Psychiatric Medications


YOU DON’T ALWAYS HAVE GREAT OPTIONS IN LIFE. THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT THE
MAJOR PSYCHIATRIC MEDICATIONS HAVE SIDE EFFECTS
AND WHEN I WAS PUT ON LITHIUM MANY YEARS AGO,
I WAS PUT AT A VERY HIGH LEVEL OF LITHIUM BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT
THE STANDARD OF MEDICAL CARE WAS. AND IT WAS WHAT WAS NECESSARY IN
ORDER TO GET MY MANIA IN LINE. IT WAS VERY BLUNTING AND VERY
DISTURBING AND UPSETTING TO ME TO HAVE TO
RECONCILE MYSELF TO THE IDEA OF BEING ON ANY KIND OF
MEDICATION AT ALL AND ALSO TO ONE THAT HAD VERY DEEP SIDE
EFFECTS. I’M ON A MUCH LOWER DOSE NOW,
WHICH IS MUCH MORE STANDARD CARE NOW,
FOR PEOPLE TO BE AT LOWER DOSES. AND I DON’T FEEL,
PARTICULARLY INHIBITED AT ALL AND I DON’T FEEL THAT I’M
BLUNTED OR DULLED. AND I THINK MANY OF MY
COLLEAGUES WOULDN’T MIND SEEING ME AT A HIGHER DOSE,
YOU KNOW. BUT I DON’T THINK THAT,
IT’S NOT TO MINIMIZE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF THESE DRUGS,
BUT THERE ARE MORE OPTIONS NOW THAN THERE USED TO BE AND
PEOPLE ARE KEPT AT LOWER LEVELS THAN THEY USED TO BE. BUT IT IS A PROBLEM. BUT IT’S ALSO A PROBLEM THAT
THAT’S TRUE ACROSS MEDICINE. IF YOU HAVE CANCER,
AS MY LATE HUSBAND USED TO SAY ABOUT MEDICATIONS,
HE WAS A PSYCHIATRIST THAT TREATED SCHIZOPHRENIA. AND HE WAS THE FIRST TO
APPRECIATE THAT THE SIDE EFFECTS OF THE DRUGS FOR
SCHIZOPHRENIA WERE TERRIBLE FOR MANY PATIENTS. BUT HE WOULD SAY IF
YOU’VE GOT CANCER, YOU DON’T HESITATE TO TAKE DRUGS
THAT ARE ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATING IN THEIR EFFECTS
BECAUSE YOU WANT TO SAVE YOUR LIFE AND YOU KNOW THAT
THAT’S YOUR ONLY CHOICE TO SAVE YOUR LIFE. AND THE PROBLEM IN PSYCHOLOGY
AND PSYCHIATRY IS THAT PEOPLE DON’T TREAT THESE
ILLNESSES FOR WHAT THEY ARE, WHICH IS LIFE THREATENING. THE SUICIDE RATE IS EXTREMELY
HIGH IN SCHIZOPHRENIA AND IN BIPOLAR ILLNESS AND
DEPRESSION. AND SO IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT
FROM THAT POINT OF VIEW, AND CERTAINLY FROM MY
PERSPECTIVE AS SOMEBODY WHO NEARLY DIED BECAUSE OF MY
ILLNESS, I DON’T HAVE THE LUXURY OF
THINKING ABOUT SIDE EFFECTS SO MUCH. IT’S EITHER TAKE MEDICATION OR
BE DEAD OR BE ON THE BACK COURTS. AND THOSE AREN’T ATTRACTIVE
ALTERNATIVES.