy did. Perhaps a small percentage won't recover, that's always possible too. But we should learn to expect recovery in Schizophrenia, so much so, that when a person so labeled DOESN'T recover, that should be viewed as a failure on the part of society, not the individual.

  5. brainzaps, I like your definition of sz being a set of experiences. That's very interesting.

    Marian - thanks. I think we need to see a lot more real life cases of recovery. In Mackler's film, the two cases he highlighted featured people engaged in intensive therapy. I'd like to see a doc or read a book about another kind of non drug recovery.


  6. Anonymous, there will be such a doc, or two, in the not so far future. :) In the mean time, check for recovery stories on the net. There are tons of them. For instance on Beyond Meds.


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